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Ogle Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Oggle; Ogill

In the civil parish of Whalton.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ14057908
Latitude 55.10591° Longitude -1.78127°

Ogle Castle has been described as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House, and also as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The medieval village and moated site at Ogle are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. Taken together with the remains of the open field system they will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of medieval settlement in the region.
The monument includes Ogle Castle moated site, the abandoned remains of the medieval village of Ogle and part of its associated open field system, situated on the left bank of the Ogle Burn. It is divided into four separate areas of protection. The historical context of the monument is recorded in several documents and it is known that from the 12th century until the late 16th century the manor was held by the Ogle family before descending to the Cavendish family. An estate map of 1632 shows that at this time the village comprised 16 houses and a castle. By 1830 the village had become considerably shrunken with almost half of its farms having been dispersed to other parts of the estate. The medieval plan of the village is a type well known in this part of Northumberland in which two parallel lines of houses face onto a broad rectangular village green with narrow crofts or garden areas to the rear. Ogle, although shrunken from its once larger medieval size, is still occupied and the basic medieval plan has been retained with some of the original plots currently occupied by modern houses. This type of village in northern England is thought to be the result of deliberate planning by Norman rulers attempting to exert control over a rebellious region during the 11th and 12th centuries. The tofts of the northern half of the village have become totally abandoned and they survive as a series of prominent earthworks on the north side of the present village street to the west of Ogle Castle. The earthworks are visible as a line of rectangular platforms or tofts, containing the foundations of timber long houses. The foundations stand to an average height of 0.3m. To the rear of each toft there are the well defined remains of at least 12 linear crofts or garden areas, each bounded from its neighbour by a bank on average 0.6m high. Some of the crofts, particularly at the western end of the street, contain the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The street is bounded on the north by a continuous perimeter bank which runs the length of the village and serves to separate the village from its surrounding open field system. The north row of the village faces onto a broad rectangular open space which contains the remains of banks and hollows. This was formerly the village green which has become encroached upon by modern housing at its south western corner. The rectangular foundations of a long house, visible on the village green at its eastern end, indicate that there was also medieval encroachment onto the green. The green narrows at its western end to form a funnelled hollow way, or driftway, which turns southwards through the open fields and gave access to an area of common pasture. A less substantial hollow way also gives access from the west end of the green through the open fields to the north. Much of the south row of the village remains in use and many of the medieval plots are occupied by modern houses; they face onto the modern road which runs along the southern edge of the former village green and are not included in the scheduling. At the rear of these plots, however, the southern part of their associated linear crofts survive. There appear to have been at least 12 crofts on this row, suggesting a uniform number on each street. The crofts on the south side are similarly bounded by a continuous perimeter bank separating the village from the surrounding open field system. Parts of the once more extensive open fields survive; to the north and south of the village there are several medieval furlongs or fields bounded by intact headlands. Each furlong contains ridge and furrow cultivation which survives well and stands to a maximum height of 0.6m. At the eastern end of the north row of the village are the remains of a large enclosure bounded by an earthen bank standing to a height of 1m. This enclosure is an integral part of the village and is clearly medieval in origin. Within the enclosure there are the partially infilled remains of a double moated site. Part of the inner moat on the northern side and all of its western arm survive well where they are on average 2m deep. At the north west corner the inner moat stands up to 4m deep. Part of the southern arm of the outer moat also survives as a slight earthwork 0.4m deep. The remainder of the two moats have become infilled but the course of the outer moat can be traced on the north and south sides as a slight depression in pasture. The eastern arm of the moat is no longer visible and has been infilled and partially built over. The island of the moated site contains the remains of a medieval structure which was remodelled during the 16th century. The original medieval buildings are thought to have included a tower with an attached manor house as licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 and a document of 1415 lists the existence of a 'castrum' at Ogle. (Scheduling Report)

