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Publication Account

Date 1981

Event ID 1017877

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


A castle at Dunbar dates from at least 1296 when a battle was fought for its possession between the Scots and the English. Late in the reign of James III the castle was forfeited and in the following year, 1488, was ordered to be 'cassyne doune' and utterly destroyed (RCAM, 1924, 26). The castle was ordered to be rebuilt in the following reign, at which time additions included a vaulted hall and a chapel dedicated to St John. A castle blockhouse was added in the reign of James V. French troops in 1560 fortified the castle with earth, but under the terms of the treaty of Leith the fortifications had to be dismantled. In 1567 the castle was finally ordered to be demelished (RCAM, 1921, 27). The fragmentary castle ruins oecupy a very bold situation. The remains are scattered over a rock standing 80 feet above the sea, which surrounds the site on three sides. In 1830 the body of the building measured about 165 feet from east to west and in some pl aces 20.7ft from north to south (Miller, 1830, 2). About the middle of the fortress was part of a wall through which there was a gateway surmounted by an armorial bearing. Much of the ruins as described by Miller in 1830 was affected by the channel for the new harbour in 1842 which cut through the site of the Great Hall, while further damage occurred in a gale in October, 1869.

Information from ‘Historic Dunbar: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).

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