This text was copied from Wikipedia on 19 February 2024 at 3:10AM.

Sir Martin Noell was an eminent London merchant, engaged in an extensive colonial trade that included the slave trade. He thrived under the Commonwealth as a tax farmer, taking up farms of the excise or customs and advancing other sums, secure in the knowledge that he would get his money back.[1] At the Restoration of Charles II (1660) Noell was one of the four eminent London merchants— the others being Thomas Povey, Sir Nicholas Crispe and Sir Andrew Riccard— who took their seats among the courtiers on the Council for Plantations,[2] whose restrictions on colonial trade in the interests of a mercantilist policy were resisted from the first by Virginia planters.[3] He was knighted in 1662.[4]


  1. ^ Michael J. Braddick, "The rise of the fiscal state", The Companion to Stuart Britain, 1999.
  2. ^ The distant precursor of the Board of Trade.
  3. ^ Joan de Lourdes Leonard, "Operation Checkmate: The Birth and Death of a Virginia Blueprint for Progress 1660-1676", The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 24.1 (January 1967:44–74).
  4. ^ "I this day heard that Mr. Martin Noell is knighted by the King, which I much wonder at; but yet he is certainly a very useful man" (Samuel Pepys, Diary, 6 October 1662.

7 Annotations

First Reading

JWB  •  Link

"There has rarely been a group of leaders who so seriously shifted the course of modern history as did the little clique who surrounded Charles II from the summer of 1660 to the autumn of 1667. Only three of them, Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon after the Restoration, Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury after 1673, and John Lord Berkeley, brother of the Virginia governor, were of high aristocratic stock. The others were self-made men who knew even better than Clarendon and Shaftesbury the art of personal aggrandizement: George Monck, earl of Albemarle, Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, Sir George Carteret, onetime pirate and the "richest man in England", Sir George Downing of Harvard College, and two merchants, Martin Noell and Thomas Povey.5 Nearly all of these were members of the privy council and thus guided the policy of the crown; these controlling members of the council were also the masters of His Majesty's famous board of trade and plantations which worked out the new British colonial and commercial program; they likewise dominated both the East India Company and the new African slave trade corporation, in which the Duke of York and the king's "devoted" sister, the Duchess of Orleans, were heavy stockholders. Every important political and economic interest of Restoration England was thus under the control of eight intimates of His Majesty who were "interlocking" directors of one political and three commercial boards."
" The Emerge of the First Social Order in the United States"
By William E. Dodd

language hat  •  Link

Noell, Sir Martin (c1600-65)
The most prominent of the merchants and financiers operating in the Interregnum; much involved in government finance; brother-in-law of Cromwell's Secretary of State, Thurloe. At the Restoration he escaped financial disaster and both he and his eldest son were knighted. At his death he left seven sons unprovided for.

--L&M Companion

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

The Council of State sitting at Whitehall, says Lilly (Life, p. 124), had no knowledge of what was passing out of doors, until Sir Martin Noel, a discreet citizen, came about nine at night, and informed them thereof. From this notice, Noel has been considered as the original of the messenger who brings the news of the burning of the Rumps, so admirably related in Hudibras, part iii, canto 11, l.1497. We know nothing further about Sir Martin, except that be was a scrivener, and that Pepys records his death of the plague, in 1665. His son, of the same name, was knighted in November, 1665.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The House of Commons blog has just published Sir Martin Noell Snr. MP's biography, giving Pepys' announcement of his death from the plague the opening paragraph.

The article also reveals the importance of Thomas Povey to Charles II right after the Restoration in a much different light than the exasperated Pepysian take.

It doesn't give much information about the Diary Years, beyond revealing that Noell built his fortune carefully under Cromwell, but over-extended himself in speculative ventures under Charles II (for which read slave trading and his sugar plantation in Barbados).


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Sep