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Sir Chaloner Ogle

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Chaloner Ogle (1681–1750) was a British naval officer.

He was of the Kirkley Hall branch of the prominent Northumbrian Ogle family of Northumberland.

In 1721 he commanded HMS Swallow, leading the fleet in action off the West African coast. In 1722 he defeated the pirate fleet of Bartholomew Roberts, for which success he was awarded a knighthood. He was the only British naval officer to be honoured specifically for his actions against pirates.

He also profited financially, taking gold dust from two of Roberts' ships, the Royal Fortune and Ranger. His crew did not receive their share until Ogle was reluctantly forced to give it to them by the legal system, three years later.

Captain Chaloner Ogle claimed to have missed out on the treasure which the pirates had left on their third ship, the Little Ranger, when they sailed to their last engagement with the Swallow. By the time Ogle and his men arrived to take the treasure in the Little Ranger it had gone, with Captain Hill of the merchant ship Neptune, who had been trading with the pirates. Several weeks after the defeat of Bartholomew Roberts, however, Captain Ogle and Captain Hill had both sailed across the Atlantic and were in Port Royal at the same time. Even if this is assumed to be a coincidence, it seems nearly inconceivable that Captain Ogle, who was already swindling his own crew, would not have then confronted Captain Hill, who in theory Ogle could easily have had hanged for trading with pirates. It therefore seems likely that the larger part of Bartholomew Robert's treasure ended up in the hands of Captain Ogle, and some part in the hands of Captain Hill.

In 1741 as Rear Admiral of the Blue he led the British attack on three forts at Cartagena, Colombia during a disastrous campaign in the War of Jenkins' Ear.

In 1742 he was accused of an alleged assault upon Edward Trelawny, Governor of Jamaica but his career survived and he was appointed Admiral of the White and in 1747 Admiral of the Fleet.

He married twice, firstly in 1726 and secondly in 1737 to his cousin Isabella Ogle, daughter of Nathaniel Ogle of Kirkley Hall. Thus he was the great uncle of his brother-in-law and namesake, Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle.

His home was latterly at Gifford Lodge, Twickenham, Middlesex where he died in 1750 without issue.

Sir Chaloner Ogle: these data extracted from the book Ogle and Bothal, commissioned by Sir Henry A. Ogle, Baronet, completed in 1902.

The book "Admirals of the Caribbean", 1922, contains far more detail concerning the Caribbean wars with Spain and France, it will show that Admiral Vernon was the theater commander and that Admiral Ogle was also under his orders during the initial attacks on the Spanish forts.

[pg 129] K. Sir Chaloner Ogle of Copeland, knight, was born in 1680, it is said at Kirkley. He entered the royal navy in July 1697 as a volunteer per order, or king's letter boy, on board the Yarmouth with Captain Cleveland. He afterwards served in the Restoration with Captain Foulis, in the Worcester and Suffolk, and passed his examination on 11 March 1701/2, being then twenty-one. On 29 April 1702, he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Royal Oak, and on 24 November 1703, to be commander of the St. Antonio. In April 1705 he was moved to the Deal Castle, which was captured off Ostend on 3 July 1706, by three French ships. A court martial, held on 19 October, acquitted him of all blame. He afterwards commanded the Queenborough. On 14 March 1707/8 he was posted by Sir George Byng to the Tartar frigate, and in her he continued during the war for the most part in the Mediterranean where he made some valuable prizes.266

