Early Noel Origins – Harbour Grace/Carbonear


Jersey or England

Selby Noel in his research felt that Clemence Noel b ca 1735 (now I believe 1725) came from Jersey. However, his research trip to Jersey failed to turn up a suitable candidate amongst the Clements. It looks like there was an error in one of his assumptions that opens the door for Clement born 1715 as a potential candidate.

It is possible that Jerseyman was a generic term for Channel Islander and so Guernsey should probably also be considered.

Norman Krischke got this information:

George S. Noel of St. John’s states that his mother Sarah Jane (Moores) Noel, wife of William H. Noel mentioned frequently, as it was handed down to her:

“The first Noel in Freshwater was Clemence Noel, an Englishman who had 6 sons. Some of these sons or their descendants moved to Harbour Grace South and elsewhere in Newfoundland.”

This has now been confirmed by DNA. The Family Finder autosomal project links Harbour Grace and Carbonear. Some DNA testing seems to be pointing to a match of the Bareneed Newells and the HG Noels. Some of the conflicting oral histories are clearing up.

From Roland Noel: “The Noels of Freshwater were descendants of French Huguenots according to my Grandfather George A. Noel born 1888. He told us that our ancestors were from Alsace-Lorraine, in the Northern part of France. Moreover, they were French Protestants, left France on or about the time of the St.Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (August 24, 1572) and moved to Jersey Island……….”


…..Many Protestants managed to escape the massacre. Some found refuge in the Huguenot strongholds of Sancerre and La Rochelle. Thousands of others fled the kingdom, bound for Geneva, Basel, Strasburg (Alsace-Lorraine), or London.

Alsace Lorraine (district of Bas-Rhin, France) was in the German area called  the Palatine from which many refugees fled at various times. It seemed to be an epicenter for religious and national conflicts between Catholic and Protestant/Germany and France.


In fact, Jersey hosted two waves of Huguenot immigration from France within a century: the first in 1570-1580s, and the second during the great exodus after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, after 1685.

In his book on the history of St. Helier, historian E. C. Nicolle argues that the largest influx of french refugees during this ‘first Huguenot wave’ took place between 1585 and 1588. Most of them regrouped in St. Helier, the main island town, to the point where the Royal Court was forced to legislate to limit the amount of rents and the price of foodstuffs. In 1603, due to the increase of the population permanent city, it became necessary to establish a new market day.

The records of St Helier start about 1584. A Jean of Jean & Katherine is baptised in 1597. There are abundant records of Noels in Jersey however.


However, a document retained by the Société Jersiaise lists 185 french protestants living in exile in the island at the time it was written. Almost all men and women of the list originated in lower Normandy, and Bocage in particular, as evidenced by their surnames. The protestant community in this region is estimated to have been  1,300 people – this is according to Protestant historians who have studied a list. Almost a third of these families came to settle in Jersey.



The Edict of Nantes in 1598 gave the Huguenots some protection.

In Jersey there was a sudden influx of Huguenots as Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, effectively depriving them of the freedom to practice their religion by brutal methods : (in accordance of catholic hierarchy):prosecutions : prisons, galley slaves, no property rights, “dragonnades”etc, etc [4]


“……..From Jersey many years later a Clement Noel moved to Freshwater Conception Bay near Carbonear, Newfoundland”

Clement’s first documented child is Elizabeth born ca 1850.

Possible Sons from combining info from Selby-Norman-Pete

1. Clement Jr  b ca 1760 m Patience Taylor 1788  pretty clear  – given land

2.  John b 1761 ma Frances Moores 1781 pretty clear – given land

3. Nicolas Noel Sr (ca 1752) born in Newfoundland

Nicholas is a common name of the Brixham , Devon lines.

Newal John Nicolas & Frances 29 May 1785 St Paul’s, Harbour Grace
Noel George Nicolas & Frances by Rev. John Jones 15 Jan 1804 1st Congregational, St John’s

In 1794 he appears in the census of Quidi Vidi.

