Thursday, June 2, 2016

{79} Edward III Descents for Francis Noel-Baker, M.P. (1920-2009)

Francis Edward Noel-Baker (1920-2009)
The most notable descendant (to date) of Rev. Thomas Noel of Kirkby Mallory (1775-1853) is Francis Noel-Baker, a Labour Party politician who was returned to Parliament for Brentford and Chiswick in the 1945 general election, unseating the Conservative, becoming at age 25 the youngest member in the House. Noel-Baker shares an entry in ODNB with his father, Philip Noel-Baker, a remarkable man who won a Silver Medal for the men's 1500 metres event at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959 for his efforts in disarmament.

The Bakers were a Quaker family for generations. Philip's father, (Joseph) Allen Baker, was born in Canada, where the family had emigrated from Ireland in 1819. In the late 1870's Allen Baker was sent by his father to England to take charge of a newly established branch of the family engineering business, Baker & Sons, of which he became chairman in 1892 on the death of his father. In 1879 they set up business in Finsbury but the trade expanded and, in 1890 a move was made to a large, newly built engineering works in Hythe Road, Willesden, where it remained for the next 43 years. As Quakers, the Baker family tried to run a model business taking a paternal interest in the welfare of their workforce and introducing schemes such as shorter working days, encouraging employees to participate in health and insurance plans and fostering a relaxed approach on the shop floor, perhaps to the detriment of profits. The company had interests in Britain, Canada, Australia and the USA. In Britain, Allen Baker married the deeply religious Scotswoman Elizabeth Balmer Moscrip, whose family lived at Morebattle, in Roxburghshire, a Border village seven miles from Kelso, through which the railway passed along the valley of the Tweed. Philip was the sixth of the couple's seven children.
Philip and Irene Noel-Baker during World War I,
when their romance began
[Image from An Isle of Greece: the Noels in Euboea]

During the First World War he served with the Friends' Ambulance Unit in France and in Italy, where he was awarded medals for bravery and met Irene Noel, who was working as a nurse. She was a friend of Virginia Woolf, and the daughter of Frank Noel, the British owner of a Greek estate, Achmetaga (today Prokopi) on the island of Euboea (today, Evia). The Achmetaga estate had been purchased from its Turkish owner in 1832 by Edward Noel, who had been educated at the agricultural school of Hofwyl near Bern in Switzerland which had been founded by Emanuel von Fellenberg, a leading educationalist in Europe, whose aim was to bring, through agriculture, rich and poor people closer together. Inspired by these ideas, and in the wake of the great wave of philhellenism that had passed through Europe following the 1821 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman occupiers of Greece, Edward Noel together with von Fellenberg's youngest son, Fredrick, traveled to Greece in 1832 with the hope of contributing to the betterment of the lot of impoverished Greek peasants by creating an agricultural school in Greece along the lines of Hofwyl. The acquiring of the estate on Euboea, where they envisioned establishing the school, was bedeviled by the then Greek Government's policy concerning privately-owned land; both Edward and Fredrick fell ill from malaria which was endemic in northern Euboea, and Frederick died. But then in partnership with another school fellow from Hofwyl, Karl von Müller, and with the support of Edward's cousin Anne Isabella, Lady Byron (later 11th Baroness Wentworth) and others, the resuscitation and working of the Achmetaga estate eventually went ahead. The family has been in continuous possession of the estate for over 175 years, and a detailed history--An Isle of Greece: The Noels in Euboea--was written and published by Barbro, the second wife of Francis Noel-Baker, in 2000. When Irene Baker inherited the estate from her father Frank Noel in 1919, her husband Philip adopted the surname Noel along with his own, and by the 1940s, he hyphenated his surname as Noel-Baker, which his descendants have adopted to the present day.
Achmetaga in the 1870s
After suffering two miscarriages, Irene Noel-Baker gave birth in 1920 at the age of 41 to their only child Francis Edward, whom she named after her recently-deceased father. When Irene's friend Virginia Woolf first met Philip Baker, she had dismissed him: "Irene has got engaged to a commoner who runs." But Philip ended up appreciated by both Virginia and her husband Leonard Woolf, due to their shared commitment to the progressive Fabian Society, and the two couples became close friends. As the years went on, the age difference between the Noel-Bakers (Irene was eleven years older than her husband) grew more pronounced, and they spent much time separated, with Irene in Greece focused on running the estate and Philip in England focused on his political career. For twenty years, from 1936 until Irene's death in 1956, Philip had an affair with Liberal (and later Labour) MP Megan Lloyd George (1902-1966), daughter of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George. In 1977, Philip Noel-Baker became a life peer, Baron Noel-Baker of Derby.
Philip, Baron Noel-Baker

