West Lothian Archaeology Group

The Location of Ogilface Castle

Updated 12 April 2011

Barony of Ogilface Index

Archaeology Index


The site from the road west of the bridge over Barbauchlaw Burn

The site from the path on the hillside to the east, behind the houses of Millburn Crescent

Officially, the site at Woodend  (large aerial photograph - below houses on right) is the most probable location of Ogilface Castle whereas the other site, above Standhill Farm near Blackridge, is marked on Armstrong's1773 map as 'Ogelface in ruins' (large aerial photograph - centre of the image two thirds down).

Taylor and Skinner's road map of 1776 also shows Ogelface Ruins at the same location east of Craig Hill.

Taylor and Skinner's road map of 1776

(From a simplified 7x4inch pocket book version printed approximately 20 years later)

The policy of Ordnance Survey now is not to depict 'site of' sites on maps, and they removed Ogilface Castle from the published maps, at the Woodend location, in 1978.

Which is the correct location for Ogilface?

Could Ogilface Craigs be another possible location? Are any of these sites much older than 'Ogilface' with a history going further back to the Iron Age, as at the fortified homestead site (now destroyed by quarry spoil) of Cairny Hill (with nearby cairns) west of Blackridge, and at the fort at Chesters in East Lothian?

Extensive patterns of rig and furrow cultivation in these areas indicate that both sites are consistent with agricultural settlement.


Items found above ground below the Woodend site, including

green glazed pottery


There are two approaches that can be taken. One is to follow the 'paper' trail through time of the recorded history of Ogilface Castle. The other is to investigate the physical evidence that remains at the actual sites.

This community website has contacted various bodies in relation to these sites. As a joint initiative with the History of Armadale Association, we contacted the award-winning Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society  (EAFS) to see if the Society was interested in carrying out a non-invasive geophysics survey (ground-resistance) of the sites.

EAFS obtained funding from Historic Scotland for the survey work and report preparation for these sites. The initial survey of the Woodend location was conducted on the 21 April 2007 and photographs of the occasion are on the Woodend Archaeology page. The Armadale website and the HAA would like to thank the members of EAFS for their hard work during their visit to our community.  We were pleased that David Hodgson of the West of Scotland Archive Service was also able to attend the event and we thank him for his participation.

At present, the documented history of Ogilface is being re-examined and detailed on the Ogilface page.

We are investigating the use of high resolution kite aerial photography in the visible, ultra-violet and near infra-red parts of the spectrum on these (and other) sites.

Update 2008

The geophysical survey work (site 1 / site 2) has now been completed and an EAFS report submitted to Historic Scotland in March 2008:

H.M.D. Jones, Geophysical Survey at Ogilface Castle and Stand Hill, Armadale, West Lothian. Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society, EAFS Geophysics Occasional Paper No19, March 2008.

The Members of the EAFS who devoted time to the survey are:

Kathleen Allanach, Alan Calder, Nora Carlin, John Cooper, Hugh Dinwoodie, Carol Dixon, Ian Hawkins, Brian James, David Jones, Don Matthews, Bill MacLellan, Tom Sharp and Jill Strobridge.

Dr Peter Morris provided the magnetometry equipment and made the surveys and supplied the printouts of the magnetometry surveys and reprocessed the resistive data to give a 'comparative' print to the magnetic data.

Another report on site 1 was submitted to Historic Scotland in October 2008 following further work:

H.M.D. Jones, Resistive Linear Array Survey at Ogilface Castle, Armadale, West Lothian, Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society, EAFS Geophysics Occasional Paper No 22, October 2008.


Information wanted!  Did you take part in Armadale Academy's archaeological dig at Woodend in the late 1960s?  If so, Rosie would love to hear your memories of that event.

We would also be interested to receive information about other local archaeological sites of interest.



We would like to acknowledge the early researches of Robert Kerr and to thank the following people for providing helpful advice, comments and information etc, especially Martin O'Hare and David Hodgson for their professionalism, expertise and patience.

The McNee family Custodians of the Barony of Ogilface sites under investigation
David Jones EAFS
Ian Hawkins EAFS
John Reid Armadale
Martin O’Hare WoSAS
David Hodgson WoSAS
Dr Stuart Eydmann WLC Planning
Kenneth Dunn NLS
Gemma Tougher NAS
Lorna Flinn CSA
Joe McIndoe Barbauchlaw Mill
Graeme Bryce Ogilface Craigs
Mr. Orr Standhill
Stuart Borrowman WLC  
Sybil Cavanagh Local History Library, Linlithgow
Dr Mila Pravda IRDIGI