Forty-five members of the Ogle/Ogles Family Association of America (OOFA) have travelled from across the USA to Northumberland to visit sites linked to their ancestors’ past.
Their trip so far has included a renaming ceremony at what is now Ogle Pond at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus, following a restoration and conservation project.
American descendants of the Ogle family – who were prominent in Northumberland and British history, owning castles at Kirkley Hall, Ogle, Cockle Park and more – organised the two-week long visit to the county.
Last Thursday, representatives from Northumberland College, including principal and CEO Marcus Clinton and Malcolm Watson, chairman of the Kirkley Hall Gardens and Woodland Committee, welcomed the group to Kirkley Hall.
Charles Owens, vice president of OOFA, officially unveiled a hand-made wooden plaque that honours the Ogle family, who together have raised $2,500 towards the renovation project.
David Wear, head of land and environment at the campus, said: “Wild flowers and trees have been planted and a boardwalk has been constructed so the pond can now be better utilised by countryside students studying conservation, as well as being an attraction to be freely enjoyed by visitors to the grade II-listed hall.”
The keen historians also enjoyed a tour of the Kirkley Hall estate. This included walking along the site of the original manor house, which the Ogle family owned from 1612 to 1928.
The first Ogle ancestors who went to the American continent, John Ogle and Samuel Ogle, are believed by researchers to have come from the Ogle family that owned Eglingham Hall.
Members of the British Ogle family that lived on at Kirkley Hall included Captain Chaloner Ogle, a knight and Admiral of the Fleet, and Newton Ogle, who became Deacon of Westminster.
Mr Watson said: “It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to address so many related members of the OOFA on the special occasion of their visit to Kirkley Hall.
“The pond was a part of the estate that 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 group will continue their tour of Northumberland with visits to local attractions such as Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle and Ogle Castle.
Kirkley Hall is set in gardens and is available for weddings, private functions, conferences and other corporate events.