Since Philip's five years as a life peer occurred within the large gap between the 1970 105th edition of Burke's Peerage and the 1999 106th edition, the Noel-Bakers do not appear in that series. There is an entry for Baron Noel-Baker in the 1980 edition of Debrett's Peerage. It is very scanty on genealogical details (it completely overlooks Francis Noel-Baker's first marriage, for example), so hopefully the information below will serve as a helpful addition to the 1980 account in Debrett's.

FRANCIS EDWARD NOEL-BAKER of Kandili, Prokopi, Evia, Greece, M.P. Brentford & Chiswick 1945-50; Swindon 1955-69, b. 7 Jan. 1920 Kensington, London; d. 25 Sept. 2009 Kandili, only son of Philip John, Baron Noel-Baker of Derby and Irene Noel (1878-1956, descended from Edward III - see A21 below); m. 1st 1 Aug. 1947 House of Commons Crypt, Westminster, London (divorce 1955), as her 1st husband[*1], ANN LAVINIA SAUNDERS, b. 1928, dau. of Hilary Aidan St George Saunders of Broad Oak (1898-1951) and his 2nd wife Joan Wilhelmina Bedford (1902-1984), and had issue, two sons; m. 2nd 26 July 1957 Swindon, Wiltshire, BARBRO KRISTINA SONANDER, b. 1924 Norrköping, Östergötland, Sweden; d. 2004 Kandili, dau. of Josef Karl Sonander, engineer, and had further issue, two sons and a daughter.

Issue of Francis Edward and Ann Lavinia (Saunders) Noel-Baker:

1) EDWARD PHILIP NOEL-BAKER of Notting Hill, b. 1948.

2) MARTIN HILARY JOHN BYRON NOEL-BAKER, b. 25 July 1951; d. 30 Nov. 1990, leaving issue, one daughter.
Michael Chance (b. 1955)

Issue of Francis Edward and Barbro Kristina (Sonander) Noel-Baker:

3) PHILIP FRANCIS NOEL-BAKER of Kandili, travel agent, b. Aug. 1958, has two sons.

4) IRENE IDA NOEL-BAKER, psychologist, translator, poet, b. 1960; m. 1991 London, MICHAEL EDWARD FERGUSON CHANCE, CBE, countertenor and founder The Grange Festival,  b. 7 March 1955 Penn, Buckinghamshire, and has issue, one son and one daughter.

5) (JOSEPH) ALLAN FREDERICK NOEL-BAKER of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, financial public relations, b. 1962; m. 31 May 1997, LOUISE SEYDLITZ, b. 1966, dau. of Slawomir Seydlitz of Harefield, and has issue, one son and one daughter.
Ann (née Saunders) Noel-Baker

[*1] Ann (née Saunders) Noel-Baker m. 2nd 1956 Buckinghamshire, John H. B. Irving, b. 1924. Ann's father Hilary Saunders was the co-author, with John Palmer (both men publishing their collaborative fiction using the pseudonym Francis Breeding), of four novels, the best known being The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927), which was adapted in 1945 into the Alfred Hitchcock film Spellbound. Saunders also was the librarian of the House of Commons from 1946-1950. Footage of Ann's first wedding to Francis Noel-Baker can be viewed, here.

