NOON, Sir Edmund (d.1413), of Tilney and Shelfanger, Norf.
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Family and Education
prob. s. of Edmund Noon of Tilney. m. (1) 1s. d.v.p.; (2) between Sept. 1377 and Mar. 1382, Isabel (d.1406), da. of Sir Thomas Visdelou† (d.1375) of Shotley, Suff. and Shelfanger, wid. of Sir John Verdon of Martlesham, Suff. and Shelfanger, 1s. 1da. Kntd. bef. Feb. 1386.
?J.p. Norf. 6 May 1371-Dec. 1375.
Water bailiff of Wiggenhall, Norf. 1 Oct. 1375-d.
Gauger of wines, Great Yarmouth and Bishop’s Lynn 27 June 1382-d.
Commr. of sewers, Norf. Mar. 1388, July 1391, Apr. 1392; inquiry Jan. 1387, Mar. 1397 (forfeitures), Norf., Suff. June 1406 (concealments); array, Norf. Mar. 1392; gaol delivery, Dublin Dec. 1402;1 to raise royal loans, Norf., Suff. June 1406.
Steward of the household of Henry IV’s second son, Thomas of Lancaster, lt. Ire. c. Oct. 1401-aft. Nov. 1403.
Tax collector, Norf. Mar. 1404.
The Noons had occupied a manor in Tilney, to the west of Bishop’s Lynn, since the mid 13th century and Edmund inherited it before 1375.2 He considerably extended the landed interests of his family by his marriage to Sir John Verdon’s widow, Isabel, who held as her jointure the manors of Shelfanger and Moulton St. Michael (both in south Norfolk) and five other manors, including Martlesham and Stanstead, in Suffolk. Noon and his wife also tried to keep possession, as tenants of the earl of Suffolk, of eight knights’ fees in Bressingham near Diss, but their title was not secure and the manor of Bressingham itself subsequently passed to Sir John Pilkington of Lancashire, who had married Isabel’s stepdaughter, Margaret Verdon. In 1389 Noon and Pilkington entered into mutual recognizances in £200, probably to guarantee their continued acceptance of settlements regarding the Verdon inheritance. Subsequently, Noon secured possession of the bulk of the Verdon estates for his descendants, although how he achieved this, whether by marrying his son Imbert (the child of a former marriage) to his wife’s daughter, Isabel Verdon, or by some other means, is unclear.3
Noon’s long career had begun by 7 Dec. 1371, when Edward, prince of Wales, granted him an annuity for life of £20 charged on the revenues of the stannary of Devon, and it is quite likely that he had previously seen military action in Gascony in the prince’s company. As an esquire of Prince Edward’s chamber he soon received further marks of royal favour: in August 1374 his annuity was increased by ten marks; in July 1375 he was awarded a charter of free warren in his demesne lands at Tilney; and three months later he was given tenure for life of the bailiwick of the nearby water of Wiggenhall, worth eight marks a year. Following the prince’s death in 1376 all the grants he had made to Noon were confirmed by Richard of Bordeaux, first as prince of Wales and then as King, who formally retained him as an esquire in the royal household, with livery of winter and summer robes at the Wardrobe. Benefits naturally resulted from his proximity to the young monarch: in 1379 it was conceded that his 40 marks’ annuity might be taken from the stannary of Cornwall as well as that of Devon, and three years later he secured the office of gauger of wines in the principal ports of Norfolk to hold until he died, as well as the farm of the hundred of Depwade, for which he was to pay £13 10s.1d. p.a. As having to obtain payment of his annuity from the duchy of Cornwall subsequently proved to be an unsatisfactory arrangement, in 1383 Noon negotiated a new deal whereby he was to be paid from the profits of the hundreds of Loddon, Clavering and Depwade (which last he was now to hold rent-free). These hundreds were conveniently situated in south-east Norfolk, close to the Verdon estates belonging to his wife.4 As an esquire of the body to Richard II, Noon had been earlier employed on confidential business by the King: in February 1379 he had been sent to the shires of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk bearing writs of privy seal directed to ‘prelates, magnates and other worthy men’ requesting loans, and in the following November he had been dispatched as royal messenger to Robert II of Scotland. That he was not without personal influence at Court is clear from the number of pardons to various individuals issued at his request between 1381 and 1386.5
