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James Edward Oglethorpe

general-james-oglethorpe.jpg (7405 bytes) James Edward Oglethorpe was christened at St.Martin's in the Fields in 1696 (before the construction of Trafalgar Square). Little is known of his childhood, although he attended Corpus Christi, Oxford from about the age of 18. He served in various capacities as a junior officer in the Army, and was then elected to his father's seat in Parliament (Haslemere, Surrey), where he got interested in the debtors' prisons, and the plight of the common seaman; he may have been a jacobite sympathiser, although his maiden speech was used to state the exact opposite. He as the founder of the colony of Georgia (USA), sustaining some personal debt as a result, and is the only colonial governor of that country never to have owned a single acre of it.

Upon return from Georgia, his time was shared between soldierly adventures in European armies, winters in London, summers at Cranham Hall (which he owned through  marriage to Elizabeth Wright), and writing provocative letters to the newspapers ! He was also Lord of the Manor at Cranham, and apparently took a rather old fashioned view of this role, fining people 6d. for not attending his twice yearly court ! Buried at the centre of the chancel of All Saints', Cranham, his bones narrowly escaped removal to Oglethorpe University, Georgia in the 1920s. In 1932 the General was featured on a postage stamp in the USA.

He has his own chapter in Tony Fox's and Jeff Kelsey's History of Cranham."

By: Tony Fox

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