Tērvete village is famous for the historic hillfort built for the kings of Western Zemgale in the Middle Ages. According to popular legend the Semigallian king Namejs made a ring called the 'namejs' so he could be identified by his family. But his enemies got hold of this information and sought the ring to kill the king (during a war) to have victories. The villagers also created these rings in order to protect the King. And for this reason Namejs is a popular ring for Latvians. In 1287 the Semigallian castle was destroyed by the Livonian Order of knights. In 1335 the wooden castle Hof zum Berg Kalnamuiža was built by the Order of Livonia near to the site of the former Semigallian fortifications, destroyed by the Lithuanian forces in 1445.
A second legend describes the story of the German crusaders slowly moving into Latvian territory in the Middle Ages, taking over tribe after tribe. Namejs, the Semigallian king, was the last to subdue to the crusaders' power. Namejs and his people left their land and went south into Lithuanian territory. Namejs didn't want his people to forget their heritage and their origins and had the namejs ring designed for all of his people so that they could identify each other and have a common bond. Now it is a popular ring amongs Latvians that live outside of Latvia because it shows their love for Latvia and recognition of their heritage.
In 1819 K.F.Watson declared the hillfort on right bank of Tērvete river to be the site of the legendary Tērvete castle described in chronicles from the Middle Ages The hillfort was excavated by August Bielenstein between 1866 and 1892 The expedition of the Latvian Museum of History led by E. Brīvkalne carried out excavations in 1952-53 and 1954–59.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.