Early in 1385 Noon and his wife were accused at the assizes by Sir Robert Howard of unlawfully evicting his people from tenements in Bressingham, Fersfield and Tilney. Proceedings were suspended for a while on the King’s instruction so that the matter might be debated before the Council, but Howard, apparently finding royal justice too tardy (or perhaps prejudiced against him) took matters into his own hands and led a band of armed men to break into Noon’s closes at Bressingham, where they reaped his corn, laid waste his fields, and carried off his cattle. A commission of oyer and terminer was appointed in February 1386 at Noon’s request and clearly predisposed in his favour, for it consisted of an associate, Lord Morley, two royal justices, and certain prominent members of the Household. Noon had recently been knighted. In the previous year he had performed various services for Queen Anne, notably by acting as her attorney to take custody of some forfeited goods. From March 1387 he served in the large naval force commanded by Richard, earl of Arundel, as admiral of England, and in the following year he was named on commissions issued by Arundel and his fellow Lords Appellant. Yet his ties with the Household remained close: in June 1388 he stood bail for John Lincoln, the King’s clerk and chamberlain of the Exchequer imprisoned in the Tower by order of the Appellants; and a few months later he was in trouble with the Council for having committed ‘certain trespasses, contempts and disobediences within the queen’s liberty of the hundred of Depwade’ and was bound over in the large sum of 1,000 marks. Whatever was behind these allegations, there is no sign that Noon lost the personal favour of the King or the queen; he retained his royal offices and annuity for the rest of the reign, and accompanied his royal master to Ireland not only on the expedition of 1394-5 but also on the ill-fated one of 1399. When, in the meantime, he had attended the Suffolk elections to the Parliament of 1397 (Jan.) it had been in order to act as mainpernor for Robert Bukton, an esquire in the service of Sir Thomas Percy, then steward of the King’s household. Noon was one of four Norfolk knights chosen by the city of Norwich to present a petition on its behalf to King Richard while he was at Leicester in September 1398, so it would seem that he continued to enjoy access to the royal presence.6
Noon may have passed from membership of Richard II’s household directly into that of Henry IV’s; and as late as 1412 he was still described as a ‘King’s knight’. Certainly, the change of monarch in no way affected him adversely. On 8 Nov. 1399 all the annuities and offices he had received from the Black Prince and the previous King were confirmed, and before very long he was assigned to the entourage of Henry’s second son, Thomas of Lancaster. When, in the summer of 1401, Thomas was appointed lieutenant of Ireland, Sir Edmund prepared to accompany him to the province, and it seems likely that he had already been made steward of his household. The importance of his position can hardly be over-emphasized: Prince Thomas was a mere youth, just over 12 years old, and his steward automatically became an influential member of the council in Ireland. In June 1402 Noon and Sir Laurence Merbury, the treasurer of Ireland, were formally appointed as the lieutenant’s deputies for the defence of the counties of Carlow and Kildare, and in August they appended their names to a letter sent by the chancellor of Ireland and others of the council to Henry IV, informing him of the peril of the English position in the province resulting from the lack of adequate financial provision. Amid warnings of the ‘grande meschief’ about to befall, Noon’s