Level (click link to browse related records)Collection
Acquisition TermsDeposited on indefinite loan : 22 September 1987
DescriptionIn 1987, the Noel family contacted the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland after a substantial number of long-forgotten records were found in rusty deed boxes in the stables and muniment room at Exton Hall in Rutland. These records, making up the bulk of the Noel family archives, were long thought to have vanished and were rumoured to have been destroyed in either one of two fires at Exton Old Hall in 1810 and 1916. The documents were more probably misplaced sometime during the twentieth century when the house was emptied for tenants following the consecutive deaths of the 3rd and 4th Earls in 1926 and 1927 (causing severe financial strain for the family and leaving the new Earl not yet four years old) or requisitioned by the Air Ministry during the Second World War.

After fumigation, the records were collected by the Record Office and emergency conservation work was undertaken on documents deemed most at risk of deterioration. The collection filled approximately 500 archive boxes and included over 200 maps, plans, volumes and other material too large to fit in the boxes.

The documents, which date back to the twelfth century, were created and collected by the Noel family in the course of building up and administering their estates, principally in Rutland, Gloucestershire, Kent and Middlesex. The collection includes material typical of family estate collections including manorial documents, deeds, rentals and other accounts, surveys, tenancy documents, correspondence and legal papers. Many records are of a more personal nature including papers relating to politics, offices, military or naval careers, business ventures and literary pursuits.

The Friends of the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland managed to obtain funding from the Leverhulme Trust to employ an archivist to work on the collection. However, due to a secondary deposit of records (which brought the total nearer to 700 archive boxes) and the nature of the funding available, work on the collection gradually came to a standstill.

In 2010, the Record Office was granted an award of £33,990 by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme in recognition of the importance of the collection. The grant funded a project entitled 'Rutland's Phoenix' to enable the Record Office to employ an archivist to complete the cataloguing of the collection and to make the catalogue available online (2011 - 2013).

Summary of the Catalogue Contents:
Manorial Records (DE3214/1-92)
Title Deeds (DE3214/93-4109)
Legal Papers (DE3214/4110-4522)
Estate Management: Exton Estate (DE3214/4523-8824)
Estate Management: Campden Estate, Gloucs. (DE3214/8825-9429)
Estate Management: Barham Court Estate, Kent (DE3214/9430-9650)
Estate Management: London Estate (DE3214/9651-9721)
Estate Management: Bath, Somerset (DE3214/9722-9746)
Estate Management: Walcot Noels' Estate (DE3214/9747-9864)
Estate Management: Edwards' Estate (DE3214/9865-9939)
Estate Charity Records (DE3214/9940-9986)
Estate School Records (DE3214/9987-10018)
Ecclesiastical Records (DE3214/10019-10119)
Family and Personal Papers (DE3214/10120-11441)
Business Records (DE3214/11442-11958)
Official Papers (DE3214/11959-12365)
Genealogical and Historical Papers (DE3214/12366-12584)
Printed and Pictorial Material of Unknown Origin (DE3214/12585-12637)
Date12th century - 20th century
Extentc.660 boxes, 35 volumes, 395 outsize items (maps, plans, repaired deeds, etc.)
ArrangementThis catalogue was produced with a grant from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme 2010.

FORMER (TEMPORARY) REFERENCE NUMBERS: During the course of cataloguing, documents were first assigned temporary numbers which were ultimately replaced with new (but similar) references when the collection was sorted into its final order. The temporary numbers have subsequently appeared in publications and been quoted in various sources. To avoid confusion, these numbers do not appear in this online catalogue. If you know or suspect you have a temporary number, the new reference can still be found via a search by entering the temporary number in AnyText (without any prefix 'temp' or 't', eg '131/34') and 'DE3214' in Ref. Please contact the Record Office if you have any difficulty in converting the numbers.

During the creation and storage of the records in the past, several different methods of ordering the collection had been used. This is evident through references made by several of the documents, as well as labels and endorsements on many of the documents. However, it is clear there was no overarching scheme and the arrangement had depended upon individual estate stewards to suit the circumstances of the estate at the time.

A draft classification scheme was used for many years whilst the collection was in the process of being catalogued (c.1990 - 2011). An alternative arrangement was created for the summary report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in 1997 (available from The National Archives website). Both were produced before the collection had been fully catalogued and consequently, neither scheme has been replicated in full, though both assisted in deciding the final arrangement.

The final arrangement of the collection takes into consideration both standard archival practice in arranging estate collections (see Philippa White, 'The arrangement of estate records', Journal of the Society of Archivists (Spring, 1992), p.1-8) and to the collection itself (in particular see DE3214/275 and DE3214/9585). This arrangement was designed to utilise the Record Office's cataloguing software (CALM) to enable the catalogue to be accessible online.

Standard practice denotes the first two sections as Manorial Records and Title Deeds, both of which are arranged by place (county, then parish). The administrative records are then arranged by estate: Exton (Rutland); Campden (Glos.); Barham Court (Kent); London; Bath (Somerset); Walcot (Northants.); and the Edwards Estate (Welham, Ketton and Ireland). Where records relate to more than one of the Noel estates, they are included in the principal (i.e. Exton) estate section. For ease of comparison, the estate sections have retained identical sub-series that cover all the administrative aspects of running an estate with a corresponding household at the centre. These include: Surveys, Valuations, Maps and Plans; Tenancy; Accounts; Employees; Reports; Estate Correspondence; Estate Farming; Building Repairs, Renovations and Land Improvements; Mineral Exploitation; Canal, Railway and Road Development; Game; Hunting; Wood; Park; Gardens; Local Involvement; and Household records. The estate section is then followed by Charity, School and Ecclesiastical records, covering all estates.

Family and Personal Records have been arranged separately, though in many cases estate and personal records (particularly accounts and correspondence) are indistinguishable. Within this section, correspondence is arranged in a roughly chronological order by recipient (family member). The next section covers Business records not directly related to the running of the estate, which consists of the banking and hotel ventures taken up by Gerard Noel Noel. Official papers relating to politics, public office and military posts are then listed. The section on Genealogical and Historical Papers covers records created and collected by the antiquiqarian Thomas Blore for his histories of the counties of Derbyshire and Rutland. The final section comprises of Printed and Pictorial Material.

In the process of cataloguing the collection at ROLLR, archivists working on the collection wrote an item level description of each record onto a 'pink slip', which were housed in eight custom made boxes. Prior to 2011, some (but not all) of these slips had been arranged into a provisional order. After the final classification scheme was drawn up in 2011, all the slips were placed into their final arrangement. These boxes, which represent the culmination of 25 years work on the collection, will continue to be retained by ROLLR.