On 2 May 1713 he purchased, from his uncle Thomas Ogle of Kirkley, a quarter of the west quarter of Kirkley and one quarter of Alderhaugh, granting Thomas on 2 July, an annuity as part payment, and on 2 November following he purchased from William Rutherford, husband of his aunt Isabel, another quarter of the west quarter of Kirkley and of Alderhaugh,267 and on the 13th of the same month John Ogle of Newcastle, his father, on his behalf, purchased for the sum of [pg 130] £2,150 of Ralp Wallis of Knaresdale, Copeland and Akeld.268 In 1714, his name occurs as a justice of the peace. On 30 July 1715, he and his father mortgaged their lands to John Stephenson for the sum of £2,000.269 He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Northumberland on 4 August 1715. Soon after, in 1716, he commanded the Plymouth in the Baltic under Sir John Norris, and in 1717 the Worcester, a fourth-rate of 50 guns under Sir George Byng in the Baltic. In March 1719 he was appointed to the 60-gun ship Swallow, and after convoying the trade to Newfoundland, and thence to the Mediterranean, and thence home, was sent early in 1721 to the coast of Africa.

For several months the ship was disabled by the sickness of her men, and he wrote on 20 September from Princes Island saying that he had buried 50 men and had still 100 sick. In November he was at Cape Coast castle, where he received intelligence that two pirates were plundering the coast under Bartholomew Roberts, who commanded a ship of 40 guns and 152 men, having also a ship of 32 guns and 132 men, and one of 24 guns and 90 men. Captain Ogle put to sea; at Whydah he learnt that they had lately captured ten sail, one of which refusing to pay ransom was burnt with a full cargo of negroes on board. On 5 February 1722 he found them at anchor under Cape Lopez, where he found the largest and the smallest ships were heeled over scrubbing bottoms. Captain Ogle having taken in his lower deck guns and lying at a distance, Roberts, mistook him for a merchantman and ordered his consort Skyrm to slip and chase. The Swallow pretended to fly but when out of earshot, Captain Ogle tacked, ran out his lower deck guns, and gave the pirate a broadside which killed Skyrm, and he soon captured her. Captain Ogle then returned to the bay, hoisting the king's colour under the pirate's black flag which bore a death's head, hour glass and human heart; this stratagem caused Roberts to stand out to meet him, and it was a disagreeable surprise when the English colours were hoisted. Roberts fought with the utmost bravery, but when he was killed the pirates surrendered. The whole number of prisoners taken was 262, of whom 75 negroes, were sold; the rest were taken to Cape Coast castle, 74 of whom were capitally convicted, of whom 52 were hanged, most of them in chains, 19 died before trial, 20 sentenced to death, were sent, for seven years in the mines, and the rest were sent to England to be imprisoned in the Marshalsea. It is related that when the prisoners were brought on board the Swallow Captain Ogle said to one of them who had a silver call at his breast, "I presume you are boatswain of that vessel." "Then you presume wrong," answered the fellow, "I'm boatswain to Captain Roberts". "Then Mr. Boatswain, I presume you'll be hanged," said the captain. "Just as you please" answered the ruffian, with the greatest indifference. On asking another fellow how the powder came to take fire, "John Morris" answered he with a savage look, "fired his pistol into the magazine, and if he had not I would." Roberts, it is said, made a splendid figure, being dressed in crimson damask with a red feather in his hat, a gold chain and a diamond cross about his neck, his sword in his hand, and his pistols slung in a silk scarf, which was the fashion of the "gentlemen of fortune", as they called themselves. When he received his death wound he sat down on a gun and expired; his comrades at first thought he was losing courage and called upon him to stand up, but when they found he was dead their own courage gave way.270

On Captain Ogle's return to England in April 1723 he received the honour of knighthood at St. James'; he also received from the Crown the pirates' ships and effects subject to the legal charges and the payment of head money to his officers and men, the nett value of the proceeds was a little over £3,000. His father John Ogle of Newcastle on 23 September 1723, released to his son, Sir Chaloner Ogle of Copeland, an annuity he was left under [pg 131] the will of Thomas Ogle, his brother.271 He was made a member of the Trinity House in June of the same year. On 17 June 1725, he was proxy for Lord Glenorchy (Sir John Campbell) son of the earl at Bredalbane, when the Order of the Bath was revived and the knights installed with great magnificence in King Henry VII's chapel at Westminster abbey.272 In 1726 he appears as Master of the Trinity House at Newcastle,273 and he soon after married his first wife.

