Mearns Castle was built by Herbert, Lord Maxwell, under a royal warrant issued in 1449, and remained with the family until James VI required the fifth Lord to deliver it up to the crown. It was sold to Sir George Maxwell of Nether Mearns in the mid-17th century, and later passed to the Shaw-Stewart family. In 1971 the tower's remaining stories were converted to a link between two Church of Scotland buildings.
The castle was originally a four-storey rectangular tower measuring 9.1 by 12.2 m; parts of the original corbelling remain. Its lower walls are rubble masonry up to a height of about 10 feet, the upper walls are constructed from well-cut ashlar blocks, demonstrating that the tower was probably built on the foundations of an earlier building. The arched main entrance on the first storey was reached by a ladder, but is now walled up.
Only faint traces of the castle's outerworks can be located. A barmkin followed the edges of the rocky knoll on which the building stands and the sloping ground on the southeast has been cut away to form a bank approximately 10 feet high, over which a causeway led to the tower's gatehouse.
There is a vaulted basement room, approached from the main entrance. The first-floor hall, which is also vaulted, is approached by a straight mural stair; it has stone window seats and once had a minstrels’ gallery.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.