Notes: The dating in this catalogue follows modern usage (i.e. Gregorian) for all dates. The regnal year of the monarch has been given where appropriate in the description of the document. Rents are given per annum unless otherwise stated. The spellings in this catalogue have been standardised to enable key-word searches to be successful. Where possible, the original spelling is followed by the standardised spelling in square brackets e.g. Hickes [Hicks]. This is particularly important for family names including Noel (variously spelt Nowell or Noell), Harrington (Harington) and Cheselden (Chiselden, Chiseldine, Cheseldyne, Chesilden, Chyselden, Chesildine, Chisselden, etc.). Names are given in full to avoid confusion over family members of the same name (e.g. Gerard Noel Noel as opposed to Gerard Thomas Noel or Gerard James Noel). In most cases, titles refer to the title given in the document, thus allowing the document to be dated with some accuracy (most particularly in the case of Gerard Noel Noel - see Family History).
Access StatusPART CLOSED

Administrative HistoryIt is thought that the Noel family originated in France with a man called Noel, who came over to England sometime after the Norman Conquest, perhaps around 1100. Noel became used as a surname by his son, Robert, using Fitz Noel (or Son of Noel) after his name. These early Noels settled in Staffordshire where for the next few hundred years they prospered by owning lands and holding public offices such as Justices of the Peace and Sheriffs.

Andrew Noel (d.1562) was the first Noel to have significant connections to Rutland, becoming Sheriff of Rutland around 1536 and M.P. for the county in 1553. Andrew was granted the Manor of Dalby in Leicestershire in 1544 and the Manor of Perry Barr in Staffordshire in 1546 [see DE3214/3796]. He purchased the Manor of Brooke in Rutland in 1548 and built a house there that became the Noel family's principal home for many years [DE3214/671]. Andrew married Dorothy Flower (d.1548), widow of Roger Flower of Whitwell and daughter of Richard Conyers of Blaston. The Noels of Kirby Mallory descended from their son, John Noel. After Dorothy's death, Andrew married Elizabeth Perient (née Hopton) around 1551 [DE3214/2245]. Elizabeth was a rich widow, whose first husband had also profited from the Dissolution [DE3214/363]. Towards the end of his life, Andrew became J.P. for both Leicestershire (1558/9) and Rutland (1561/2). After his death in 1562, Andrew's goods and chattels were valued at £459 7s, including plate worth £202 [DE3214/10125].

Andrew and Elizabeth's son Andrew Noel (d.1607) was Sheriff of Rutland three times and an M.P. during Queen Elizabeth's reign. Andrew was knighted by the Queen in 1585 and profited greatly from the courtly charms of his brother, Henry Noel (d.1596), who was one of Elizabeth's favourites. Like his father, Sir Andrew was J.P. for Rutland and in 1587 a number of examinations concerning witchcraft in Rutland were taken before Sir Andrew [DE3214/12254-12258]. Sir Andrew was also a Recusancy Commissioner and investigated cases of Catholic Recusancy in the 1590s, most notably that of the Digby family of Stoke Dry [DE3214/12282-12304]. In 1600, Sir Andrew purchased the Manor of Langham from Gregory Cromwell for £5,600 [DE3214/1319]. By the time of his death, an inventory reveals that his belongings were valued at £6,166 3s 6d [DE3214/10126]. The clue to the increased wealth of the family probably lies with the list of livestock in the inventory, especially the reference to fleeces.

Sir Andrew married Mabel Harrington (d.1603), the daughter of Sir James Harrington (d.1591) and his wife Lucy Sidney [DE3214/96]. It was through this marriage that the Noel family's connection with Exton began, as the Manor of Exton was then held by the Harrington Family. In 1573, Sir James Harrington's son and heir, John Harrington (d.1613) had married Anne Kelway (d.1620), the daughter of the lawyer Robert Kelway (d.1581), Surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries. John was made Lord Harrington of Exton by James I in 1603. The King greatly honoured Lord Harrington by giving him the charge of his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, who later married Frederick, King of Bohemia. Though Elizabeth is said to have visited Exton, she mainly stayed at Coombe Abbey, Lord Harrington's residence in Warwickshire. However, the charge severely strained the resources of Lord Harrington, whose debts grew as a consequence. Harrington's son and heir, John Harrington (d.c.1613), barely outlived his father and had no children himself. John sold the Manor of Exton before his death to Baptist Hicks (1551 - 1629), a wealthy London merchant. Hicks was already connected to the Noel family, for in 1605, Edward Noel (1582 - 1643), the son of Sir Andrew Noel and Mabel Harrington, had married Juliana Hicks (1585 - 1680), one of Baptist's daughters and co-heiresses [DE3214/2247/1-2]. Thus the Noel's connection to Exton was strengthened.

Baptist Hicks was a merchant dealing in rich fabrics such as taffeta who benefited from lending money to the king. Baptist acquired the Manor of Chipping Campden in 1609, beginning an enduring connection between the Noel family and Campden. Chipping Campden was a thriving Gloucestershire town, which had been granted a Charter of Incorporation by King James in June 1605 [DE3214/2980]. Here, Baptist built a grand mansion called Campden House, complete with two ornate banqueting houses and grand gardens typical of the period. Baptist also gave generously to the church and town of Campden, building almshouses (1612) and a market hall (1627), which are still standing today [DE3214/3001]. In 1609, Baptist also acquired lands in Kensington (Middlesex) where he built another grand mansion, also called Campden House, in 1612. By 1620, Baptist had added lands in Hampstead (Middlesex) and Whitwell (Rutland) to his landholdings [DE3214/2230]. James I made Baptist Hicks a Baronet in 1620 and Viscount Campden in 1628.

Edward Noel, twice Sheriff of Rutland, had been knighted in 1602 and made a Baronet in 1611. In 1614, he purchased the Manors of Ridlington and Lee (Leighfield), which included the Stewardship of the Forest of Rutland and the offices of Master Forester and Warden, Master Forester and Keeper of Ridlington Park and Master of the Game [DE3214/1978]. Consequently, Sir Edward was made Baron Noel of Ridlington in 1617. The shift of the focus of the Noel family to Rutland and Campden can be seen by the sale of the Manor of Dalby to the Duke of Buckingham in March 1617 for £27,000 [DE3214/2251-2252]. Upon Sir Baptist's death in 1629, Edward inherited his title of Viscount Campden. During the English Civil Wars, Edward fought for the Royalist side and died of natural causes in a garrison at Oxford in March 1643. Chipping Campden, situated between the Royalist strongholds of Worcester and Oxford and the Parliamentarian strongholds of Gloucester, Warwick and Coventry, could hardly avoid seeing action and in 1645 Hicks's grand Campden House was burnt to the ground, apparently by the Royalists in an act of self-defence [DE3214/2941]. The house was never re-built and all that remains today is a fragment of wall, the gates and the marvellous banqueting houses.