hand in the letter may be seen in the specific complaint that Prince Thomas had had to sell most of his jewels and plate to raise money for the wages of his soldiers, and that ‘les gens de son hostiel’, remaining unpaid, were ‘en point de departir’. None of the signatories felt able to leave the lieutenant’s side, even to visit the King to give further explanation of their difficult situation. In March 1403 Noon secured the wardship of an heir to Irish estates, perhaps as an encouragement for his continued support. He probably returned to England with the prince that November. This connexion with Thomas of Lancaster was to be maintained by Noon’s son, Henry, who served under him not only in Ireland in 1408 but also, in 1415, in the retinue he commanded during Henry V’s first campaign in France.7
Sir Edmund was elected as knight of the shire for Norfolk for the first and apparently only time in 1406. On 24 May, while he was away at Westminster, his wife Isabel made her will, naming him as sole executor. She died before 11 Jan. 1407, when probate was granted. Her death seems to have been the signal for Noon’s retirement from royal employment. In February 1412, at his request, his annuity of 40 marks was transferred to his son, Henry, for term of the latter’s life, though he retained his sinecure posts at Wiggenhall and as gauger of wines, these being confirmed to him by Henry V in June 1413.8. Meanwhile, three months earlier, on 26 Mar., Noon had composed his will. To the church of Shelfanger, where he wished to be buried next to his wife, he left a missal engraved with his arms, and among other bequests were his armour and a cloak lined with martens’ fur. All the wheat sown on the manorial estates at Shelfanger, Tilney and Martlesham, together with the livestock and farming implements there, were left to his son. He died before 3 Sept. and his will was proved on the 15th of the same month.9 Through valiant service in the wars in France, Henry Noon earned the favour of Henry V, thus obtaining in 1418 grants of free warren and leave to make a park at Shelfanger, and in 1419 seisin of the castle and lordship of Condé-sur-Noireau in Normandy, worth 2,000 écus a year (roughly equivalent to £333). When Sir Henry died in the spring of 1422 he was holding office as master of the King’s horse.10
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Rot. Pat. et Claus. Hib. ed. Tresham, 165.
- 2. F. Blomefield, Norf. ix. 74.
- 3. Accounts of the families of Verdon and Visdelou (which both possessed manors at Shelfanger), and regarding the means whereby the Noons acquired the Verdon estates, are confused, the generally accepted view being that Sir Edmund married Verdon’s daughter, Isabel, the child of his second marriage, to Isabel Visdelou. But Noon’s wife was described in 1382 as wid. of Verdon: CIPM, xv. 618-19. See Suff. Green Bks. xvi (2), 177-82, 202; J. Copinger, Suff. Manors, iii. 65; Norf. Arch. xx. 41-42; Blomefield, i. 53; v. 205; CCR, 1389-92, p. 71; CP25(1)223/111/32, 112/1, 288/47/644.
- 4. CPR, 1377-81, pp. 199, 285, 373; 1381-5, pp. 148, 160, 337; SC6/813/7; E101/401/2, f. 42; CChR, v. 229.
- 5. E403/471 m. 23, 475 m. 19; CPR, 1377-81, p. 620; 1381-5, p. 234; 1385-9, p. 267.
- 6. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 545, 613; 1385-9, pp. 414, 634; CIMisc. vi. 156; E101/40/33 m. 11, 402/20, f. 69; CPR, 1391-6, p. 473; 1396-9, p. 525; C219/9/12; Recs. Norwich ed. Hudson and Tingey, ii. 51.
- 7. CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 93, 510; 1401-5, pp. 2, 36; 1408-13, p. 41; H.G. Richardson and G.O. Sayles, Irish Parl. 166-7; Rot. Pat. et Claus. Hib. 164, 168, 170; Letters Hen. IV ed. Hingeston, i. 73-76 (incorrectly dated 1401); DKR, xliv. 570.
- 8. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel, i. f. 540d; CPR, 1413-16, p. 69.
- 9. Reg. Arundel, ii. f. 198; CPR, 1413-16, p. 93. He also left a da. Anne, who m. Sir John Bernak (d.1409) of Saxlingham, Norf.: CP, v. 80.
- 10. PPC, ii. 310; Foedera ed. Rymer (Hague edn.), iv (4), 61; DKR, xli. 695, 792.