NGRef: NS 392 749
Roads
None identified

In the Dunbartonshire OS Name Books, 1860 it reports: "we learn that, in the year 1686, Dr. [Doctor] Irvine observed as follows - At the town of Dumbarton, the remains of a great Roman fort - the vestiges of another at the Castle, half a mile distant - those of a third at the foot of Dumbuck hill, a mile more to the East - of a fourth at Dunglass - and of a fifth on the Chapel Hill, at West Kilpatrick".

The location has been lost, but if it is half a mile from Dumbarton castle a likely place is the spur of land to the west where some rectangular formal gardens might be a possibility. It is believed the military way extended westwards beyond the fort at Old Kilpatrick and it has been suggested that it may have run to a fort and harbour at Dumbarton. The only physical evidence other that the 1686 reference is a Roman Brass coin of Vespasian, found at Dumbarton, 1858 (Glasgow Courier, 15 May 1858) and a Roman bronze coin of Constantine II said to have been retained by a workman about 1870. For more information see the CANMORE entry.


Roman Name

The attribution of this name to this place is ranked: very likely

Ravenna Cosmography: Subdobiadon

The Ravenna Cosmography lists MEDIONEMETON as the sixth of seven forts along the Forth-Clyde "neck" with SUBDOBIADON being the seventh. Independently we are told there are seven forts on the Antonine wall which would mean SUBDOBIADON was Old Kilpatrick. Old Kilpatrick is also likely Nemthur, the birthplace of Saint Patrick. But SUBDOBIADON is neither a good linguistic fit to Old Kilpatrick nor Nemthur. However, if assume a copy error combined two place names on the Ravenna Cosmography to give MEDIO-NEMETON, the seventh fort is then NEMETON which is a good match to Nemthur or Old Kilpatrick. The next on the list is SUBDOBIADON which is a good fit to Dumbarton and the previous is MEDIO which fits the previous big fort with evidence for late occupation at Bal-muildy. Even individually these are good, but a run of three good matches is very unlikely by pure chance. This indicates these are very likely the correct locations. For more see article on: Nemthur.

Welsh Gaelic Old English Other
NA sùbh (fruit)
do-, du- (negative), ??
syb, sib(b) (relationship), beódan (to summon, command). Latin: Sub (under)
Page Citation: Mike Haseler (2018) "Roman Britain: Dumbarton"