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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 859386

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NS96NW 1 9270 6901.

(NS 9270 6901) Ogilface Castle (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map (1922)

Ogilface Castle (Remains of): a small oblong building, walls 3' high, but the inside filled with ruins. There is nothing definitely known about it, but the tradition is that the Covenanters made it a place of defence and protection; it is also stated that there is a large excavation in the ridge under the ruins. It was the seat of the ancient family of de Bosco, barons of Ogilface, passing into the possession of the Earls of Linlithgow, and upon the fall of that family, ceased to exist as a barony and was sold in portions to different proprietors. It appears to have been a place of some strength, though of no great size.

New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845; Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB) 1856; F Groome 1902

A small natural ridge juts into Barbauchlaw Glen, and it was upon this that the castle possibly stood. There is a low stony bank which may be the remains of the wall mentioned above. No further information was found about the castle.

Visited by OS (JLD) 18 November 1952

Area ground resistance and magnetometry surveys were made over two sites to the west of Armadale. The first is recorded by RCAHMS as Ogilface Castle (site of) standing on a narrow ridge that juts eastwards into the Barbauchlaw Glen. The ground resistance survey was made over four 20 by 20m squares proceeding to the west from the eastern end of the promontory with one further square added to the north of the fourth square where the promontory widened. The magnetometry survey was made at a later date over the first four of these squares.

The printouts of the resistance and magnetometry surveys correlate well with an apparent double? Tower at the eastern end. Magnetometry shows up one section better than that in the resistance plot and vice-versa. It is possible that the building was erected in two phases with the more easterly in igneous stone and the other half in sandstone; both occur locally. The survey printouts also show possible building foundation outlines stretching at least 50m to the west of the tower. A clear linear high resistance and matching line of magnetic anomaly along the line of the southern scarp of the promontory suggest a defensive wall. Less regular high resistances occur on the north side of the promontory; these may also indicate a wall that has largely collapsed due to erosion caused by the small burn on this side; the small burn curves to join the Barbauchlaw Burn lower down the glen.

Stand Hill lies about 2km to the west of Ogilface Castle and an outline of a small building is shown on the O.S. 1:2500 map of 1983. This building is surrounded by enclosure banks, a circular feature, possible track-ways and rig and furrow cultivation; all of these show up well on a variety of aerial photographs.

Thirteen 20 by 20m squares were laid out to include most of the main features and were surveyed using both ground resistance and magnetometry equipment. The area contains many igneous rocks and features on the magnetometry printout are difficult to interpret but do correlate with the resistivity survey results. Both surveys confirm features seen on the ground and in the aerial photographs. High resistance and magnetic anomalies align with some of the banks suggesting residual walls and stone clearance appears to have taken place within the enclosure that includes the building.

H M D Jones, 2008.

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