Cardross (Scottish Gaelic: Càrdainn Ros) is a large village with a population of 2,194 (2011) in Scotland, on the north side of the Firth of Clyde, situated halfway between Dumbarton and Helensburgh. Cardross is in the historic geographical county of Dunbartonshire but the modern political local authority of Argyll and Bute.
Cardross Village took its name from the historic parish in which it is located and where King Robert the Bruce lived the final years of his life. The Parish of Cardross stretched in area from the River Leven on the west side of Dumbarton to Camus Eskan (near Helensburgh), and also included the village of Renton in the Vale of Leven.
The distinction between Cardross village and Cardross Parish is particularly important for students of Scottish history. King Robert the Bruce’s documented association with ’Cardross’ occurred three centuries prior to the existence of any settlement on the site of the modern-day village.
The original piece of land known as ’Cardross’ (Scottish Gaelic: Càrdainn Ros) is at the eastern edge of the historic parish and the western point of the confluence of the rivers Clyde and Leven at the town of Dumbarton, facing across to Dumbarton Rock and Castle. Today the land sits on the edge of Dumbarton’s Levengrove Park.
Cardross is a name of Brittonic origin. The first part of the name is the Brittonic or Pictish *carden, generally meaning "a wild place, a thicket" (Middle Welsh cardden). The second is the element -rōs, "moor, promontory" (Welsh rhos).
The settlement of Cardross developed around a 17th-century church. The mother kirk of Cardross Parish had been relocated 3 miles west from its medieval site on the western bank of the River Leven to support a fledgling ferry community on the northern bank of the River Clyde in 1653.
Robert the Bruce purchased the portions of lands of Pillanflatt from the Earl of Lennox, lying on the western bank of the River Leven, Dunbartonshire, in the Parish of Cardross, in 1326. In 1329, he died at the manorial house that he built there.
A field on the bank of River Leven, called the Mains of Cardross, is thought to have been the location of his royal manor, none of which remains today. In 2017, Dumbarton Football Club’s proposed new stadium was refused planning permission, with one of the objections being its likely placement on the medieval Bruce site.
2 km north-west of Cardross is a peninsula called Ardmore Point. This privately owned area of land has a nature trail and is considered a Regionally Important Geographical Site (RIGS) due to unique rock formations including an exposed sea cliff. It is a popular fishing and bird-spotting area and grey seals can also be seen here.
There are a number of businesses, including a sawmill, car mechanic, a Co-operative Food Store , newsagents, pharmacy, post office, plumber's merchant, an Indian style take-away, a couple of hairdressers, soap shop and a jewellers.
A bus service is provided by First Glasgow.
There is also a ruined church, which was bombed in May 1942 during World War 2. The reason for Cardross being targeted by German bombers remains unclear, locals have speculated buildings in the village might have been mistaken as a shipyard or an oil storage facility.
Some structures of note:
- The 14th century St. Mahew's Chapel. Most recently restored in the 1950s as a Catholic church which remains in use.
- The former St. Peter's Seminary, designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, is situated to the north of the village; it is closed to the public. Abandoned in the late 1980s, it is in a state of dilapidation, particularly internally. In early 2015 the site was handed over to the NVA with the intention that part of it will become an arts venue.
- The ruined 15th-century Kilmahew Castle that was built by the Napier Clan is situated just north of the village.
- The main road through the village goes over Moore's Bridge(1688).
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