Charlotte NOON, née White (c. 1819–1852)
St Paul section: Grave not located, and may not have headstone [St Paul ref. G.7]
Charlotte White was born at Northend, Warwickshire in Burton Dassett parish in 1819/20, the daughter of John White.
Her future husband Elijah Noon was also born at Burton Dassett in 1818/19, the son of Thomas Noon senior, a bailiff and sometime Sergeant in the Militia, and his wife Elizabeth Mills.
They were married at Burton Dassett on 11 September 1837: they were both aged about 18, and there was a baby on the way. They had the following children:
- Elijah Noon (born at Bascote Heath, Long Itchington, Warwickshire in 1837/8 and baptised at Itchington on 4 February 1838)
- Elizabeth Noon (born at North End, Warwickshire in 1839 and baptised at Burton Dassett on 6 October)
- Eliza Noon (born in Oxford in about March 1841 but not baptised at St Paul’s Church until 22 February 1846; death registered in Oxford in the third quarter of 1846)
- Amelia Noon, also known as Emilia or Emily (born at Portland Place, Oxford in 1845/6 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 13 January 1846)
- William Noon (born at Portland Place, Oxford in 1848 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 2 July)
- Eliza Noon (born at Portland Place in 1851 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 7 September).
The couple began their married life in Warwickshire where they had grown up, but by 1840 had moved down to Oxford, following Elijah’s more successful older brother Thomas Noon junior, who had moved from London to Oxford in about 1830 and set himself up as a builder. Elijah worked for his brother, and he and his wife Charlotte settled in the Jericho area (which was then part of St Thomas’s parish but in the St Paul’s district chapelry).
The 1841 census shows Elijah (23) and Charlotte (22) living at Portland Place (the lower end of Cardigan Street) with Elijah junior (3), Elizabeth (1), and Eliza (one month). They were still at this address in 1851, when Elijah was recorded as a plasterer; their daughter Eliza had died, and there were two more younger children, Emily and William. A second Eliza was born later that year.
Elijah was employed by his brother Thomas Noon, who lived at 18 Little Clarendon Street and was described in the 1851 census as a builder employing five masons and four labourers. On a Saturday night Elijah and the other employees of his brother Thomas regularly went to the North Star pub in St Giles, which was kept by one of Thomas’s daughters, to collect their wages: Thomas received £1 a week. (This pub, also known simply as the Star, was at Park Place in the Banbury Road, and should not be confused with the North Star in Broad Street.)
On the night of Saturday 1 May 1852 Charlotte Noon got tired of waiting at home in Jericho for her husband to come back from the pub, and at about 12.30 a.m. she went out to fetch him. She met him on his way back, and upbraided him, and they then went home, where their daughter Elizabeth (12) was waiting up for them. Her daughter said that she called her husband “a nasty drunken villain” for staying out so late, and, according to the newspaper report,
made use of several angry expressions, which greatly excited her husband, who was tipsy at the time. At length he became so exasperated, that he took off the shelf in the sitting room a sword, which had been left him by his father, and drew it out of the sheath, which he threw on the floor; he then struck his wife across the back with the flat side of the sword, when the daughter tried to get her mother out of the house into the street, and while in the act of doing so, the husband, who held the sword in both hands, ran it violently into her left side. The poor woman fell partly in the street and partly in the house, but managed afterwards to get up and go to her neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Clewby, when she fell a second time. With their assistance, and that of her daughter, she returned to her own house, where she felt much worse, and was assisted to bed by her husband, who sent the daughter for Mr. Godfrey, the surgeon.
Mr. Godfrey considered that it was impossible for Charlotte to recover, and two days later she died in great pain:
† Mrs Charlotte Noon died at Portland Place, Cardigan Street on Monday 3 May 1852 at the age of 33 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 6 May (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).
Lloyd’s Weekly recorded on 9 May 1852: “The unfortunate deceased was buried, on Thursday evening, at the Jericho cemetery, and the funeral was attended by a large concourse of people.” She was buried at a depth of eight feet, which allowed space for two more burials in the same plot.
Her husband was taken into custody, and remanded in the city gaol: “he appeared to feel very acutely the awful position in which he had placed himself, and the irreparable loss which he had inflicted on his household, consisting of five children, the youngest being only ten months old, and not weaned.”
The inquest was held in the Union public house in Clarendon Street, and twelve-year-old Elizabeth was the principal witness; her older brother Elijah Noon junior (14) had been in bed at the time of the stabbing and so was not cross-examined. Charlotte was described as a “clean, industrious, and quiet woman”, and the Coroner’s Jury returned the verdict that she was “wilfully murdered by her husband, Elijah Noon.”