4. Unknown Noel??? George?? drowned per vague oral history from Selby Noel

5. Possibly  James Newell  of Bareneed

Harbour Grace/Bryant’s Cove

Definite Jersey

The only confirmed family link across to Jersey is Josue Noel (born ca 1770) of Philippe Noel and Rachel Le Cornu. It now seems a possibility as well that there was a Lecornu Jersey Merchant (Matthew Martin document) in Harbour Grace around 1800 as well. (not known if there is a connection). This seems to be a line that ends.

Probably Jersey

1) Another account had an ancestor, her grandfather “chased out of Jersey to Sheffield, England, and then to NF”. I heavily discounted this account. It does have some possibilities though. Some Nowells of Somerset were Quakers. It seems they were chased out of their locale – some heading to the North. Also looking through the Noels in the Quaker database some seemed to have originated in France possibly coming via Jersey.

2) Moses Noel born 1816 had a grandson Norman who stated that his family fled France to Jersey during the Huguenot persecution. This would mean that the Noels in Harbour Grace were not from a long-established family in Jersey.

C. Noel reports oral history that Moses Noel was related to the Carbonear Noels.

Another character has left a thin trail in Harbour Grace. John Noel (Newall) was a Bristol Merchant who leased land in Harbour Grace for his agent. He died in 1805/6 leaving an insolvent estate. His estate document describes him as “late of Harbour Grace’. We know he did business from Harbour Grace to Quebec and New Brunswick.

From The Newfoundland Quarterly – Spring 1936

“The Jerseymen Of Harbour Grace”

Quoted from the Survey of Settlements 1804…

“on the Southside of Harbour Grace the executors of John Clement claim 330 yards waterfront west from the Stone House. The Noels and the Yetman’s still living there are also originally Jersey families and related to the Clements”

Seary has a John Clements in Bay Roberts in 1760 and a William Clemens of Brigus 1709. I am finding DNA connections to the French and Earle families in these areas.


William Noel (arrive ca 1826) – seems to have the best oral history and following that oral history would be the logical next step. Hopefully military records would be a first step into gaining further insights. The Decks Awash publication say the Noels were from Devon or Dorset. I would assume they were referring to this line. William was apparently born in Wales though of English heritage. The Brixham Fishing  Nowells of Devon had a branch in Tenby, Wales.

Newells in Carbonear

One line of the Trinity Newells established in Carbonear. The origins of this early line are unknown but likely south England, possibly Hampshire. Brixham, Devon has a Knowling family that lines up nicely. Nicholas  Newell said his family was in Newfoundland for 100 years in 1794. This would be true of the Trinity Newells. Thomas Cole found the James Newell line of Trinity possibly has some descendants  unaccounted for.

Carbonear Noel/Newells spread out?

Ted Newell of Bareneed recorded:

James Newell of Bareneed b ca 1760

Nicholas Newell of Pouch Cove b ca 1752

Isaac Noel of Burnthead b ca 1765


from Dr. W. Gordon Handcock’s 1989 book


(Origins of English Settlement in Newfoundland);
Breakwater Books ISBN no’s 0-920911-55-2/paper and 0-920911-80-3/bound;

page 250.

Family names associated with the Nfld fishery from Teignmouth-Shaldon (Devon):

Ashford, Babb, Bickford, Bulley, Codner, Cornish, Harvey, Mudge, Pinson, Prowse, Row, Squarey, Stephens, Tapley and Whiteway.

From the Torbay-Dartmouth (Devon) area:

Carter, Congdon, Dodd, Evans, Godfrey, Goodridge, Griffin, Henley, Hutchings, Hutton, Lee, Luscombe, Marshall, Martin, Matthews, Morry, Perriman, Phillips, Pope, Rich, Seally, Searle, Soper, Squires, Sparkes, Storey, Tremblett and Way.

From Poole, Dorset:

Anstey, Corban, Durrell, Etheridge, Frampton, Gale, Gould, Harrison, Hooper, Keats, Knight, Linthorne, Newell, Pike, Randell, Taverner, Vallis, White, and Wise.