HILL, Noel (1745-89), of Tern, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. Apr. 1745, o. surv. s. of Thomas Hill (formerly HARWOOD) of Tern. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1759; I. Temple 1763. m. 18 Nov. 1768, Anna, da. of Henry Vernon, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 11 June 1782; cr. Baron Berwick 19 May 1784.
Mayor of Shrewsbury 1778-9.
Lord Powis wrote to the Duke of Newcastle, 18 July 1761, that Thomas Hill was extremely solicitous for his son to be made a gentleman-usher and secretary to the Queen—‘he is a good scholar and master of languages’. Newcastle included him in his recommendations but apparently without success.1
Thomas Hill, in his letter to the Shrewsbury corporation, 15 Jan. 1768, declining for reasons of health to seek re-election, recommended to them his son Noel. Noel Hill and Lord Clive stood on a joint interest, and when William Pulteney declared his candidature, it was against Clive only. Hill was returned top of the poll. He was thoroughly independent, and voted with Opposition over Wilkes’s petition, 27 Jan. 1769, and the civil list debt, 2 Mar. 1769;2 but with Administration on the Middlesex election, 15 Apr. and 8 May 1769, and 26 Apr. 1773. Over the royal marriage bill, March 1772, Robinson listed him as ‘doubtful, present’; he voted with Opposition over the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773 and Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774, but was each time marked in the King’s list as a friend, and at the end of the Parliament was classed by Robinson as ‘pro’: which suggests unreported votes on the Government side.
In 1774 and 1780 he was returned unopposed for the county. During the years 1775-8, for which only five Opposition lists are extant, he appears voting with them once only: again on the civil list debts, 16 Apr. 1777; and over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, is marked by Robinson ‘contra, present, friend’, which once more suggests his having voted as a rule on the Government side. The Public Ledger, not always a reliable source, wrote about him in 1779: ‘A Tory in principle, who professes himself an independent man, and terms an implicit obedience to every inconsistent, contradictory measure of ministers, steadiness.’ But no vote by him is recorded on the Government side in the six lists, March 1779-April 1780, which give the names on both sides, and in the four last divisions, from 8 Mar. 1780 onwards, he voted steadily with Opposition. But even as late as 6 Apr., over Dunning’s motion, he is included by North in a list of ‘Persons generally with who went against’;3 and at the end of the Parliament Robinson classed him merely as ‘doubtful’. In the first four division lists of the new Parliament Hill again voted with Opposition, 12 Dec. 1781-27 Feb. 1782; but was absent on 8 Mar., and again on the 15th when in Robinson’s list the remark ‘stayed away at request’ appears against his name;4 he was back on 20 Mar. to support the Opposition motion for the removal of the ministers5(forestalled by North’s resignation). Hill voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, against Fox’s East India bill, and adhered to Pitt, to whom he wrote on 15 Feb. 1784:6
I am yet so ill, that I am forbid stirring out, but a Mr. Cotes, a warm friend of the other side, has paired off with me for this day or I should otherwise have run all risks to have attended the House.
He did not stand again at the general election of 1784, having obviously been promised a peerage.7 Not one speech of his is recorded during his 16 years in the House. He died 16 Jan. 1789.