On Friday 7 May 1852 Elijah Noon was brought before the City Magistrates in a room in the City Gaol in Gloucester Green, and he was committed for trial at the next Assizes. The trial took place on Friday 16 July, and was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal the next day. Witnesses who gave the prisoner a good character included William Ward (the Mayor of Oxford); Dr Bliss (the Principal of St Mary Hall); the Revd H. J. Passand (the Rector of Shipton); Alderman William Thorp; Mr Combe (of the University Press); and James Morrell, Esq., junior. Mr Piggott, for the defence, said that there was there was no evidence to prove that the prisoner ran the sword into his wife, as his daughter admitted that she did not actually see him use it. The jury came to the conclusion that Charlotte Noon’s death had been caused by her husband’s incautious use of the sword, and not by his striking her with it, and so Elijah Noon was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to prison with hard labour for two years.
The case at Oxford Crown Court was reported identically thus by The Times and the Morning Chronicle:
Elijah Noon, aged 33, plasterer, was indicted for the murder of Charlotte Noon, his wife, at the parish of St. Thomas’s, in the city of Oxford, on the 2d of May last.
Mr. Cripps and Mr. Sawyer conducted the prosecution; Mr. Pigott and Mr. Huddleston defended the prisoner.
The circumstances of this case were extremely painful. The principal witness for the prosection was the prisoner’s daughter, a little girl twelve years of age. She stated that she lived with her parents, in Portland-place, Cardigan-street, Oxford. In consequence of her father not returning home on Saturday night, her mother went to look for him soon after midnight. They returned together in a few minutes; he was not sober. Her mother upbraided him with staying out so late. He took some money out and counted it. She said he could treat other persons and not her. He then took down a sword from a shelf, pulled it out of the sheath, and struck the deceased, who was sitting down, on the back with the flat part of the sword. The child ran to the door and got outside; the mother got up and attempted to follow her, and her daughter took hold of her hand to pull her through. The father was standing in the room, and according to the child’s first account, he went to his wife at the door with the sword, and ran it in her left side. It appeared, however, that the witness could not see the actual thrust; but her mother screaming out, the child pulled her out of the room into the street, where she fell down. She was then led to a neighbour’s, and was subsequently taken back to her own house. The prisoner had in the meantime replaced the sword in its sheath on the shelf. On examination a wound nine inches long was found in the left side of the deceased, of which she died in about twenty-four hours. The prisoner paid every attention to her during her last hours. On her being brought back to the house he took hold of her hand, and helped her up-stairs. The deceased stated in her husband’s presence that he had done it with a sword. She subsequently said to him, “Elijah, I freely forgive you, as I hope the Lord will forgive me; but always avoid passion.”
Mr. Pigott addressed the jury, contending that the facts proved were consistent with the supposition that the deceased in resisting the effort of her daughter to remove her from the room, fell back on the sword, which the prisoner was too much intoxicated to know was unsheathed.
A number of witnesses deposed to the prisoner’s good character.
The learned Judge summed up, explaining the distinction between murder, manslaughter, and misadventure.
The jury retired, and after considerable deliberation returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
The case was reported in newspapers all over the country, and some of them reported that the prisoner fainted when his daughter spoke in court.
Charlotte’s husband and children
Elijah Noon must have come out of prison in about July 1854, and went to live in Summertown. He did not waste any time, because on 10 December 1854 at Summertown church he married his second wife, Miss Sophia Kinch, who also lived in Summertown and was the daughter of Edward Kinch. She made a home for his motherless children and had seven more with Elijah, all baptised at Summertown Church: Herman Inkerman Noon (1857), Emmeline Sophia Noon (1860), Ada Rosina Noon (1862), Albert Henry Noon (1865), Minnie Noon (1867), Edith Miriam Noon (1869), and Zedah Noon (1872).
Elijah continued to work as a plasterer, and Sophia was a laundress, and at the time of the 1861 census they were living on the Banbury Road in Summertown with their first two children; and three of Charlotte’s children continued to live with them, namely Amelia (15), who was a laundress like her stepmother; William (13) who was already working as a labourer; and Eliza (9), who had been an unweaned baby when her mother died. Their address is given more precisely as Claremont Place, Summertown in the Post Office Directory of 1861. His eldest son Elijah junior (22), a plasterer, was lodging with the Elderfield family at 18 Albert Street.
Three of Charlotte and Elijah’s children were married in the 1860s.
- On 27 July 1863 at Summertown Church, Elizabeth Noon married William Timms, also of Summertown, a labourer who was the son of the labourer James Timms;
- On 20 February 1864 at St Paul’s Church, Elijah Noon junior married Hannah Giles of the University Press, the daughter of the labourer William Giles;
- On 12 September 1869 at Summertown Church, Amelia Noon married George Hedges, also of Summertown, a labourer who was the son of the tailor Richard Hedges.
