Martin Noell

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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]

Thomas Povey FRS, was a London merchant-politician. He was active in colonial affairs from the 1650s, but neutral enough in his politics to be named a member from 1660 of Charles II's Council for Foreign Plantations. A powerful figure in the not-yet professionalised First English Empire, he was both "England's first colonial civil servant" and at the same time "a typical office holder of the Restoration". Both Samuel Pepys and William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia, railed at times against Povey's incompetence and maladministration.

Sir Nicholas Crispe, 1st Baronet was an English Royalist and a wealthy merchant who pioneered the West African trade in the 1630s; a customs farmer ; Member of Parliament for Winchelsea Nov. 1640-1 ; member of the Council of Trade and for Foreign Plantations ; and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber from 1664. He was knighted in 1640 or 1641 and was made a baronet in 1665. He died in February 1666 (O.S.) aged 67.

Sir Andrew Riccard was an English merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1654.


  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.

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