Edward and Juliana's son, Baptist Noel (1611 - 1682) also fought for the King during the Civil War. Having been captured by the Parliamentarians, he was fined £9,000 for his release in 1646. Baptist had been M.P. for Rutland at the time of the Short and Long Parliaments and later become Lord Lieutenant of the County. Baptist, who became 3rd Viscount Campden on his father's death in 1643, made four advantageous marriages. He married his first wife, Anne Fielding (d.1636), the daughter of William, Earl of Denbigh, in 1632 [DE3214/414]. His second wife, Anne Bouchier, was the daughter of Sir Robert Lovet and the widow of Edward, Earl of Bath [DE3214/10127 and DE3214/10132]. In 1639, after Anne's death, Baptist married Hester Wotton (d.1649) [DE3214/415 and DE3214/10107]. This marriage brought him substantial lands, including the estate of the dissolved monastery of St Augustine in Canterbury (Kent) and the Valle Crucis Abbey estate in Denbighshire (Wales) [DE3214/10107]. The marriage also produced a son and heir, Edward Noel (1641 - 1689). Baptist's fourth wife, whom he married in 1655, was Elizabeth Bertie (d.1683), the daughter of Montague, Earl of Lindsey [DE3214/416]. Their children included Baptist Noel of Luffenham (1658 - 1690), John Noel of Walcot (1659 - 1719) and Catherine Noel (d.1733).

In 1661, Baptist's son and heir Edward Noel married Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley (d.1680), the daughter and co-heiress of the Earl of Southampton [DE3214/109]. In 1667, Edward inherited the Manor of Titchfield in Hampshire by virtue of his wife and became Baron Noel of Titchfield in 1681. The following year, Edward became 3rd Baron Noel and 4th Viscount Campden upon his father's death in October. In December 1682, he was made 1st Earl of Gainsborough in recognition of the Noel family's loyalty to the crown. Edward, M.P. for Rutland between 1661 and 1679, was also Lord Lieutenant of Southampton (1676) and Rutland (1682), Warden of the New Forest (1676) and Governor of Portsmouth (1681) [DE3214/12314]. After Elizabeth's death, Edward married Mary Worsley (d.1693), the widow of Sir Robert Worsley and the daughter of James Herbert.

Edward and Elizabeth's son, Wriothesley Baptist Noel, 2nd Earl of Gainsborough (c.1661 - 1690), J.P. for Rutland from 1680 and M.P. for Hampshire from 1685, inherited the Earldom upon his father's death in April 1689, but died only the following year. Wriothesley was described as 'not very agreeable in shape, but in other respects valuable enough' (he was heir to around £10,000 a year). In 1687, he married Catherine Greville (d.1704), daughter of Fulke Greville, 5th Lord Brooke [DE3214/3655]. Upon his death, Wriothesley left two infant daughters, Elizabeth Noel (d.1737) and Rachel Noel (d.1709), as co-heiresses inheriting Titchfield among other properties. In 1704, Elizabeth married Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland (1682 - 1726) and Rachel married Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort (1684 - 1714) in 1706.

The Earldom, however, passed to Baptist Noel (1685 - 1714), 3rd Earl of Gainsborough, the son of Baptist Noel (1658 - 1690) who was the son of Baptist Noel, Viscount Campden and his fourth wife Elizabeth. The mother of the 3rd Earl was Susanna Fanshaw (d.1715), the daughter of Sir Thomas Fanshaw (1628 - 1705) of Jenkins in Barking (Essex) and a descendant of Paulus Ambrosius Crooke (d.1631) of London and Cottesmore (Rutland): through Susanna's marriage, the Noel family acquired the Manor of Cottesmore and Barrow [DE3214/742]. As the Earldom had descended upon a young boy or 'minor', this was potentially disastrous for the family. Susanna had to contend legal battles in her son's name over the will of the 2nd Earl and to act in his stead in all matters because Baptist could only begin to administer his estates in his own name when he reached his majority [DE3214/4466]. When he became of age, Baptist was able to take control and soon sold the Manor of Hampstead for £28,000 in 1707 [DE3214/3495]. Baptist married his cousin Lady Dorothy Manners (1681 - 1739), daughter of Catherine Noel (d.1733) and John Manners, 1st Duke of Rutland (1638 - 1711) [DE3214/126]. They had six children together. However, any stability was short lived, for Baptist the 3rd Earl died in 1714, leaving his eldest son, Baptist Noel, 4th Earl of Gainsborough (1708 - 1751), as Earl at the tender age of 5 years old. History was repeating itself.

The 4th Earl was, however, rather less conventional - and certainly more romantic - than his forebears in the choice of a wife. Baptist's cousin was Thomas ('Tom') Noel of Walcot (c.1704 - 1788), the son of John Noel of Walcot and Elizabeth Sherard (d.1747), widow of the 2nd Viscount Irvine. The story goes that the young cousins were walking in the park at Exton one day when they chanced upon a beautiful young woman called Elizabeth Chapman (1708 - 1771), the daughter of William Chapman, a yeoman living in Exton. Instantaneously, both young men fell in love with her, but it was Baptist who eventually won her as his bride and her humble background earned her the title of 'the Cottage Countess'. Nevertheless, after Baptist's death in 1756, Tom, who had remained a bachelor, finally won his prize and married Elizabeth himself. Both Elizabeth's marriages appear to have been happy ones and her first marriage produced thirteen children including Elizabeth 'Betty' (1731 - 1801), Jane (1733 - 1811), Juliana (1735 - 1760), Anne (1737 - 1825), Lucy (1741 - 1759), Mary (1744 - 1821) and Sophia (b.1750).

This must have been a lively time at Exton, for the 4th Earl was a great patron of the arts, especially music. Handel is known to have visited Exton Park at least once and, though there are no definite records of these occasions in the collection, some of the bills for copies of Handel's music still survive, one signed by Handel's amanuensis, Christopher Smith [DE3214/10351]. Meanwhile, Tom Noel, who had inherited the Walcot Estate (Lincs.) from his brother John in 1728, became involved in politics and was Whig M.P. for Rutland between 1728 and 1741, returning again in 1753 [DE3214/11960]. Tom founded what became known as the Cottesmore Hunt, one of the oldest hunts in England and in 1732 published one of the first books on hunting. The early packs were housed at Exton until 1788 when the hounds were sold for 1,020 guineas to Sir William Lowther (later Earl of Lonsdale), who took them to Cottesmore [DE3214/10531].

