Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Noel, Andrew

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NOEL, Sir ANDREW (d. 1607), sheriff of Rutland, was eldest son of Andrew Noel of Dalby-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Hopton of Hopton, Staffordshire, and widow of Sir John Perient. The father, Andrew, on the dissolution of the monasteries, obtained a grant of the manor and site of the preceptory of Dalby-on-the-Wolds, and of the manor of Purybeare, Staffordshire. He served as sheriff for Rutland three times under Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary and represented the county in the parliament of 1553. He died in 1562, and was succeeded at Dalby-on-the-Wolds, and Brooke, Rutland, by his son Andrew.

Andrew served three times as sheriff of Rutland (1587, 1595, and 1600), and represented the county of Rutland in three of Elizabeth's parliaments, viz. in 1586, 1588, and 1593. He was also elected to represent the county in Elizabeth's last parliament, in 1601. As sheriff at the time he made his own return. The return was accordingly questioned in the house by Serjeant Harris. Sir John Harington, Noel's colleague in the representation of the shire, affirmed 'of his own knowledge he knew [Noel] to be very unwilling; but the freeholders made answer they would have none other.' The house declared the return void (D'Ewes, Journals of Parliament, p. 625). Noel's son Edward was elected in his place (Parl. Papers, 1878; Return of Members, passim).

He was dubbed knight at Greenwich by Elizabeth on 2 March 1585 (Metcalfe, Knights, p. 136), and on 7 Feb. 1592 was included in a commission to inquire into the death of Everard Digby (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1592, p. 181; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. p. 150). He died on 19 Oct. 1607 at Brooke, his Rutland seat, and was buried at Dalby on 8 Dec. (Harl. Soc. iii. 3). Besides Brooke, he died seised of the manor of Broughton alias Nether Broughton, held of the king in capite by the service of one knight's fee (Exch. 5, Jac. I), and also of the manor and parsonage of Dalby-on-the-Wolds, and certain lands, part of possessions of the late dissolved Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 249). He also held lands in Stathern under lease from Queen Elizabeth, dated 11 May 1583 (ib. ii. 357). Sir Andrew married Mabel, daughter of Sir James Harrington of Exton, Rutland (she died on 21 Jan. 1603, and was buried at Dalby). By her he left four sons and three daughters: (1) Sir Edward [q. v.]; (2) Charles, died 1619, aged 28, unmarried, and buried at Brook; (3) Arthur, born 1598; (4) Alexander, born 1602, afterwards seated at Whitwell in Rutland, married to Mary, daughter of Thomas Palmer of Carlton, Northamptonshire, and father to Sir Andrew Noel of Whitwell.

Of the daughters, Lucy married William, lord Eure; Theodosia married Sir Edward Cecil, afterwards viscount Wimbledon (she died in Holland, and was buried in the collegiate church of Utrecht); Elizabeth married George, lord Audley in England and earl of Castlehaven in Ireland.

Sir Andrew is usually described as a courtier, but that designation belongs to his next younger brother, Henry Noel (d. 1597), 'one of the greatest gallants of those times,' who was a gentleman-pensioner of Queen Elizabeth. Fuller describes Henry (Worthies, p. 137) as 'for person, parentage, grace, gesture, valour, and many other excellent parts, among which skill in music, among the first rank at court.' 'Though his lands and livelihoods,' Fuller continues, 'were but small, having nothing known certain but his annuity and pension, yet in state pomp, magnificence, and expence he did equalize barons of great worth.' Elizabeth's displeasure at Henry Noel's extravagance led her, it is said, to compose the rebus:

The word of denial and letter of 50
Is that gentleman's name who will never be thrifty

(Walpole, Royal and Noble Authors, and Peck's notes on Shakespeare printed with his Life of Milton, p. 225; Nichols, Progresses of Elizabeth, ii. 452). On 11 July 1589 Henry Noel was granted lands to the yearly value of one hundred marks for the term of fifty years (Cal. Hatfield MSS. iii. 424). On 27 Sept. 1592 he was admitted M.A. at Oxford, on the occasion of the queen's visit (Wood, Fasti, i. 216). He died on 26 Feb. 1596-7 from a calenture or burning fever, due to over-violent exertion in a competition with an Italian gentleman at the game called balonne, 'a kind of play with a great ball tossed with wooden braces upon the arm.' By her majesty's appointment he was buried in Westminster Abbey, in the chapel of St. Andrew (Nichols, Leicestershire, ubi supra).

[For genealogy see Hill's Hist. of Market Harborough, p. 217; Dugdale's Baronage of England, ii. 430; Burke's Extinct Baronetage, 387; Collins's English Baronetage, iii. i. 93; Camden's Visitation of Leicester, 1619, in Harl. Soc. iii. 3; Nichols's Leicestershire, ii. 357, 114. iii. 249. The mistake in Burke's Baronetage and elsewhere of making Sir Andrew's mother his father's first wife is corrected in Camden's Visitation, and expressly in Collins's Baronetage. See also Burke's Commoners, iv. 173; Fuller's Worthies; Metcalfe's Book of Knights; Betham's Baronetage, i. 279, 465, ii. 44; Harl. Soc. ii. 3; Park's Topogr. and Natural Hist, of Hampstead, p. 117; Wood's Fasti Oxon.; Nichols's Progresses of Elizabeth; State Papers, Dom.; Hist. MSS. Comm. Reports; Return of Members of Parliament.]

W. A. S.