House, probably hall block of former castle. Main block an early C16 remodelling of medieval fabric; west wing a C16 addition; mid C20 restoration and minor additions. Main block squared stone, wing large rubble; cut dressings; stone slate roof. L-plan.
South elevation in 2 sections: main block 2 storeys, 4 bays, irregular: studded door in chamfered surround with hoodmould; two 3-light windows on left and one on right. 2-light windows above. Sundial above left of door inscribed 1717, SK. All windows leaded casements in double-chamfered surrounds, some renewed, with 4-centred-arched lights and hollow-chamfered hoodmoulds. Right-gable coped, with stepped-and-corniced stack; double stack on ridge. Slightly-projecting cross-gabled 3-storey left bay: similar 3-light windows, the upper transomed, and smaller 2-light window on 2nd floor. Left return of wing shows projecting stack with corbelled-out projection on left; scattered fenestration, mostly C20; 2-storey C20 bay on far left.
Rear elevation of main block shows C16 1st-floor windows of two 4-centred-arched lights to either side of small C20 stair wing. Inner return of wing on right shows two old 2-light windows, the upper lacking its mullion.
Interior: Dining room (hall) has large fireplace with moulded surround partly cut away; sitting room (kitchen) has large segmental-arched fireplace with rounded arris. Oak room in wing has smaller fireplace in moulded surround re-set from 1st floor. Contemporary ceilings with hollow stop-chamfered beams and grooved joists. Several doorways with chamfered surrounds; doorways and windows show segmental rear arches. Pair of 2-centred-arched doorways where north wall joins wing; one with chamfered arch,another,blocked, with stepped arch. Segmental arch above carried newel stair starting from 1st floor, where part of stairwell and 2 square-headed doorways remain. Smaller C16 fireplaces on 1st floor. Roof of main block shows 7 principal-rafter trusses with collars, perhaps re-set, and chamfered single-light window now opening into roof of wing.
Historical Note. The house may have been the main half of a castle with curtain wall and half-round towers. Licence to crenellate granted to Robert de Ogle 1341. Hutchinson in 1776 records the remains of a circular tower to east of the house, demolished when gable end rebuilt and farm buildings added. (Listed Building Report)

An account of 1664 states that the castle was small but strong with 'several towers upon the wall, built in a half-round outwardly and in a square within, surrounded by a double moat and drawbridge before the gate'. Little of it remained in 1776 and in 1827 the building was gone and the west end of the moat was the only survival. The succeding house (now a farm) is 17th c. and was probably once a place of some consequence (Bateson 1895).
Some pieces of the walling of the castle are said to be incorporated in the present building, which is supposed to stand on the foundations of its SW corner. The moat where it survives on the west and north sides only, has an average depth of 2m (A S Phillips/25-JAN-1956/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator).
Tower house probably dating from 1341, with a later medieval manor house added. A sundial dated 1717. All stone, with steeply pitched stone roof, centre and end chimneys. Present front of 2 storeys has a studded door in chamfered frame with label, 3 windows on ground floor and 4 above (mullioned). Rear has staircase wing. Projecting chimney and corbelled garderobe projection. External stone stairs to upper door at side. Gabled wing has an original window on first floor of 6 lights, and a 2-light window in gable. Long brick and pantiled barn to right at right angles to main house, (to east, extending south) and attached to it. Double moat still traceable (Castle Ward, JULY-1968 Page 35).
The present Ogle Castle is occupied and in good condition though not outstanding. There is no external evidence of pre-17th century fabric. Only the west and north arms of the moat remains, the remainder having been destroyed by farm outbuildings and garden landscaping. That part of the moat still visible is unusually strong. It is 5.0m deep below internal and external banks up to 2.2m high (Keith Blood/04-JUL-1989/RCHME Field Investigator). (PastScape)

'Ogle Castle... may have owed something to the five newly-knighted Scottish men-at-arm whom its builder, Robert de Ogle, captured... and who were ransomed 'for a great weight of gold'' (King, 2007, p. 391)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 May 11 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


No evidence this was a tower house. Seems to have been a small courtyard castle, with mural towers, of a type common in the rest of England, although rare in the North, usually called a fortified manor house, although many have castle names.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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