For the Noel family of Exton, however, the idyllic times lasted only a short time. Baptist died in 1751 in his early 40s and was buried at Exton with much pomp and ceremony [DE3214/10185]. He left his 11 year old son, Baptist Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough (1740 - 1759), as heir to the estate and title. The 5th Earl died abroad in Geneva before his twentieth birthday, probably on his Grand Tour, then a requisite for any young gentleman of good fortune [DE3214/10189]. With no direct male heirs, the title and estate passed to his younger brother Henry Noel, 6th Earl of Gainsborough (1743 - 1798). Henry, who had been educated at Eton, went up to King's College, Cambridge [DE3214/10190-10192].

Henry shared a love of botany with his sister Elizabeth and bought many exotic trees and plants [DE3214/5859, DE3214/10494 and DE3214/10492]. A hot house was built at Exton and furnished with 300 pots purchased from Nottingham [DE3214/5795]. In 1788, the Earl was made one of the first Honorary Members of the Linnean Society (formed earlier that year). The 6th Earl was also interested in navigation and sailing: a boat was brought from London to Stamford via Spalding in the 1760s to sail upon the lake in Exton Park [DE3214/5714]. In the late 1780s, Henry was responsible for building the mock gothic fort designed by William Legg of Stamford by the lake in Exton Park that became known as Fort Henry [DE3214/6037, DE3214/6033 and DE3214/6036]. The total cost of construction was £1,426 4s 5d.

Henry, however, never married. His lack of direct male heirs meant that the Earldom died out when Henry died in 1798. The Gainsborough estates were inherited by his nephew, Gerard Noel Edwards (1759 - 1838), who was the son of Henry's sister Jane and Gerard Anne Edwards (1732 - 1773). Gerard Noel Edwards had to change his name to Noel upon his inheritance and thus became Gerard Noel Noel: his children also took the name of Noel in place of Edwards [DE3214/11299]. Gerard Noel's great-grandfather was Francis Edwards (1668 - 1729) of Welham in Leicestershire, a rich and enterprising land owner. The son of Dr Robert Edwards, Vicar of Kibworth (Leics.), Francis also inherited estates from his uncle William Edwards, a wealthy London merchant and alderman. Francis married Anna Margaretta Vernatti (1684 - 1765), a descendant of the Dutch Vernatti family who had made a fortune by draining the Lincolnshire fens in the early 17th century. Francis Edwards inherited and bought extensive lands in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, London, Middlesex and Ireland. He also bought numerous shares in the New River Company [DE3214/4054].

Francis and Anna had one child, Mary Edwards (1705 - 1743). After the death of her father in 1729, Mary became an immensely profitable prize in the marriage market and caught the eye of a young gentleman called Lord Anne Hamilton (1709 - 1748). Lord Anne, whose unusual name derived from his Godmother Queen Anne, was the son of James, 4th Duke of Hamilton (d.1712) and his wife Elizabeth (d.1744), the daughter of Digby, 4th Lord Gerard (1662 - 1684). It is doubtful whether Mary and Lord Anne ever married, but they lived together as a couple and Mary gave birth to a son, named Gerard Anne, in 1732. Soon after, it became clear that Lord Anne was rapidly going through Mary's fortune and they separated. Mary, who refuted that any marriage had taken place, fought hard to ensure that her inheritance would be secure for her son. However, Mary died in 1743, aged only 38, and was buried at Welham with her father. Mary had provided well for the maintenance of her son during his minority and stipulated the type of education he was to receive. Gerard Anne was brought up in London by his maternal relatives, but he also became associated with the Noel family living at Exton where he met and fell in love with Lady Jane Noel. They married shortly after he came of age in 1753, settling in Tickencote (Rutland) near Jane's family, where they were to have four children: three girls and one son, Gerard Noel [DE3214/10461].

As Gerard Noel Edwards' father died when he was fourteen and his uncle Henry remained childless, it was perhaps natural that his life should gravitate around Exton. When he was sixteen he went up to St John's College, Cambridge and became associated with some up and coming young men, including a young Yorkshireman called William Wilberforce. However, these were troubled times and Gerard Noel soon became involved in the defence of the country against the French, joining the Rutland Militia in 1778. It was as a Captain in the Militia that he found himself in Maidstone (Kent) where he became associated with the Middleton family.

The Middletons had a strong Scottish background: Robert Middleton, Collector of the Customs at Alloway (Ayrshire), was the son of George Middleton D.D. (d.1726) and grandson of Alexander Middleton D.D. (d.1684), who were successive principals of King's College, Aberdeen. Robert's youngest son, Charles Middleton (1726 - 1813), however, embarked on a naval career. Starting as a Captain's servant in 1741, he gradually progressed through the ranks, rising to the rank of Admiral in 1795 and becoming First Lord of the Admiralty in 1805, shortly before the famous Battle of Trafalgar in October that year. In 1761, Charles Middleton married Margaret Gambier (d.1792), the daughter of James Gambier. Charles and Margaret settled in Kent, where they were invited to live with Margaret's friend, Elizabeth Bouverie at Teston House, which she had inherited from her cousin, Sir Philip Boteler [DE3214/3296]. Charles and Margaret had one child, a daughter called Diana Middleton (1762 - 1823). The Middletons were of an Evangelical persuasion and eagerly took up the cause of James Ramsay, a former surgeon who was a slavery abolitionist and they strongly supported Gerard's friend Wilberforce in his anti-slavery campaign [DE3214/11414-11422]. When Elizabeth died in 1799, she bequeathed the house, which became known as Barham Court (reverting back to an earlier name) and estate to the Middletons. Charles Middleton, who had been created a baronet in 1781, was made Baron Barham in 1805.

