An old medieval legend gives the name to this castle. The love between the troubadour Macías and his beloved Elvira inspired authors such as Lope de Vega and Larra.
The castle is Arab in origin, although what remains now is the result of the reforms made by the Military Order of Calatrava after the Christian Reconquest. Most notable of all is the tower-gate, where legend has it that the troubadour Macías ("the Lover") was held in an upper room converted in a prison cell. His story was the basis for the drama by Lope de Vega Porfiar hasta morir (Persistence until death) and the novel by Mariano José de Larra El doncel de don Enrique el Doliente (The page of Don Enrique the sorrowful). The troubadour Macías was in the service of Enrique, the Marques of Villena, during the Reconquest. He fell in love in Arjonilla with one of the ladies of the court of the Marchioness, Doña Elvira, who was a married woman. They were caught while trying to escape. The troubadour Macías was imprisoned in the tower and finally killed by the jealous husband.