Through his mother, Francis Noel-Baker has six lines of descent from Edward III. The three through Lionel, Duke of Clarence are as follows.

Edward III had a 2nd surviving son:
A1) Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) m. 1) Lady Elizabeth de Burgh (1332-1363, descended from Edward I), and had
A2) Lady Philippa Plantagenet of Clarence (1355-1377) m. Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March (1352-1381), and had
A3) Lady Elizabeth Mortimer (1371-1417) m. 1) Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy (1364-1403), and had
A4) Lady Elizabeth Percy (c.1395-1437) m. 1) John, 7th Lord Clifford (1388-1422, descended from Edward I), and had
Wentworth/Clifford impalement in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
A5) Mary Clifford (c.1420-by1458) m. Sir Philip Wentworth of Nettlestead (1424-1464), and had
A6) Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlestead (1448-1499) m. 1) Anne Say (c.1448-aft.1489), and had a son A7 and a dau C7 (see below)
A7) Sir Richard Wentworth of Nettlestead (by 1480-1528) m. Anne Tyrell (descended from Edward I), and had
A8) Thomas, 1st Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead (1501-1551) m. Margaret Fortescue (b. 1504, descended from Edward III), and had a son A9 and a dau B9 (see below)
A9) Thomas, 2nd Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead (1525-1584) m. 2) Anne Wentworth (d. 1571, descended from Edward I), and had
1st Earl of Cleveland -
see Generation A11
A10) Henry, 3rd Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead (1558-1593) m. Anne Hopton (d. 1625, descended from Edward I), and had
A11) Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland (1591-1667) m. 1) Anne Crofts (see B12 below), and had
A12) Anne, 7th Baroness Wentworth of Nettlestead (1623-1697) m. John, 2nd Baron Lovelace of Hurley (1634-1670), and had
A13) Hon. Margaret Lovelace (1642-1671) m. Sir William Noel, 2nd Baronet of Kirkby Mallory (c.1640-1675, descended from Edward III), and had
A14) Sir John Noel, 4th Baronet of Kirkby Mallory (1667-1697) m. Mary Clobery (c.1672-1751), and had
A15) Sir Clobery Noel, 5th Baronet of Kirkby Mallory (1694-1733) m. Elizabeth Rowney (c.1695-1743), and had
A16) Edward Noel, 1st Viscount Wentworth of Wellesborough (1715-1774) m. Judith Lamb (1725-1761), and had
A17) Thomas Noel, 2nd Viscount Wentworth of Wellesborough (1745-1815) = Anna Caterina van Loo (c.1750-1781), and had
A18) Rev. Thomas Noel of Kirkby Mallory, illegit. (1775-1853) m. 1) Catherine Smith (see C16 below), and had
Francis Edward 'Frank' Noel
- see Generation A20
A19) EDWARD HENRY NOEL of Hampstead, Middlesex and Achmetaga, Euboea [today Evia], Greece, b. 18 June 1811 Kirkby Mallory, bap. 17 Nov. 1812 All Saints Church, Kirkby Mallory; d. 29 Feb. 1884 Hampstead, bur. 5 Mar. 1884 St Mary Church, Hendon, Middlesex; m. 18 June 1838 St Mary Church, Ealing, Middlesex, FRANCES ISABELLA DOYLE, b. 1819 Bengal, India; d. 5 Nov. 1845 Torquay, Devon, bur. 11 Nov. 1845 St Saviour Church, Tormohun, Devon, dau. of Maj-Gen. Carlo Joseph Doyle (1787-1848) and "Chiano Begum" (d. by 1820)[*2], and had
A20) FRANCIS EDWARD 'Frank' NOEL of Achmetaga, b. 31 July 1844 Leamington Priors, bap. 4 Sept. 1844 All Saints Church, Leamington Priors; d. 28 Sept. 1919 Achmetaga, bur. there; m. 26 Feb. 1876 St Stephen Kensington, London (divorce c.1885)[*3], EDITH ELLEN VINER, bap. 8 Aug. 1856 All Saints Church, St John's Wood, Middlesex; bur. 19 Aug. 1893 St Peter Church, Turnham, Buckinghamshire, yst dau. of Thomas Viner, coffee merchant, of Ceylon & Wavendon Lodge, Woburn, Buckinghamshire (c.1808-1884) and Emma ---, and had
A21)  IRENE NOEL, b. 26 July 1878 Achmetaga; d. 8 Feb. 1956 Belgravia, London, bur. St James Churchyard, Heyshott, Sussex; m. 12 June 1915 Crabbet Park, Surrey, PHILIP JOHN BAKER [later NOEL-BAKER], Baron Noel-Baker of Derby, b. 1 Nov. 1889 Brondesbury Park, Brent, Middlesex; d. 8 Oct. 1982 Belgravia, bur. St James Churchyard, Heyshott, yr son of (Joseph) Allen Baker of Brondesbury Park, M.P. (1852-1918) and Elizabeth Balmer Moscrip (1849-1930), and had issue,
A22) FRANCIS EDWARD NOEL-BAKER, M.P. (1920-2009 - see details above)