In 1780, just after his 21st birthday, Gerard married Diana Middleton, who was then only eighteen. Over the next twenty-one years, Diana gave birth to eighteen children. A long poem written by Gerard in 1812 describes his children in turn [DE3214/10339]. Charles Noel (1781 - 1866), his son and heir was 'the Hero that opens the play'; Gerard Thomas (1782 - 1851), 'a worthy divine', became Vicar of Rainham (Essex) and Romsey (Hamps.); Louisa Elizabeth (1786 - 1816), 'like an angel on earth', married William Henry Hoare in 1807 [DE3214/11217]; Emma (1788 - 1873) who married Stafford O'Brien of Blatherwycke Park in 1808 had 'sweetness and mirth on her brow'; William Middleton (1789 - 1859) was a 'banker, sportsman, in one'; Frederick (1790 - 1833), 'born to live on the Ocean', became a Captain in the Navy; Charlotte Margaret (1792 - 1869) 'full of pastoral charms, Whom the cottage delights, but whom bustle alarms' married Thomas Welman in 1813; Francis James (1793 - 1854), 'bound firm to the Church', became Vicar of Teston and Nettlestead in 1820; Berkeley Octavius (1794 - 1841) 'like his elegant sire', married Letitia Penelope Adderley and died in Brussels in 1841 [DE3214/10144/1-8]; Augusta (1796 - 1833) who possessed 'great musical taste', married Thomas G. Babington (d.1871) of Rothley Temple (Leics.) in 1814; Leland (1797 - 1870) with his 'good-natured eye' was to become Vicar of Campden before becoming Vicar of Exton; Baptist Wriothesley (1798 - 1873) 'like Caesar of old', became a famous Evangelical preacher and Baptist minister; Juliana 'Julia' Hicks (1800 - 1855) 'the picture of innocence' in 1812, married Rev. Samuel Phillips in 1834 after years of family opposition [DE3214/10737]; and Edward Andrew (1801 - 1823), who was 'old in good sense but a youngster in years'. The children missing from the poem were Sophia (1787 - 1787) and Arthur Anne (1791 - 1792), who died as infants and Horatio (1783 - 1807) and Henry Robert (1784 - 1800) who both died abroad. Horatio was a soldier who died of a fever in the West Indies and Henry was a midshipman in the Navy who died at sea.

After his marriage, Gerard Noel became involved in local politics. He became M.P. for Maidstone in 1784 (succeeding his uncle Sir Horatio Mann (d.1814), widower of Lady Lucy Noel). As a M.P., he corresponded with William Bishop, whose brother George ran a distillery producing a strong spirit named Maidstone Geneva and their letters give accounts of foreign trade and skirmishes with smugglers [DE3214/12172-12187]. When Tom Noel died in 1788, Gerard gave up his Maidstone seat and became M.P. for Rutland. However, by the end of the eighteenth century, England was again at war with France and Gerard was posted with his battalion to the south coast. In 1794, in response to a national call, Gerard raised and became a Colonel in the Rutland Fencible Cavalry. For his new regiment, he built the large Riding School directly opposite to his house, Catmose Lodge in Oakham [DE3214/12332-12335]. His uncle Henry described it as 'madness' [DE3214/10479]. The Rutland Fencibles, who were stationed at Brighton (1794), St Albans (1795), Montrose (1796), Aberdeen (1797) and Perth (1798), were disbanded in 1800, a year after Gerard had resigned from his position. Not one to keep still, Gerard became Lieutenant Colonel of the Rutland Volunteer Infantry, which was finally disbanded in 1810.

Gerard briefly vacated his seat as M.P. for Rutland for his son between 1808 and 1814, when he tried - and failed - to become M.P. for Stamford, being opposed to the custom of bull running there [DE3214/12105]. Part of his election campaign involved building a large hotel designed by John Linnell Bond opposite St Mary's church in Stamford: an ambitious project which was ultimately unsuccessful. The hotel was eventually leased to Thomas Standwell in 1825 and sold by the family in 1845 [DE3214/11951-11958]. Another aspect of Gerard's campaign came in the form of his involvement with the Melton Mowbray Navigation and the Oakham to Stamford Canal [DE3214/8240-8284]. One of Gerard's allies at this time was the historian and antiquitarian Thomas Blore, to whom Gerard became a patron, granting him access to the Noel family records. In 1811, Blore published the first part of his 'History and Antiquities of the County of Rutland', illustrated by his antiquitarian artist and architect son Edward Blore, dedicating the work to Gerard. However, Blore died in 1818 and his history was never fully published. The Noels, however, kept many of his copious notes [DE3214/11402/2 and DE3214/12366-12584].

In 1810, Gerard retired from a disastrous venture into business [DE3214/11486]. The London and Middlesex Bank had been formed in 1792 between Gerard Noel Edwards, Nathaniel Middleton, Richard Johnson, George Templer, Samuel Smith and John Wedgwood (the son of Josiah Wedgwood, the potter). By 1800, Smith had died and the bank was in severe financial difficulty. Francis Rawdon, the Earl of Moira, was one of their conspicuous clients whose adverse financial situation 'allegedly provoked, inadvertently, a financial scandal and the ruin of Sir Gerard Noel's bank'. In September 1803, the bank was dissolved and reformed with Alexander Davison as Davison & Co.. However, things soon got worse: Johnson retired in 1805 and died insolvent in 1807, Middleton also died in 1807 and Davison was found guilty of false accounting and profiteering in his post as a government contractor in 1808. Upon Gerard's retirement, the baton was passed to his son William Middleton and a new banking partnership was formed. This bank limped to its final failure in August 1816 and the business was transferred to Coutts & Co.. Chancery court cases regarding the bank dragged on for many more years. As William Redifer, the family solicitor, wrote in 1816, the 'detestable bank' had 'been the source of so much Evil to the whole Family' [DE3214/4259].

1810 was indeed an annus horribilis for the Noels. In the early hours of 23rd May 1810, it was discovered that Exton Hall was on fire [DE3214/6786]. Sir Charles Anderson later attributed the fire to the 'carelessness' of Gerard Noel 'leaving a lighted candle amongst his papers' [DE3214/10370]. The Old Hall, as it became known, was never rebuilt. It is thought that the family moved into a late seventeenth-century house nearby, to which the architect John Linnell Bond made several alterations in 1811. Financial problems, however, prevented any extensive changes and after the fire the family appear to have lived mainly at their London house in Cavendish Square [DE3214/10370]. Nevertheless, enough of the Old Hall remained for parts of it to continue to be used as living and even cooking quarters: a newspaper cutting described the tenants' dinner for 1833 being held in the remains of the 'long neglected' hall, then in a 'comparative state of decay and desertion… more than one half of the fine old Elizabethan structure' having fallen as 'a sacrifice to the flames' [DE3214/4915].

