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The Scottish Castles Association
Preserving the Past for the Future

Kilmahew Castle thrown a lifeline


Situated at Cardross on the Clyde near Helensburgh, Kilmahew is a much-altered tower house of the 15th century.

Kilmahew 1904
Kilmahew Old Castle photographed in 1904

In the 19th century its ruins were adapted as a landscape feature for an adjacent mansion – since demolished – and ‘romanticised’ in the spirit of the times.

In 1966 St Peter’s, a seminary for Catholic priests, was opened in its grounds only to close its doors in 1980 due to a lack of vocations. It was then allowed to decay and became a playground for vandals.

Scotland’s ‘most lauded modern building’ St Peter’s has always been a favourite of the architectural profession – though not necessarily of the general public – and they have long lobbied for its restoration.

St Peter’s has recently been granted £4.2million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland to transform it – along with its grounds and castle – for future use.

So, thanks to a modern icon, Kilmahew, too, has a future.

Kilmahew present
The remains of Kilmahew as they stand today

Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.


Date posted: 31 Mar 2016Last updated: 31 Mar 2016


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