In April 1729 he 'was appointed to the 'Burford', one of the fleet gathered at Spithead under the command at Sir Charles Wager. On 17 May 1731 he was appointed to the command of the 'Edinburgh', a 70 gun ship, in the fleet also under Sir Charles Wages,274 which went to the Mediterranean, and in May 1732 he was sent out to Jamaica as commodore of a squadron of observation.274 He was home in 1737, when he married his second wife. On 21 March 1739 he was appointed to the 'Augusta’, and in June as commodore of a squadron of observation.274 On 11 July he was promoted to be rear admiral of the blue, and was ordered to Gibraltar with 12 ships, having orders either to act separately or to put himself under the command of Haddock who already had a strong squadron in the Mediterranean, but he Soon returned, and the government, dreading a union with [between] France and Spain, a secret expedition was projected and a potent fleet assembled at Spithead in 1740 under Sir John Norris, Philip Cavendish, and Sir Chaloner as rear admiral. H.R.H. the duke of Cumberland embarked as a volunteer. Twenty-one sail of the line and three fire ships sailed from St. Helen's on 17 July 1740 with a convoy and merchant ships, for Portugal and the Straits, but meeting with gales they returned to St. Helens; sailing again on the 22nd, they were detained at Torbay nearly a month, and returned to Spithead.

In the autumn he was ordered to take out a large reinforcement to Vice Admiral Vernon, whose exploit of taking Porto Bello with six ships had inflamed further desire. He had a busy time at Spithead preparing. On 18 September l740 he wrote to James Knight, esq., from the Shrewsury, "I think it is now generally believed that ye Brest and Ferrol Squadrons are gone to the West Indies, we are making all despatch that is possible to get the fleet in readiness for ye sea. . . . I think we shall have force enough to carry all before us when we joyn altho the French and Spanish Squadrons may be gone there. . . . l am with ye greatest truth yr most obedt & humble Sert C. Ogle. P.S.-I am all day long over head and ears in papers." Another letter is dated 6 October 1740.275 In September of the same year the duke276 transmitted to him secret orders to sail with 28 sail of the line and other ships, informing him that 27 French and 14 Spanish ships had already sailed for the West Indies.277 He sailed from Spithead on 26 October with 24 sail of the line and other ships, including 150 transports, the troops being under Lord Cathcart; they were overtaken by a dreadful gale, but only one sail of the line was forced back, and having arrived at Dominica, they proceeded on to Jamaica where they arrived on 9 January 1741 and joined Admiral Vernon, the force numbering 30 sail of the line and 10,000 soldiers, most of whom sailed on 26 January.

The attack on Cartagena was commenced on 9 March by Sir Chaloner, and on the 25th the squadron had captured the outer Forts and the squadron in the harbour, but the attack on fort St. Lazar on the 8th April failed, so after destroying the forts the squadron and troops returned to Jamaica. At the British Museum there are seven different medals representing this action, three of them represent figures of Admirals Vernon and Ogle, three others, these two and General Wentworth, the seventh and best represents Don Blass kneeling between the admirals. 'The pride of Spain humbled by Admiral [pg 132] Vernon and Sir Chaloner Ogle.' 'Don Blass' over his figure. On the obverse a picture of the forts with two ships entering ‘They took Cartagena April 1741.' On 18 June 1741 Sir Chaloner wrote from the Cumberland at Jamaica. . . . "You have had an account before this of our success before Cartagena, tomorrow seven of the 80 gun ships with two seventy a sixty and a fifty sail for England. Ye "Boyne" and ye "Cumberland" continue here being sheathed, etc. I have been so much employed I have hardly time to look about me." 278 He wrote from the Cumberland in Port Royal Harbour, 13 February 1741/2. . . .