Gerard, who was Sheriff of Rutland between 1812 and 1813, became a baronet in 1813 upon the death of his father-in-law, Charles Middleton. His wife, however, inherited Lord Barham's title, becoming Baroness Barham in her own right [DE3214/10393]. By this time their relationship had become strained and they had separated: eighteen children, endless madcap causes, dwindling resources and widening religious differences made this move, perhaps, unsurprising. Furthermore, sometime around 1811, Harriet Gill (d.1826), the 'very pretty' daughter of the Rev. Joseph Gill (then Vicar of Exton) formed an 'unfortunate attachment' to Gerard [DE3214/10744 and DE3214/10939]. Later that year, Harriet and Gerard's daughter, Harriet Jane Noel (b.1812), was born.

By this time, Gerard's financial situation was growing increasingly serious. Endless legal papers testify to the situation Gerard now found himself in as the family fought to save themselves from immediate ruin. In 1815, there was even talk of selling Exton Park for £300,000 to the Duke of Wellington, whose success at Waterloo had been well rewarded by a grateful nation [DE3214/4278-4294]. Such plans fell through. The family solicitor, William Leake, devised a scheme to save the estate by putting the administration into the hands of select trustees. The affair, however, caused much discord in the family, particularly between Sir Gerard and his son and heir Charles [DE3214/4284]. Gerard, however, remained politically active and supported both Queen Caroline, the estranged wife of the Prince Regent, and the eccentric 'Princess Olive' (Mrs Olivia Serres), who falsely claimed she was the daughter of the Duke of Cumberland [DE3214/11062 and DE3214/10951].

During the 1820s and 1830s, Sir Gerard became increasingly involved in promoting agricultural improvements, predominantly by supporting the work of his estate steward, Richard Westbrook Baker, who had worked on the Exton estate since 1812. Baker, who became the estate steward in 1828, was quite a pioneer in the agricultural world. He helped to found the Rutland Agricultural Society and instigated the Rutland General Friendly Institution, the Rutland Farmers and Graziers' Club, the Agricultural Hall at Oakham and the Small Allotment Scheme. Baker also built a brewery at Langham (taken over by Ruddles in the early 20th century), invented the 'Rutland Plough' and was a renowned stock breeder, particularly of shorthorn cattle. Baker remained the family steward until his death in 1861 [DE3214/7196].

In 1831- at the age of 72 - Sir Gerard married his third wife, Isabella Evans Raymond (1793 - 1867). Sir Gerard died in 1838, leaving under £18,000 in his will. He had never managed to secure for himself the title of Earl of Gainsborough, though it is evident he longed for the title. His father-in-law, Charles Middleton wished 'to leave a peerage in the family' and wrote to Charles Noel that 'your Father has missed it and I must endeavour to repair his ill judged conduct' [DE3214/11181]. After his mother's death, Charles inherited Middleton's title of Lord Barham. Eventually, however, the coveted title of Earl of Gainsborough was bestowed upon Charles Noel in 1841 [DE3214/10394].

Charles was educated at Langley, Kent, before going to college in Edinburgh and onto Trinity College, Cambridge, finishing off his education with an extensive foreign tour [DE3214/10592-10603]. Like his father, Charles was drawn into the military, being a Cornet in the Rutland Fencibles (1796 - 1798), a captain in the Rutland Voluntary Infantry (1803 - 1804) and a Cornet in the Rutland Yeomanry (1804). Likewise, he was M.P. for Rutland between 1808 and 1814. Charles' first wife was Elizabeth 'Bessy' Welman (d.1811), daughter of Thomas Welman of Poundsford Park, Somerset, who died within three years of their marriage. In 1817, Charles married Elizabeth Grey (c.1800 - 1818), the daughter of Sir George Grey and niece of the Whig Prime Minister Charles, Earl Grey. She died only two weeks after giving birth to their son and heir Charles George Noel (1818 - 1881). Charles' third wife, whom he married in 1820, was Arabella Hamlyn Williams (d.1829), daughter of Sir James Hamlyn Williams of Clovelly. They had four children: Gerard James Noel (1823 - 1911), who became J.P. and M.P. for Rutland, living at Catmose Lodge in Oakham with his wife Augusta Mary Lowther (d.1916); Henry Lewis Noel (1824 - 1898), who became involved in the running of the Noel estates; Mary Arabella 'Louisa' Noel (1822 - 1883), who married Sir Andrew Agnew in 1846 and for whose wedding the fairy bark temple was built near Fort Henry in Exton Park [DE3214/10269]; and Catherine Hamilton Noel (1829 - 1855) who married Sir James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk (d.1905) in 1849. Charles' fourth wife, whom he married in 1833, was Lady Frances Jocelyn (d.1885), the daughter of Robert Jocelyn, 3rd Earl of Roden (1788 - 1870) and a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria [DE3214/11291]. They had two children: Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel (1834-1894), the poet and essayist and Victoria (d.1916) who married Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1837 - 1915).

Despite Leake's efforts to save the estate, the situation was still very serious. A letter addressed to George Loch, the estate auditor, during the 1840s advised that 'nothing but a general and decided retrenchment of expenditure on the part of every one concerned can save this family from immediate ruin' [DE3214/6899-6965]. During the nineteenth century, the lands and estates of the Noel family - including the former Edwards' estates in Ireland and in Welham - were gradually sold off [DE3214/7199]. Running three estates centred on Exton, Campden and Barham Court was too much for the strained resources and in 1846 the Barham Court Estate was sold [DE3214/9461-9496].

Charles was, however, to be a great builder. Exton Hall, which had remained in a burnt out state since the fire of 1810, was described in 1829 as 'a complete picture of desolation'. Charles had great plans for a new hall at Exton. Some rough sketches of a proposed house - never built - seem to incorporate aspects from the Old Hall [DE3214/8643/1-22]. Charles eventually employed the architect Henry Roberts in the 1850s to radically enlarge the late seventeenth-century house into what is known today as Exton Hall, leaving the Old Hall to decay into a fashionable ruin in the gardens [DE3214/8631]. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Barham Court went upon converting Old Combe Farm in Chipping Campden into a suitable country residence for Charles' son, Charles George, who was made Viscount Campden when his father was created Earl of Gainsborough [DE3214/9306/8].

In 1841, Charles George Noel had married Lady Ida Harriet Augusta Hay (1820 - 1867), the daughter of William George, 18th Earl of Erroll (1801 - 1846) and Elizabeth FitzClarence (d.1856), who was the natural daughter of William IV (when he was Duke of Clarence) and his mistress Mrs Jordan. Lady Ida had been a bridesmaid to Queen Victoria upon her marriage to Albert in 1840. Charles and Ida had five children: Charles William Francis Noel (1850 - 1926), their eldest son and heir; Edward Noel (1852 - 1917), who went into the military; Blanche Elizabeth Mary Annunciata Noel (1845 - 1881), a godchild of Queen Victoria who married the family organist Thomas P. Murphy (d.1890) in 1870 and emigrated to America; Constance Julia Eleanor Georgiana Noel (1847 - 1891) who married Sir Alan Henry Bellingham (1846 - 1921) of Castle Bellingham, Co. Louth (a Private Chamberlain to Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII and Pius X); and Edith Horatia Emma Frances Noel (d.1890), who became a nun.

