Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Noake, John

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1413965Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 41 — Noake, John1895William Prideaux Courtney

NOAKE, JOHN (1816–1894), antiquary, son of Thomas and Ann Noake, was born at Sherborne, Dorset, on 29 Nov. 1816, but came to Worcester in 1838 to work on ‘Berrow's Worcester Journal,’ and lived in that city until his death. He was afterwards engaged on the ‘Worcestershire Chronicle,’ and his last appointment was as sub-editor of the ‘Worcester Herald.’ About 1874 he severed his connection with the newspapers of the city, and devoted his energies to its municipal life and to the management of its principal institutions. He was in turn sheriff (1878), mayor and alderman (1879), and magistrate (1882) for Worcester. As mayor it fell to his lot to reopen the old Guildhall originally erected in 1721–3, which had been restored and enlarged at a cost of about 20,000l. For many years he was one of the honorary secretaries of the Worcester Diocesan Architectural and Archæological Society, and on his retirement in July 1892 he was presented with a handsome testimonial. He died at Worcester on 12 Sept. 1894, and was buried at the cemetery in Astwood Road on 15 Sept. He married, first, Miss Woodyatt of Ashperton, Herefordshire, by whom he had a son Charles, and a daughter, now Mrs. Badham; secondly, Miss Brown of Shrewsbury; thirdly, in 1873, Mrs. Stephens (d. 1893), widow of a Worcester merchant.

All the works of Noake related to his adopted county. They comprised:

  1. ‘The Rambler in Worcestershire; or Stray Notes on Churches and Congregations,’ 1848. It was followed by similar volumes in 1851 and 1854.
  2. ‘Worcester in Olden Times,’ 1849.
  3. ‘Notes and Queries for Worcestershire,’ 1856.
  4. ‘Monastery and Cathedral of Worcester,’ 1866.
  5. ‘Worcester Sects: a History of its Roman Catholics and Dissenters,’ 1861.
  6. ‘Guide to Worcestershire,’ 1868.
  7. ‘Worcestershire Relics,’ 1877.
  8. ‘Worcestershire Nuggets,’ 1889.

He contributed many papers on subjects of local interest to the ‘Transactions’ of the Worcester Architectural and Archæological Society, and of the Associated Architectural Societies. A careful examination and analysis of a mass of documents found by him in a chest in the tower of St. Swithin's Church at Worcester revealed much information on the history of the city.

[Berrow's Worcester Journal, 15 Sept. 1894; information from Mr. Charles Noake.]

W. P. C.