Noel, William (DNB00)

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NOEL, WILLIAM (1695–1762), judge, the younger son of Sir John Noel, bart., of Kirby-Mallory, Leicestershire, by his wife Mary, youngest daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Clobery, kt., of Bradstone, Devonshire, was born on 19 March 1695. He was educated at Lichfield grammar school, under the Rev. John Hunter (Works of Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, 1682, i. 8), and having been admitted a member of the Inner Temple on 12 Feb. 1716, was called to the bar on 25 June 1721. At a by-election in October 1722 he was returned to the House of Commons for the borough of Stamford, which he continued to represent until June 1747. He defended Richard Francklin, who was tried before Chief-justice Raymond in December 1731 for publishing a libel in the ‘Craftsman’ (Howell, State Trials, 1816, xvii. 662–3). He held the post of deputy-recorder of Stamford for some years, and in 1738 became a king's counsel and a bencher of the Inner Temple (28 April). On 11 Dec. 1746 he was appointed a member of the committee for preparing the articles of impeachment against Lord Lovat (Commons' Journals, xxv. 211), and during the trial in March 1747 replied to some objections which Lovat had raised in his defence (Howell, State Trials, xviii. 817–19). At the general election in July 1747 Noel was returned for the borough of West Looe, Cornwall, and on 25 Oct. 1749 was appointed chief justice of Chester (Thirty-first Annual Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, 1870, p. 227). He was again returned for West Looe at the general election in April 1754. Through Lord Hardwicke's influence Noel succeeded Thomas Birch as a justice of the common pleas in March 1757, when he retired from parliament, but retained the post of chief-justice of Chester (Harris, Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, 1847, iii. 110–11). On the accession of his nephew, Sir Edward Noel, bart., to the barony of Wentworth in 1745, Noel assumed the courtesy title of ‘honourable.’ He was never knighted. No speech of his is to be found in the ‘Parliamentary History,’ and but few of his judgments are reported. He is described by Horace Walpole as ‘a pompous man of little solidity,’ and he is held up to ridicule in ‘The Causidicade’ (1743, lines 95–106). Noel died on 8 Dec. 1762.

Noel married Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir Thomas Trollope, bart., of Casewick, Lincolnshire, by whom he had four daughters, viz. (1) Susannah Maria, who became the second wife of Thomas Hill of Tern Hall, Shropshire, and died on 14 Feb. 1760, aged 41. Their son, Noel Hill, was created Baron Berwick on 19 May 1784; (2) Anne, who died unmarried; (3) Frances, who married Bennet, third earl of Harborough, on 3 July 1757, and died on 13 Sept. 1760; and (4) Elizabeth.

[Foss's Judges of England, 1864, viii. 349–51; Martin's Masters of the Bench of the Inner Temple, 1883, p. 71; Nichols's Hist. of Leicestershire, 1811, vol. iv. pt. ii, pp. 767, 770, 772; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, vi. 102, viii. 660; Nichols's Illustrations of Literary History, ii. 34, iv. 498, vi. 311; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883, p. 578; Burke's Extinct Baronetage, 1844, p. 389; Gent. Mag. 1757 p. 338, 1760 pp. 103, 443, 1762 p. 600; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. pp. 53, 65, 76, 89, 99, 110; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ii. 387.]

G. F. R. B.