Kilmahew Castle was built upon the lands granted to the Napiers by Malcolm, the Earl of Lennox around the year 1290. The castle itself was built sometime in the 16th century by the Napier family, who owned it for 18 generations. The Napiers who owned Kilmahew are notable for being the progenitors of most of the Napiers in North America, as well as some of their members who had notable contributions in the field of engineering.
The estate was inherited by George Maxwell of Newark and Tealing (1678–1744) in 1694, when he assumed the name of his maternal grandfather, John Napier of Kilmahew, but having no legitimate children he was the last of the name, although the Napier of Kilmahew coat of arms survives as a quartering of those of Noble of Ardmore, who therefore now represent the family in heraldry. Following his death the estate was successfully claimed by an illegitimate daughter, Jean Smith, who married David Brydie, and was finally sold to Alexander Sharp in 1820 in repayment of gambling debts. In 1839, the estate was acquired by James Burns of Bloomhill (a neighbouring estate), the son of Rev. Dr. John Burns, eventually dying in the Castle in 1871.
The ruins were acquired by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, along with the surrounding estate, in 1948.
The castle was originally a four-storey 16th century tower house. Modifications made in 1744 are attributed to the architect John Douglas. Some obvious gothic modifications were done during the 19th century by Alexander Sharp, who owned the castle at the time.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.