After their marriage, Charles George and Ida spent many years abroad. This probably greatly influenced their decision to convert to Catholicism in 1851, which was a highly controversial and unconventional step at that time, particularly regarding the emphasis on Evangelicalism in Charles George's family and the fact that three of his uncles were Anglican clergymen. Charles George's father wrote to the estate steward in 1851 that 'I am sure you will feel much for the anxiety we have suffered at this sad defection' [DE3214/7157]. Having moved into Campden House, Charles George swiftly converted the chapel to accommodate their Catholicism. However, the 'defection' did not divide the family and upon his father's death in 1866, Charles George inherited both the estate and title. In the 1860s, a Catholic Chapel at Exton Hall was designed by the architect by Charles Alban Buckler, a likeminded convert to the Roman Church [DE3214/10037]. The first stone was laid on 29th December 1867 by the Bishop of Nottingham and the chapel was dedicated to John Fisher and Thomas More [DE3214/10312]. Charles and Ida also encouraged the growth of Catholic schools and charities at both Campden and Exton [DE3214/10037-10038 and DE3214/11384].

However, despite the enthusiasm which Charles George and Ida undertook their building projects, the financial situation was still perilous. Consequently, much (though not all) of the Campden estate was sold [DE3214/8843]. In 1863, Campden House was let out and the family travelled abroad, Ida and her daughters only returning to England in 1867 [DE3214/8879, DE3214/10246, DE3214/10248 and DE3214/10312]. Extensive lands in Pickwell (Leics.) and Whissendine (Rutland) were sold in 1868, paying off several mortgages [DE3214/352 and DE3214/4716]. The following year, much of the estate around Charringworth in Gloucestershire was sold [DE3214/353 and DE3214/8848]. By 1872, the Noel's house in Cavendish Square was also let [DE3214/9685]. In 1882, lands were sold in Uppingham (including the Falcon Hotel), Bisbrooke, Barrowden, Edith Weston and Oakham (Rutland) and Southorpe (Northants.) [DE3214/4726].

Charles George, following in the footsteps of his ancestors, was M.P. for Rutland between 1840 and 1841, High Sheriff of Rutland in 1848 and Lord Lieutenant of Rutland. Similarly, Charles George and his sons Charles William and Edward (who were both educated at St Mary's College in Oscott) were all involved in the military at some point in their lives [DE3214/10292-10294]. Charles George founded the Gloucestershire Volunteers (the Gloucestershire Rifle Regiment K Company) in the 1850s and in November 1873, he was commissioned as Major in the Volunteer Forces (1st Administrative Battalion, Gloucestershire Rifles) [DE3214/12357]. Edward served in the Ashanti War (1873 - 1874), the Jowaki Expedition (1877 - 1878) and the Burmese War (1885 - 1887). Charles William Francis was a Lieutenant in the 10th Hussars, serving his regiment in England and India (1871 - 1876) [DE3214/12351- 12353]. In letters to his father, Charles William describes his passage out on the troopship Jumna, a march from Allahabad to Muttra, seeing the Taj Mahal, visiting Umballa and Simla as well as their camp entertainments and his 'garden' [DE3214/11358]. Charles William Francis, like his ancestor Henry the 6th Earl, was a very keen botanist, a trait inherited from his father, Charles George and shared by his sister Blanche.

Charles William Francis was described as 'every inch a gentleman', devoting his life to the estates after the death of his father in 1881. His first wife was Augusta Berkeley (d.1877), whom he married in 1876 after his return from India. Their happiness was short lived, for Augusta died soon after the birth of their first child, Agnes Mary Catherine Noel (1877 - 1915) [DE3214/11360]. Charles William's second wife was Mary Dease (1855 - 1937), whom he married in 1880. Mary came from a long-established Irish Catholic family and they had five children together: Norah Ida Emily Noel (1881 - 1939), a talented musician, who married Capt. Count Robert Charles Bentinck (d.1932); Clare Mary Charlotte Noel (1882 - 1962), who married Capt. Charles Mervyn King in 1907; Arthur Edward Noel (1884 - 1927), their son and heir; Charles Hubert Francis Noel (1885 - 1947), who continued the family connection to the military, becoming a Major in the Coldstream Guards; and Robert Edmund Thomas More Noel (1888 - 1918), who was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge [DE3214/586/1].

Charles William Francis was Chairman of Rutland County Council and Gloucestershire County Council and a J.P. for Rutland, as well as for Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. However, like his father, the Earl and his family also spent extensive periods abroad whilst Exton Hall was let to tenants. The Earl's eldest son and heir, Arthur Edward, who attended Exeter College, Oxford, became attaché for the Diplomatic Service (1908 - 1914) and was a Privy Chamberlain to Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI. Following in ancestor's footsteps, he was later J.P. for Rutland. Arthur Edward also became President of the Amateur Gymnastic Association and Vice President of the British Olympic Association [DE3214/10182].

During the First World War, the Earl's youngest son Robert and his nephews Lieutenant Maurice Dease V.C. (1889 - 1914) and Capt. Robert Charles Noel Bellingham (1884 - 1915) died whilst on active service [DE3214/11405]. Maurice Dease of 4th Battalian, Royal Fusiliers, who died on 23rd August 1914, was one of the first British officer battle casualties and the first posthumous recipient of the V.C. of the First World War. Arthur Edward Noel served for five months in the trenches as a Major in the Gloucestershire Territorial Regiment, before being invalided out of the army after a gas attack in France in 1915: he and his brother Charles Hubert Francis were awarded OBEs in 1919 [DE3214/10182 and DE3214/12324]. Capt. Robert Noel, 6th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, served in the Southern Nigeria Police Force in Lagos, West Africa and died on 2nd February 1918 aged 29 at Massassi after contracting dysentery and malaria. He was buried at the Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery. During the dark days of war, the Earl's eldest daughter Agnes also died suddenly of appendicitis in 1915 aged only 37. These dark years, Horwood wrote, took 'their toll' on the Earl's 'health and strength'.