Frances Isabella 'Fanny' (née Doyle) Noel (1819-1845)
[Image from An Isle of Greece: the Noels in Euboea]
[*2] Frances Isabella 'Fanny' Doyle was of inter-cultural parentage. As Fanny herself relayed in a letter in the 1830s: “My mother’s country was Rajasthan. Her name was Chiano Begum. My father called her Sishina. She was a Moglanee, that is a Mogul woman and a Mohammedan of the sect of Ali. She had been the wife of a Mogul of some rank, but he abandoned her and was afterwards killed in service of some native power. All Moglanees add Begum or ‘Khanian’ to their names if they have any pretension to rank. Moglanee is princess and the second lady" [Transcribed in An Isle of Greece: the Noels in Euboea, p. 102]. Barbro Noel-Baker shared the little further that she could on Fanny's East Indian mother: “It would not have been possible for her to be a Rajput unless she was a Hindu who had married a Muslim of some rank in the Mogul court. This did happen occasionally. The names given in her daughter’s letter sound like Muslim names. Mogul is another way of saying Mongol or Mongolian. Sections of the army of Genghis Khan invaded Russia and then came into India at the end of the fifteenth century. By the end of the eighteenth century, the language of the Mogul Court was Persian and Urdu, a Persian form of Hindi...We do not know much about our own Rajput lady. Apparently Fanny and her sister were very young when she died. Colonel Doyle returned to England in 1820 with his two little daughters, Selina and Fanny. Selina was named after Carlo’s sister and Fanny after his brother, Sir Francis Doyle. Fanny kept a miniature of her mother, which unfortunately has disappeared...the other daughter, Selina, had died in 1831." Barbro Noel-Baker also researched Fanny's father Maj-Gen. Carlo Doyle: "Doyle was a nephew of Sir John Doyle who had raised the 87th Prince of Wales’ Irish Regiment in 1793. Carlo became an ensign in 1803 when his uncle commanded the Regiment. He rose in rank while serving in the Peninsular War and was made Lieut. Colonel in 1815. Around this time he went to India as Military Secretary to the first Governor General of British India, Lord Hastings. Doyle’s regiment was based in Bengal and, to judge from existing manuscripts, he seems to have been prominent during and after the final Mahratta War which brought the whole of India under British control…Colonel Doyle did not marry again. He stayed on in England till 1834. Like many other officers returning home from India in those days, he seems to have suffered from a shortage of money and was happy to settle for a regular occupation. In 1834 he was appointed Government Secretary to Jamaica. He was promoted full Colonel in 1837 and four years later he was made Governor of Grenada in the West Indies, at which post he remained for the rest of his career. As a pensioner in England, he went into decline, enjoyed his port and died in 1848. In his will he cared mainly for his sister but left legacies to his daughter, Fanny, and her children." So far this is the second Anglo-Indian line I've encountered while building my database. I find it fascinating, but as there aren't any readily apparent lines back to Edward I in the ancestry of Carlo Doyle, further research into this branch of Francis Noel-Baker's ancestry is outside the scope of my project.
Edith (née Viner) Noel (1856-1893) 
[Image from An Isle of Greece: the Noels in Euboea]

