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CONVENT OF NOTRE DAME CHAPEL, Havoc Road, Brucehill, Dumbarton.

You may also find this referred to as Clarkhill /Clerkhill convent in reference to the house at that location.

ACCESS : This building was demolished in 2021 for a housing scheme.


This is all that remains of the convent and school that occupied this whole site. This, the chapel, was built from 1933 until 1935. It may now be a ruin, but is still of interest because of some features. 

The following is from Historic Environment Scotland and records what we have now lost. It also appears in the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.

Tall, rectangular plan, 6-bay chapel, with full height buttressed, semi-octagonal apse to west, lower, projecting stair to organ loft on gabled and buttressed east wall. Rendered, with polished ashlar dressings and cills, on bull-faced ashlar plinth. SOUTH ELEVATION: door at east under round arch with sculptured tympanum; figure in canopied niche over door; tall, paired lancets with simple tracery. Simple parapet, raised over east gable. Shallow pitch copper roof.

INTERIOR: piers between windows support pointed arches; organ gallery at west end, instrument by J W Walker and Sons, 1936; oak-panelled chancel and furnishings; 2 stained glass chancel windows by Sister Callista, that to east inserted after circa 1944. Linked at east end by 2-storey rendered block, probably also by Fairlie, to (1920) convent residences. Link has ground floor pushed forward under penticed roof and arcaded, imitating cloisters. [Historic Scotland]. 

The following 9 photographs are from 2010.

In 2021 development proposals were submitted for a housing scheme that included the demolition of this building. This corner with its attractive undulating terrain with a viewpoint over the Clyde and many mature trees was shown as the perferred location of a SUDS rainwater attenuation pond. The proposals also noted intended severe intervention of the clifftop itself - below which is Havoc Hole discussed elsewhere : index.asp?pageid=715664 Public comment was highly critical, but suggested that at least some elements of the chapel be recovered and perhaps donated to the nearby convent at Craigend House. While the sculptural forms of the internal pilasters and the arched relief carving appear to have been dumped, the Lennox Herald of 12.10.2021 shows delighted nuns of Dumbarton Monastry being reunited with the statue of St Joseph cradling baby Jesus. 

This map from 1862 shows the site before the Carmelites developed it. It shows the large house called Clarkhill. The chapel is just above Havock Hole (described elsewhere). 


This map was revised in 1914 and published in 1919. You can now see the Notre Dame School immediately behind Clarkhill with Craigend a little to the east.

© NLS.

By the time of the 1937/38 map, not only is the convent very developed, but this chapel is clearly indicated. A footpath complete with steps curves around to the left and up to the knoll which appears to be a scenic viewpoint. That knoll is now very picturesque in itself with some great trees.


The chapel was reduced to rubble in early October 2021 to make way for a housing development.

BUILDINGS AT RISK REGISTER FOR SCOTLAND (BARRS) : https://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/916074 There are current proposals (2021) to demolish it.

CANMORE : https://canmore.org.uk/site/196749/dumbarton-cardross-road-convent-of-notre-dame-chapel

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND (NLS) : Maps reproduced with permission.

1860 map : Archive title "Dumbartonshire, Sheet XXII (includes: Cardross; Dumbarton; Erskin... Survey date: 1860 ,  Publication date: 1864". https://maps.nls.uk/view/74426624

Map as revised 1914. Publication date: 1919 Archive title "Dumbartonshire nXXII.2 (Cardross; Dumbarton)".

Map as revised: 1937, Publication date: 1938. Archive title "Dumbartonshire nXXII.2 (Cardross; Dumbarton)".

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