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Bridge Castle

Hotel (20th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Bridge Castle

Classification Hotel (20th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Little Brighouse; Bridge Castle Hotel; Westfield

Canmore ID 48013

Site Number NS97SW 5

NGR NS 94355 70951

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Torphichen
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Recording Your Heritage Online

Bridge, from 15th century

Tall, L-plan mansion of the regality of Ogilface, arising dramatically on the west side of wooded Barbauchlaw Burn. Begun as a tower, it was extended south (that wing truncated to a single bay). A round stair-tower in the angle corbelled to square above, rising up to the tower's parapet walk: the 17th-century wing has no parapet. Much, and prettily, extended in seriatum in 1886 by Brown & Wardrop; new entrance through a pedimented Gothic porch, with an entire spread of outbuildings. Brig House was its dower-house. Seemingly 19th-century, this U-plan harled, crowstepped house, 1582 on porch and a 1656 lintel (west wing, 1900), is certainly earlier.

Taken from "West Lothian: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Stuart Eydmann, Richard Jaques and Charles McKean, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NS97SW 5 94355 70951.

(NS 9434 7094) Bridge Castle (NR)

OS 6" map (1913)

The mansion of Bridge Castle is of three periods, the NE portion being a massively constructed 16th century tower, L-Shaped on plan containing 3 storeys beneath a parapet (renewed in the 17th century) and an attic above. To this has been added a 17th century wing, 4 storeys and an attic high, toward the S. The old turnpike stair, which rose in the wing of the L, has been removed and replaced by a 19th century stair in the later work. The extensions and offices to the S are of 19th century date, the whole building being restored at that time.

Formerly known as "Little Brighouse", the lands, with the fortalice were sold by Alexander Stewart to William, Lord Livingstone, in 1587-8; it was forfeited after the 1715 rebellion.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 1926; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; N Tranter 1962; SDD List 1964

Bridge Castle, now a hotel, is generally as described.

Visited by OS (JLD) 22 November 1952 and (JP) 14 August 1974


Field Visit (9 September 1926)

Bridge Castle.

The mansion of Bridge Castle stands on the steep left bank of the Barbauchlaw Burn about 2 ¼ miles northwest of Bathgate. Its northern portion has been a tower dating from the 16th century, L-shaped on plan and containing three storeys and attics. To this has been added a wing, four storeys and an attic in height, linked for convenience to the original wing which contained the staircase. The staircase has been removed and replaced by a modern stair in an extension in the east. On the west, too, there are modern extensions. The entrance to the house is apparently built from the rybats of the old outer gate, a round-headed archway reduced in width and therefore of pointed form. The old main block measures 27 feet 8 inches from north to south by 37 feet 5 inches from east to west and is 45 feet in height to the top of the parapet. It is built of rubble with dressed quoins. Most of the windows have been altered, but those which are original have a quirked edge-roll on jamb and lintel. The original entrance, which is no longer in situ, bears on the lintel a shield charged with an engrailed cross and a crescent in the upper dexter corner, but the charges in the other quarters are obscure. The parapet of the main block is borne on continuous corbelling, and breaks into open rounds at the angles. It seems to have been rebuilt in the 17th century, but before the wing was added. The walk is unusually narrow and is offset for passage round the west chimney-stalk. The later wing has no parapet, and at its junction with the older work, on the western side, the recess formed by the old walls -of the main block and stair-wing is bridged by a small arch to carry an extension of the parapet up to the gable of the new block.

The main block is vaulted on the ground floor. At the eastern end were originally two cellars, while the western part was a single chamber, the kitchen. When the new wing was built, a new kitchen was provided in it at first-floor level, convenient for service to the Hall, which occupied the full extent of the first floor of the main block. In the new kitchen a service-stair was formed to serve the wing. Both the kitchen and the cellar below it are vaulted. The interior of the house has been entirely modernised. The tower is founded on a rock rising towards the west, and it is obvious that the placing of the new wing has been controlled by the site. The old approach was from the south; about 100 yards south of the house are two gate piers of 17th-century date.


The lands of ‘Littill Brighous’, with the fortalice, in the barony of Ogilface, were sold to William, Lord Livingstone, in 1587/8 by Alexander Stewart and Elizabeth Hamilton, his wife, as free tenants, and James Stewart, his elder son, and Helen Sinclair, his wife, as joint feuars (Reg. Mag. Sig., s.a., No. 1531).

RCAHMS 1929, visited 9 September 1926

OS 6-inch map: ix.NW

Photographic Survey (16 October 1958)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record/Ministry of Works in October 1958.


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