[*3] The marriage of Edith and Frank Noel disintegrated rather dramatically amidst their quiet rural existence at Achmetaga. Edith was a dozen years younger than her husband, and had enjoyed the busy social scene back in England. She succumbed to the charms of the married Apostolos Papadopoulos, who had bought Dafnonda, the neighbouring estate to Achmetaga. Papadopoulos was a compulsive gambler and a playboy who never allowed a pretty woman to pass unnoticed, and was left to his own devices by his philanthropic wife. Edith Noel's affair with him resulted in a son, whom she bore in Paris and named Jim de la Haye. Edith returned to England, was formally divorced from Frank Noel, saw her children infrequently and died in 1893 in insolation, socially disgraced, at the young age of 37. The Viners were a successful mercantile family and her father Thomas Viner had established a coffee plantation in Ceylon, returning to England in the mid-19th century with the fortune he had made from it. There are no apparent lines back to Edward I in his ancestry. I'm unable to further identify Edith's mother Emma. It appears she and Thomas Viner had married in Ceylon, but the register books for the relevant period have not survived. Edith had only two children with Frank Noel before her affair, separation and divorce--daughter Irene Noel-Baker, and a son, Byron Viner Basil Noel (1880-1959).
Crofts Coat of Arms
[Or, three bulls' heads, cabossed sable]

B9) Anne Wentworth (c.1523-1575) m. John Poley of Badley Hall (d. 1589), and had
B10) Susan Poley (c.1545-1604) m. Thomas Crofts of West Stow Hall (c.1540-1612, descended from Edward I), and had
B11) Sir John Crofts of Little Saxham Hall (c.1565-1628) m. Mary Shirley (d. 1649, descended from Edward I), and had
B12) Anne Crofts (c.1593-1638) m. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland (see A11 above)

C7) Margery Wentworth (c.1478-1550) m. Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall (c.1474-1536), and had
C8) Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector (c.1500-1552) m. 2) Anne Stanhope (c.1510-1587, descended from Edward III), and had
C9) Lady Elizabeth Seymour (1550-1602) m. Sir Richard Knightley of Fawsley Hall (1533-1615, descended from Edward I), and had
C10) Sir Seymour Knightley of Norton (1580-1640) m. Dorothy Bedell (d. 1633), and had
C11) Anne Knightley (c.1620-1699) m. Dr. Jonathan Holled of Cottingham (1612-1680), and had
C12) Rev. Knightley Holled of Barby (c.1650-1700) m. Anne Mayne (d. 1730), and had
C13) Anne Holled (c.1680-1766) m. John Smith of Leire (1672-1742), and had
C14) Knightley Smith of Leire (c.1710-1740) m. Darell Jervis (1713-1740), and had
C15) Holled Smith of Normanton Turville Hall (1732-1795) m. Elizabeth Grace (1738-1786), and had
C16) Catherine Smith (1773-1832) m. Rev. Thomas Noel of Kirkby Mallory (see A18 above)

The next post will examine the Edward III descents of Muriel Jane Baird, wife of Byron Noel, maternal uncle of Francis Noel-Baker.

Cheers,                          -------Brad


  1. hello this is a very interesting blog! I'd like to email with a question? How do I do that? Shirley

    1. Hello Shirley - thank you for the kind words. You can either post your question here in Comments, or email me at