"We are now fitting out with a great expedition and shall sail in a few days to make an attempt on some place on the Main. . . ." Admiral Vernon and the general were on notoriously bad terms, and between the navy and the army, which showed itself on 3 September, when Sir Chaloner was charged before the chief justice of Jamaica for having assaulted Edward Trelawney, the governor.279 The jury decided an assault had been given and there the matter ended. In March 1742 Sir Chaloner was promoted to be rear admiral of the red.280 On 18 October 1742 Admiral Vernon sailed for England, leaving the command to Sir Chaloner, who was promoted on 9 August 1743 to be vice admiral of the blue.281 Charnock says he was promoted to be Vice-Admiral of the white on 7 December 1743 and was then left commander-in-chief, saying his conduct gave universal satisfaction, for a private letter, dated at Port Royal, 29 April 1774, bestows the following encomium on him, "The inhabitants of the island begin to recover their spirits the loss of Admiral Vernon is in a great measure compensated for by the vigilance and good conduct of Sir Chaloner Ogle." His work was now limited to protecting the British and scourging the Spanish trade, except the attacks made in 1743 by Commodore Knowles on La Guira and Porto Cavalla. On 15 March, 1743/4, he was president of a court martial for the trial of George Frye, a lieutenant of marines, who was found guilty and for his great insolence and contempt shown to the court was sentenced to be cashiered and to be imprisoned for fifteen years; the latter part of the sentence was afterwards pronounced illegal and Frye obtained a verdict for false imprisonment against Sir Chaloner who was sentenced to pay £1,000282 which seems to have been paid by the Crown. On 9 August 1743 he was promoted to be vice admiral of the blue, and 19 June 1744 vice admiral of the red (?) and in April 1745 admiral of the blue. He returned from the West Indies on 2 June 1745 with the Cumberland, three other ships, and nine merchantmen,282 and in September was president of a court martial assembled in the Medway for the trial of Admirals Mathews and Lestock and others relative to the miscarriage of the action off Toulon. Early the next year he went to Bath for the recovery of his health.283

On 24 November of that year he was returned member of Parliament for Rochester,283 and again on 18 July 1747 he having been on 15 July advanced to be vice admiral of the White.284 and the next year to be admiral of the red (?) and 28 June 1749 to admiral of the fleet.284 He died on 11 April 1750 aged seventy 284 and was buried in St. Mary's parish church, Twickenham, where there is a memorial to "H. S. E. Vir honorabilis Chaloner Ogle Eq Aur Regiarum Classium Praefectus primarius Qui generosam inter Northumbrios stirpem nobilitate rerum gestarum decoravit . . . . " to which is affixed a shield of the arms of Ogle impaling Ogle; there is also a memorial in Ponteland church. His will is dated 10 April 1739 with a codicil dated in 1744: it was proved 3 September, 1750.285 There is a portrait of him at Kirkley Hall and at The Painted Hall, Greenwich.

[pg 133] He married, first, circa 1726, Henrietta, sister of John Isaacson recorder of Newcastle. It is stated that this (?) Lady Ogle "eminent for her virtues" died in 1737. 286 And secondly on 30 October 1737 Isabella, daughter of Nathaniel Ogle of Newcastle and of Kirkley, his cousin; she proved her husband’s will, and she re-married, July 1751, James, Lord Kingston. (See the next generation.)


These are the references listed in Ogle and Bothal.

266 Nat. Bio 267 Ap. 683, 684. 268 B. F. C. Pap. 269 Ap. 685 270 Campbell's Naval History, etc. 271 Ap. 686. 272 Orders of Knighthood. 273 Brand II., p.338. 274 Gen. Mag. 275 Add. MSS. 12431. 276 This was Holles, Newcastle. 277 Add. MSS. 32695.

278 Add. MSS. 12431. 279 Gen. Mag. 1743. 280 Gen. Mag. 281 Gen. Mag. 282 Gen. Mag. 283 Gen. Mag. 284 Gen. 285 Ap 560. 286 Gen Mag.

External links

Ogle Tales and Trails



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