William Ogilvy

William Ogilvy appears to have been a lucky man: he enjoyed a glorious and profitable career at sea before marrying an heiress considerably younger than himself, settling down in a picturesque country estate and later unexpectedly inheriting a baronetcy which descended to his heirs.

c.1760 - 1823
John Ogilvy, 5th baronet of Inverquharity d.1802
Charlotte Tulliedeph
Lindertis in Angus
He joined the navy, becoming Lieutenant in 1780 and Captain in 1797, commanding the Thunderer. That June he reported Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker on what happened when his new command cornered a French frigate:
Thunderer, at Sea, April 16. Sir, In consequence of your order to attend to the French frigate I chased into Mostique yesterday morning, I beg leave to inform you that, at a quarter past four yesterday evening, the Valant following in close order, I bore up to examine the entrance of Mostique Inlet, keeping so close in shore as to be four fathom water, when a-breast of the frigate, but the wind blew so hard, it was impossible to anchor, without a certainty of driving on the rocks. A little before five I opened my fire on the French frigate and battery, and shortly after, the Valiant did the same; but I was sorry to find the force of wind did not allow the ships to remain long in our stations, though I had reduced the ship to her top-sails, and braced the yards different ways for the purpose of stopping her way. Finding it too late to perform the same evolution that evening, I hauled off, and took such a station as I thought most likely to prevent her escape; and this morning I had the satisfaction to find that the well-directed fire of the two ships had induced her to quit her anchorage, by which means she fell into such a situation between the two ships as made her escape impossible. At seven o'clock this morning, finding herself in that situation, she was run on shore, and set fire to by the crew; and fourty seven minutes past eight she blew up. What remains of the wreck is close to the shore, about four miles to windward of Jean Rabel. I have every reason to think she was the Harmonie, of forty-four guns. It is with the greatest satisfaction I inform you, that this service has been performed without the loss of a man, though the ships suffered a little, in their masts, sails, rigging and hull. I am much indebted to Captain Crawley, of the Valiant, for the close order in whih he followed me, and the strict attention he paid to the orders I gave him before I bore up. From the small specimen I have had of the conduct of the officers and men belonging to his Majesty's ship Thunderer, under my command, I am convinced, that if an opportunity of real service offered they would do credit to the country they belong to. Will. Ogilvy. (3)
By 1798 he was captain of the 33-gun Magicienne which he would command for the rest of his career at sea. The newspapers regularly reported her prizes: the Two Brothers which arrived in Leith in February 1798; a French schooner and sloop in the West Indies the following October; the Falmouth-bound Lancaster recaptured with her cargo of cotton, wood, flour and rice from the French 36-gun privateer Le Brave, in July 1800. In November 1800 Magicienne was part of a team which blew up and sank a Corvette at the Nile, Ogilvy drawing fire from the batteries on land while his boats boarded and set fire to the grounded Corvette (4). Most gloriously, at the beginning of 1801, he captured the 'very beautiful' 400-ton Le Huron: as Ogilvy wrote to Admiral Earl St Vincent from Plymouth Sound on 31 January 1801,
My Lord, Captain Halliday's letter will inform your Lordship of my having, on the 20th instant, captured, in sight of the Doris, the French ship letter of marque Le Huron, and from the Isle of France, bound to Bordeaux, and of his directing me to see her into Plymouth; I now beg leave to acquaint your Lordship of my arrival with her; she is a remarkable fine ship, sails well, is piersed for twenty guns had eighteen mounted, but threw them all overboard except four during the chace; I think her a vessel well calculated for his Majesty's service; the cargo is of great value, and consists of ivory, cochineal, indigo, tea, sugar, pepper, cinnamon, ebony etc. I have the honour to be, etc. W. Ogilvy.' (4)
In July 1801 he was struggling to keep a convoy together in bad weather off Kingston, but was back in Portsmouth in September. Whether he went abroad again after that is not clear, but he was still with his ship on 10 May 1802 when he arrived into Portsmouth, two weeks before his wedding. He gave up the sea on his marriage (aged about 40) and settled down as a country gentleman: 'Captain William Ogilvy of the Royal Navy, residing at Lindertis' subscribed to the fund for Forfarshire Volunteers in 1804, and bought a game license in 1805. In 1819 he became Baronet of Inverquharity following the deaths of his two elder brothers.
Chapel connection
1803 (baptism)
Married on
24 May 1802
Sarah Morley
John (17 March 1803, 9th Baronet of Inverquharity, MP for Dundee 1857-74), Charlotte (died at 25 Walker Street in 1897), Walter, Alexander Charles


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. London Packet, 5 June 1797
  4. Caledonian Mercury 7 February 1801, 6 December 1800

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