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Ogle, Sir Chalonerlocked

  • J. K. Laughton
  • , revised by Richard Harding

Sir Chaloner Ogle (1680/8181–1750)

by unknown artist, c. 1718

© National Maritime Museum, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection

Ogle, Sir Chaloner (1680/81–1750), naval officer, was the son of John Ogle (1649/50–1740), a Newcastle barrister, and Mary Braithwaite (d. 1744). He entered the navy on 28 July 1697 as a volunteer per order, or king's letter-boy, on the Yarmouth with Captain Cleveland. He afterwards served in the Restoration and the Worcester before passing his lieutenant's examination on 11 March 1702 aged twenty-one.

On 29 April 1702 Ogle was promoted third lieutenant of the Royal Oak, and on 28 May he became second lieutenant on the Anglesea. In the West Indies he was given command of the captured sloop St Antonio, before moving on 21 April 1705 to the Deal Castle. After returning to England in December 1705 Ogle stayed with the Deal Castle, in which he was captured off Ostend on 3 July 1706 by three French ships. A court martial on 19 October acquitted Ogle of all blame. On 26 June 1707 he was appointed to command the Queenborough, and on 20 May 1708 he was posted to the frigate Tartar; he remained in her for the duration of the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1716 he commanded the Plymouth in the Baltic under Sir John Norris, and in 1717 the Worcester under Sir George Byng.

On 11 March 1719 he was appointed to the Swallow (60 guns). After convoying the trade to Newfoundland, thence to the Mediterranean, and so home, Ogle was ordered, on 31 January 1721, to the coast of Africa. On the passage he met the Weymouth. Both ships' companies were badly ravaged by sickness. On 20 September, Ogle wrote from Prince's Island that they had buried men and had still 100 sick. At Cape Coast Castle in November he received intelligence of two pirates plundering on the coast. At Ouidah he learned that they had lately captured ten sail, one of which they had burnt, with a full cargo of African slaves on board, the owners of the ship having refused to pay ransom. On 5 February 1722 he found them at anchor under Cape Lopez. One of the ships, a captured French vessel of 32 guns, commanded by a pirate named Skyrm, slipped her cable in chase, mistaking the Swallow for a merchantman. When they had run out of earshot the Swallow tacked towards the pirate, and, after a sharp action, captured her. Ogle then returned to Cape Lopez under a French ensign. The second pirate ship, the Royal Fortune, commanded by Bartholomew Roberts, waited for her, eager for the expected prize. The Swallow then hoisted the English flag and engaged the pirate ship. Roberts defended himself with obstinate bravery, but when he was killed his crew surrendered. The total number of prisoners was 262, including 75 African slaves, who were sold. Of the rest, 19 died before the trial at Cape Coast Castle, 77 were acquitted, 52 were hanged, 20 were sentenced to death and then sent to the mines, and the remainder were sent to prison in England.

Ogle's conduct received much praise, and on his return to England in April 1723 he was knighted. He also received, as a special gift from the crown, the pirates' ships and effects less the payment of £1940 head-money to his officers and men. Despite contrary claims from his officers and crew Ogle appears to have argued successfully that he should be the recipient of the remaining prize money, totalling more than £3000, which he regarded as a personal gift to support his new title.

On 2 April 1729 Ogle was appointed to the Burford, one of the fleet gathered at Spithead under the command of Sir Charles Wager. On 19 May 1731 he took charge of the Edinburgh in the fleet, also under Wager, which went to the Mediterranean. He was sent out to Jamaica as commander-in-chief in June 1732 and did not return to England until August 1735. Ogle was twice married. After the death of his first wife, Henrietta Issacson (1678–1737), he married on 30 October 1737 Jane Isabella (d. 1761), about whom further details are unknown; they do not appear to have had any children.

In June 1739 Ogle was appointed to the Augusta; on his promotion to rear-admiral of the blue (11 July), he hoisted his flag in her and, with strong reinforcements, joined Nicholas Haddock in the Mediterranean. His stay there was short, and by the following summer he was third in command of the fleet under Sir John Norris. On 10 September 1740 Ogle was ordered to escort an expeditionary army of over 8000, under the command of Lord Cathcart, to the West Indies. The objective was to attack the Spanish possessions in the Caribbean, but tension with France caused the ministry to send over thirty warships with Ogle to reinforce Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon's small squadron at Port Royal, Jamaica. Their combined fleet, numbering thirty sail of the line and some 10,000 British and American soldiers, constituted by far the largest force that had ever been assembled in the Caribbean. The attack on Cartagena in March and April was, however, a disastrous failure; other operations attempted against Cuba in the summer proved equally unsuccessful. Tension mounted within the command of the expedition, which showed itself in a violent quarrel between Ogle and Edward Trelawney, governor of Jamaica, after a council of war on 22 July 1742. On 3 September, Ogle was charged before the chief justice of Jamaica with assaulting Trelawney. The jury decided that Ogle had been guilty and there the matter ended, the governor requesting that no judgment should be given.

On 18 October 1742 Vernon sailed for England, leaving Ogle in command. The fleet was too much reduced to allow any operations against the coasts of the enemy, who themselves had no force at sea; Ogle's work was therefore restricted to protecting the British and scourging the Spanish trade. Only one incident stands out in this period. George Frye, a lieutenant in the marines, was charged and found guilty of disobedience and disrespect in March 1744. The court martial, of which Ogle was president, sentenced him to be cashiered, rendered incapable of holding a commission in the king's service, and imprisoned for fifteen years. The last part of the sentence was afterwards pronounced illegal, and Frye obtained a verdict of false imprisonment against Ogle and several other members of the court martial. Ogle was sentenced to pay £800 damages, which appears eventually to have been paid for him by the crown.

On 9 August 1743 Ogle was promoted vice-admiral of the blue. He was advanced to vice-admiral of the white on 7 December 1743 and on 19 June 1744 to admiral of the blue. He returned to England in the summer of 1745, and on 11 September was made commander-in-chief in the Thames, Medway, and Nore. In that month Ogle presided at the courts martial which tried sundry lieutenants and captains on a charge of misconduct in the action off Toulon on 11 February 1744. On 15 July 1747 he was promoted admiral of the white and on 1 July 1749 admiral and commander-in-chief, entitled to fly the union flag. He died in London on 11 April 1750 and was buried at Twickenham.


  • J. Charnock, ed., Biographia navalis, 6 vols. (1794–8)
  • GM, 1st ser., 20 (1750), 188
  • captains' letters ‘d’, TNA: PRO, ADM 1/2241–2
  • Ogle, TNA: PRO, ADM 50/27 [(5 June 1732 – 21 Aug 1735)]
  • Admiral's journals, 29 Sept 1740–5 June 1745, TNA: PRO, ADM 50/18
  • commission and warrant books, TNA: PRO, ADM 6/4–16
  • admiral's reports: Ogle, TNA: PRO, SP 42/89
  • Vernon, TNA: PRO, SP 42/90–92
  • state papers admiralty, TNA: PRO, SP 42/30, fols. 365–8
  • will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/778/124
  • A true and genuine copy of the trial of Sir Chaloner Ogle (1743)
  • M. H. Dodds, ed., A history of Northumberland, 12 (1926), 503


  • NMM, corresp. and papers
  • TNA: PRO


  • oils, 1718, NMM [see illus.]
  • J. Bernigeroth, line engraving (after C. Zincke), BM
  • T. Hudson, oils, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle; on loan to St Mary's College, U. Durham
  • Van Werdlen, mezzotint (after G. Hansson), BM
  • medal, BM
National Archives of the United Kingdom, Public Record Office, London
Gentleman's Magazine