Newark Castle is a 15th century castle in the heart of Port Glasgow, on the shores of the River Clyde.
It was built by George Maxwell who had inherited the Barony of Finlaystone in the Parish of Kilmacolm. Sir Patrick Maxwell inherited the castle in the late 16th century; Sir Patrick expanded the castle to include a new three storey Renaissance mansion in the Scottish baronial style. The exterior of the castle has fine Jacobean details. The North East Tower was also converted into a dovecot (pronounced “doocot”), for housing doves or pigeons.
Sir Patrick Maxwell was quite a character: he was a murderer, killing not only members of a rival family, the Montgomeries of Skelmorlie, but also killing his own kin. Sir Patrick also beat his own wife, allegedly attacking her with a sword and keeping her locked in her chamber for 6 months, despite the fact they were married together for 44 years and his wife had 16 children to him. Sir Patrick’s own mother was alarmed at his brutality, and filed a complaint with the Scottish Privy Council in 1595, but to no avail. His wife eventually managed to flee across the River Clyde to Dumbarton, where she eventually died.
The authorities in Glasgow purchased land around Newark Castle in 1668 and developed a harbour which took the name of Port Glasgow. This was to be the port for Glasgow, with the upper reaches of the River Clyde being too shallow to accommodate most ships; and indeed Port Glasgow remained the Clyde’s customs port for many years. Newark Castle remained and was taken into public ownership in 1909. Today it is owned by Historic Scotland and makes for an excellent family day out for visitors.
At the time of writing, admission prices to Newark Castle were:
Adult – £3.70
Concession – £3.00
Child – £2.20
And the opening hours of Newark Castle were:
1st April – 30th September, 7 days per week, 9:30am – 5:30pm.
The Castle is closed during the Winter season.
The contact details of the castle are:
Newark Castle, Historic Scotland, Port Glasgow, PA14 5NH
Telephone: +44 (0)1475 741 858