The trials suffered by the family at this time were not only personal, for the war changed the face of the world as well as the nature of landed estates, not least by the decimation of the male workforce. In 1925 and 1926, much of the Gainsborough estate - an estimated 6,000 acres - was sold [DE3214/4729-4732]. A newspaper cutting of the time stated that the family 'regretted the severance of very long associations which had existed from generation to generation, and nothing but dire necessity made them sell' [DE3214/4731]. Many of the properties were bought by the tenants in private arrangements: the rest was sold at auction [DE3214/4731]. Barnsdale Hall was sold in 1926 and Cottesmore Hall was sold to the Earl's cousin Lady Bute in 1927, only to burn down the following year [DE3214/4713]. Campden House and surrounding properties in Gloucestershire were also sold in the late 1920s.

Charles William Francis died in 1926, only to be followed a year later by his son and heir, Arthur Edward, the 4th Earl of Gainsborough. Arthur Edward, who had married Alice Mary Eyre (1886 - 1970) in November 1915, left three small children at the time of his death: their youngest son Gerard Eyre Wriothesley Noel (b.1926) was not yet one; Maureen Therese Josephine Noel (1917 - 2009) was the eldest at ten years old; and Anthony Gerard Edward Noel (1923 - 2009), the 5th Earl of Gainsborough, was not yet four. Two deaths in a row caused severe financial strain, exacerbated by onerous death duties. Consequently, the management of the estates was taken over by a professional firm of agents, Messrs Burd & Evans. Exton Hall was let to Sir Victor Warrender, Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household, in the 1930s whilst the family lived in London.

During the Second World War, the hall was requisitioned by the Air Ministry, becoming Wing HQ. Exton Hall was then occupied until 1953 by the Assumption Nuns as a girls' boarding school. From 1948, part of Exton Park was quarried for iron ore by the United Steel Companies (later British Steel) and an extensive standard gauge tramway was laid to transport the iron ore [DE3214/8218]. The last train left in May 1973 and by 1975, most of the mining accoutrements had been cleared. When the 5th Earl of Gainsborough moved back to Exton, after the upheavals of the twentieth century, he managed to get the estate going once again. Like his grandfather, Anthony Gerard Edward became Chairman of Rutland County Council and demonstrated his support for the county. Today, there are still Noels living in Chipping Campden and Exton Hall continues to be the home of the Noel family, Earls of Gainsborough and Viscounts Campden, continuing a long line of centuries of unbroken tradition.

Viscounts Campden
Created 1620
Baptist Hicks, 1st Viscount Campden (1551 - 1629)
Edward Noel, 2nd Viscount Campden (1582 - 1643)
Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount Campden (1611 - 1682)
Edward Noel, 4th Viscount Campden (1641 - 1689)
When Edward Noel became the Earl of Gainsborough, the Viscountcy thereafter became the title of the Earl's eldest son and heir.

Earls of Gainsborough (1st Creation)
Created 1682
Edward Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough (1641 - 1689)
Wriothesley Baptist Noel, 2nd Earl of Gainsborough (c.1661 - 1690)
Baptist Noel, 3rd Earl of Gainsborough (1685 - 1714)
Baptist Noel, 4th Earl of Gainsborough (1708 - 1751)
Baptist Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough (1740 - 1759)
Henry Noel, 6th Earl of Gainsborough (1743 - 1798)

Created 1781
Sir Charles Middleton, 1st Baronet (1726 - 1813)
Sir Gerard Noel Noel (née Edwards) (1759 - 1838)
Charles Noel Noel (née Edwards) (1781 - 1866)

Barons Barham
Created 1805
Charles Middleton, 1st Baron Barham (1726 - 1813)
Diana Noel (née Middleton), 2nd Baroness Barham (1762 - 1823)
Charles Noel Noel, 3rd Baron Barham (1781 - 1866)

Earls of Gainsborough (2nd Creation)
Created 1841
Charles Noel Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough (1781 - 1866)
Charles George Noel, 2nd Earl of Gainsborough (1818 - 1881)
Charles William Francis Noel, 3rd Earl of Gainsborough (1850 - 1926)
Arthur Edward Noel, 4th Earl of Gainsborough (1884 - 1927)
Anthony Gerard Edward Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough (1923 - 2009)
Anthony Baptist Noel, 6th Earl of Gainsborough (b.1950)

Select Bibliography

Bindoff, S. T. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558' (London, 1982).

Burke, Bernard, 'A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage', 53rd edition (London, 1891).

Burke, Bernard, 'A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire' (London, 1856).

Burke, Bernard, 'A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England' (London, 1864).

Campden And District Historical and Archaeological Society, 'Campden: A New History' (Campden, 2005).

Carter, Leonard and Anthony Squires, 'The Historic Parks and Gardens of Leicestershire and Rutland' (Leicester, 1997).

Clark, Jenny, 'Exton and the Noel Family', 'Rutland Record 19' (1999), p.382-399.

Clark, Jenny, 'Family Annals: The Exton Manuscripts', 'Rutland Record 13' (1993), p.118-124.

Doe, Vanessa, 'Richard Westbrook Baker (1797 - 1861)', 'Rutland Local History and Record Society Newsletter 1/11' (April, 2011), p.11-15.

Fisher, D. R. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820 - 1832' (Cambridge, 2009).

Hasler, P.W. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603' (London, 1981).

Henning, B.D. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690' (London, 1983).

Horwood, Arthur Reginald and Charles William Francis Noel, 'The Flora of Leicestershire and Rutland' (Oxford, 1933).

Jeaffreson, John Cordy, 'Middlesex county records: Volume 4: 1667-88' (1892).

Langham Village History Group, 'The Life and Families of 17th Century Langham' (Oakham, 2009).

Nichols, John, 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester' (London, 1800).

Noel, E. F., 'Some Letters and Records of the Noel Family' (London, 1910).

Noel, Gerard, 'Sir Gerard Noel MP and the Noels of Chipping Campden and Exton' (Campden, 2004).

Pevsner, Nikolaus, 'The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland', 2nd edition (London, 1984).

Pine, L. G. (ed.), 'Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage', 99th edition (London, 1949).

Sedgwick, R. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754' (London, 1970).

Thorne, R. (ed.), 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790 - 1820' (London, 1986).

Custodial HistoryThe collection was deposited on indefinite loan to the Record Office in 1987 by the Rt Hon the Earl of Gainsborough. Additional records were deposited in 1990 and 1991. The collection comprises records created or acquired by the Noel family in the course of estate ownership.
Finding AidsA project to fully catalogue the Archives of the Noel Family of Exton Park was completed in 2013 (funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme). Please visit the 'Exton Project' pages on the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland's website for more information.

Records that are closed to public access do not appear on the online catalogue.
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