Dumbarton and its Castle
The name Dumbarton comes from "Dun Breatann" meaning the fortress of the Britons for it was the Ancient Britons who first recognized the strategic potential of the basalt rock which stood 254 ft in height and commanded such magnificent views over the surrounding territory. It was the capital of the Ancient Briton's powerful Kingdom of Strathclyde. It is one of the oldest fortified sites in Britain.
King Alexander II (1214-1249) made Dumbarton a Royal Burgh in 1222. In 1668 Glasgow merchants who were jealous of Greenock's harbour business suggested to Dumbarton that it become the port for Glasgow but the magistrates of Dumbarton thought that this would raise the cost of living for their inhabitants and declined the offer. Glasgow purchased land further to the west and on the opposite bank of the Clyde and "Port Glasgow" was born. It flourished for a long time but the river was deepened and when in 1806 a brig called the Harmony sailed right up the Firth to Glasgow itself Port Glasgow was no longer the port for Glasgow.
Dumbarton was also famous for building ships, best known of the shipbuilders probably William Denny and Brothers and the most famous of their ships being the Cutty Sark, the famous tea clipper.