American descendants return to UK ancestral home to help preserve family's heritage

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25 October 2017
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A group of American descendants of a prominent Northumberland family have paid a visit to the home of their ancestors after helping to raise funds for a unique conservation project

Forty-five American descendants of the Ogle family of Northumberland have travelled to their ancestral home in the UK to visit sites linked to their forebears and launch a unique conservation project.

 

The Ogle family was prominent in Northumberland and British history, owning castles at Kirkley Hall, Ogle, Cockle Park and more, and members of the Ogle/Ogles Family Association of America (OOFA) visited the county for a two-week tour in September. The group stopped off at Kirkley Hall estate, now a campus of Northumberland College in Ponteland, near Newcastle upon Tyne, to officially inveil a handmade wooden plaque that honours the Ogle family, after the association raised US$2,500 (£1,900) to restore a historic pond, renamed Ogle Pond, to its former glory.

 

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Representatives from Northumberland College, including principal and CEO Marcus Clinton and Malcolm Watson, chairperson of the Kirkley Hall Gardens and Woodland Committee, were on hand to welcome the group to the 17th century hall and wooded estate.

 

Wild flowers and trees have already been planted and a boardwalk constructed so the pond can be used by students studying conservation, as well as being an attraction for visitors to the hall.

 

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Mr Watson said: ‘It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to address so many related members of the Ogle Family Association of America on the special occasion of their visit to Kirkley Hall. The pond was a part of the estate which was originally owned by their ancestors.

 

'As a result of financial support generously provided by the Ogles and Northumberland College it has been possible to begin restoring the pond.

'The idea is that it will become an additional feature for visitors to Kirkley Hall, including a photo opportunity for wedding couples. The estate is now managed by Northumberland College at Kirkley Hall and provides a major educational resource.'

The keen family historians enjoyed a tour of the estate, walking along the site of the original manor house, which the Ogle family owned from 1612-1928. Members of the family included Captain Challenger Ogle, a knight and Admiral of the Fleet, and Newton Ogle, who became Deacon of Westminster.

 

After their visit, the Ogle descendants continued their tour of Northumberland with visits to local attractions including Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle – famous as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies – and, of course, Ogle Castle.