newspast & presentardencaple castle (dumbarton) - past and present
Ardencaple is situated about one mile from the seaside town of Helensburgh. Today all that remains is a solitary tower perched on the edge of a rocky plateau which overlooks the Firth of Clyde. The castle was demolished in 1957 apart from this tower, which owed its survival to its use as a coastal beacon.
Like so many Scottish castles Ardencaple was a multi-period site, each addition obscuring the previous until nothing of the original castle appeared to survive - but appearances can be deceptive, for hidden within its walls were those of a 16th century tower house.
The site is strong and there are suggestions that a castle stood there in the 13th century. The lands belonged to Clan MacAulay whose tower house is recorded in the 1580s.
In the 17th century the MacAulays were forced to sell the land and castle which became a roofless ruin until restored by the Duke of Argyll.
A housing scheme now encroaches upon the site but the clan connection is commemorated by a wall plaque.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.
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