Noel, Thomas (DNB00)

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NOEL, THOMAS (1799–1861), poet, eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Noel, was born at Kirkby-Mallory on 11 May 1799. His father, who had been presented to the livings of Kirkby-Mallory and Elmsthorpe, both in Leicestershire, by his kinsman Thomas Noel, viscount Wentworth, in 1798, died at Plymouth on 22 Aug. 1854, at the age of seventy-nine. The son, who graduated B. A. from Merton College, Oxford, in 1824, issued in 1833 a series of stanzas upon proverbs and scriptural texts, entitled 'The Cottage Muse,' London (printed at Maidenhead), 8vo; and in 1841 'Village Verse' and 'Rymes and Roundelayes,' London, 8vo. The latter volume includes a version of the 'Rattower Legend,' the 'Poor Voter's Song,' the once well-known 'Pauper's Drive,' often wrongly attributed to Thomas Hood, and pretty verses on the scenery of the Thames. Noel lived for many years in great seclusion at Boyne Hill, near Maidenhead; but in the autumn of 1858 he went to live at Brighton, where he died on 16 May 1861. Miss Mitford corresponded with him frequently, although they never met. Among other friends were Thomas Vardon, the librarian of the House of Commons, and Lady Byron, the wife of the poet, who was a distant connection. By his wife Emily, youngest daughter of Captain Halliday of Ham Lodge, Twickenham, Noel left two children.

The 'Pauper's Drive' and 'A Thames Voyage' are quoted in extenso and justly praised by Miss Mitford in her 'Recollections of a Literary Life.' The former was set to music by Mr. Henry Russell in 1839. Noel also wrote the words of the familiar song 'Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep.'

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886; James Payn's Literary Recollections, pp. 87-92; Miss Mitford's Recollections of a Literary Life, 1 859, p.29; Gent. Mag 1854,i.215; Daily Telegraph, 30 June 1894; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. x. 285, 350, 453, 7th ser. xii. 486, 8th ser. i. 153, vi. 52, 150; private information.]

T. S.