Their son Elijah was able to sign his name in the marriage register, but none of their daughters (nor their husbands) could.
On 19 February 1870 it was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that “Elijah Noon [junior] and George Hedges [probably his brother-in-law] were fined, the former 7s. 9d. and the latter 10s. 6d., for being drunk and riotous at Summertown on the 29th of Dec. last”, and the police constable who witnessed the event stated that they were “stripped to fight”.
In 1871 Elijah Noon senior and his second wife were still living on the Banbury Road in Summertown and working as a plasterer and laundress respectively. The only child from his first marriage still living with them was Eliza (18). She was married in 1878:
- On 14 July 1878 at St Clement's Church, Oxford, Eliza Noon (born 1851) married Charles Lee.
Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported on 11 December 1880 that Elijah Noon senior of Summertown won fourth prize for his canary in the Oxford Ornithological Society annual show.
On 8 September 1883 there was a report on the application by William Francis Piggott of Summertown to renew his alcohol licence, and it was revealed that he had been convicted on 5 August that year for a breach of the Licensing Act relating to the drunken state of his near-neighbour, Elijah Noon (presumably senior), who according to a police constable went in drunk and came out drunk, and was regularly in this state.
Elijah and his second wife were still living on the Banbury Road at the time of the 1881 census, but by then all Charlotte’s children had left home. Her son William (28) was boarding at 43 Castle Street and working as a general labourer. He was married in 1884:
- Near the beginning of 1884 in Loughborough, William Noon married Mary Ann Smith.
His son Elijah Noon junior choked to death in 1885 (see below).
Elijah Noon died in 1889, and his death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal stated simply: “Dec. 8, at Summertown, Elijah Noon, aged 72.” His effects came to £125 6s. 10d., and his executors were his sons Herman and Albert, both of whom were now working as plumbers in Kilburn. He was buried in Summertown churchyard.
His second wife Sophia Noon died at 273 Banbury Road in Summertown at the age of 73 in 1904, and was buried with her husband.
Children of Charlotte and Elijah Noon
- Elijah Noon junior (born 1837/8) and his wife Hannah do not appear to have had any children. At the time of the 1871 census they were living at North Parade Avenue. In 1881 Elijah was a plasterer, and Hannah a laundress. On 27 May 1885 Elijah walked down from Summertown to the Grapes pub in George Street with his sister Elizabeth and her husband eating some pig’s chitterlings on the way. He choked to death at the pub age of 46 or 47. There was an inquest, and one of the jurymen mentioned that he was “a well-known whistler, which, he thought, showed he was in good health”, and a verdict of “Death from Accidental Choking” was returned. He was buried in Summertown churchyard on 30 May.
- Elizabeth Noon, Mrs Timms (born 1839/40) was working as a laundress in 1871 and living with her husband William, who was an agricultural labourer, and their son George (7) at 6 Diamond Street, Summertown. Elizabeth died at the age of 81 in 1921, probably in Summertown.
- Amelia Noon, Mrs Hedges (born 1845/6), often recorded as Emilia or Emily was working as a laundress in 1871 and living at 7 Diamond Street, Summertown with her husband George, who was a general labourer, and their son Robert (seven months). In 1881 she and George were living in Chapel Street with their six children: Robert (10), Margaret (9), Elizabeth (6), Ernest (5), Alice (3), and Alfred (1), and was still managing to work as a laundress. By 1891 they were living in Sunnymeade and had two more children: Richard (5) and Walter/Percy (3). Their address is more specifically given as 34 Harpes Road in 1901: George (55) was still a builder’s labourer, and three of their children were still at home: Alice (23), who was a laundrymaid; Richard (15), who was a provision merchant’s assistant; and Percy (13), who was a milkman. Amelia and George were alone at that address in 1911: they were both aged 65, and Amelia was working as a laundress at home, while George was now a gardener. Both were still unable to write, and of their eleven children, they stated that three were dead. Amelia herself died later that year.
- William Noon (born 1848) and his wife Mary Ann do not appear to have had any children. He was working as a general labourer in 1891 and living at 44 Ashby Road, Loughborough with his wife and her two sons. William (50) and Mary (48) were at the same address in 1901, and working as a road labourer and a “seamer of hospital” respectively. William died at Loughborough near the beginning of 1905 at the age of 53.
- Eliza Noon, Mrs Lee (born 1851) was living with her husband Charles at Temple Cowley in 1881: she was a washerwoman, and he was a labourer. In 1891 they had the same occupations and their address was given as 20 Temple Road Cowley: they now had a daughter, Eliza Lee (4). They were still there with Eliza in 1901. Eliza (59) and Charles (54) were living at The Marsh, Cowley in 1911. Eliza died at the age of 80 near the end of 1931, probably at Cowley.