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American descendants visit Kirkley Hall following a fund raising drive and conservation project

American descendants visit Kirkley Hall following a fund raising drive and conservation project  
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Forty- five members of the Ogle/ Ogles Family Association of America (OOFA) travelled from across the USA to Northumberland this week, to visit sites linked to their ancestor’s past and to re-name 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, are embarking on a two-week long visit to rural Northumberland.

On Thursday, September 7, representatives from Northumberland College, including Principal and CEO Marcus Clinton and Malcolm Watson, chairperson 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 honors the Ogle family, who together have raised $2,500 towards the renovation proejct.

David Wear, Head of Land and Environment at Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall 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 hall.

The keen historians also enjoyed a tour of the Kirkley Hall estate, walking along the site of the original manor house, which the Ogle family owned from 1612 - 1928.

Members of the Ogle family during this period included Captain Challenger Ogle, a knight and Admiral of the Fleet and Newton Ogle, who became Deacon of Westminster.

Malcolm Watson said: "It is 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 group will continue their tour of Northumberland with visits to local attractions including Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle and Ogle Castle.

Kirkley Hall is a seventeenth century rural estate of over 190 acres with a variety of woodland. The grade II listed hall is set in gardens and is available for weddings, private functions, conferences and other corporate events.

The campus offers vocational courses and Apprenticeship training in a wide range of subjects including agriculture, horticulture and floristry, animal care and equine, arboriculture, countryside and environment and outdoor activity leadership.

To find out more please visit www.kirkleyhall.co.uk