Lady Margery Noble
Much has been written about the life and achievements of Sir Andrew Noble. Jesmond Dene House was in the ownership of Sir Andrew from 1871 until his death in 1915 and during that period it was his family’s main residence.
However, his wife Lady Margery Noble outlived him by 14 years and was a formidable and indeed fascinating personality in her own right (to which we will return). She died in 1929 at the age of 101 and the last grand party held at Jesmond Dene House was the celebration of her 100th birthday. There was a great reunion of the family and she received many presents and telegrams of congratulations. Those sending their good wishes included the King and Queen and E. V. Lucas, the famous English humourist. The latter sent his message in verse form and we reproduce it below in its entirety:
TO LADY NOBLE
On her 100th Birthday
April 6, 1928
Dear Lady Noble, may I add
A voice to those that praise,
In tones with pride to joy allied,
Your wondrous length of days?
When people talk of vintage years,
I say there’s no debate:
No year they name can have such fame
For in that year Dame Nature grew
Her very choicest wine;
‘A gift’ said she ‘to cross the sea
St Lawrence to the Tyne’.
Dear Lady Noble, may you live,
Encased by care and love,
As long as you desire to do
And then resume above.
You must not answer me in rhyme,
Although you rhyme so well;
I would not strain that precious brain
Your servant, E.V.L.
P.S – I had to telegraph,
Because, you see, you chose
To hold your fete upon a date
When postmen seek repose.
Despite blindness and great old age, Lady Noble replied as follows:
In days of yore ‘twas deemed a shame
A lady’s date or age to name,
But this distinction now I claim,
My only path to future fame.
The gifts and graces of the mind,
Attributed by friends so kind,
In me – alas! – I fail to find;
But thank you all, sweet souls so blind.
At lengthened years I can’t rebel,
Because of them I have to tell
Tributes my vanity to swell,
And witty rhymes from E.V.L.
M. D. Noble
Source: Life in Noble Houses by Humphrey Noble, grandson of Sir Andrew