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Muckleston Family History Group

researching all references to the surnames Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muckelston and Mackleston please get in touch via the contact us page with any additional information or to correct any errors.

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The earliest record of a Muckleston in the rural county of Bedfordshire, found so far, is the baptism of Susan Muckleston daughter of Edward and Mary which took place in Streatley on 2nd March 1772.

 

There is however a marriage of a John Muckleton to Martha Waters in Toddington in 1760, who may be a relative of Edward with the surname spelt differently. The deaths of James and Anne Muckleton are also registered in Harlington in 1814 and 1816 respectively as they reach the ages of 86 and 85; it is also possible that the Muckletons were a well established Bedfordshire family. As some of Edwards children went to work in Harlington it is possible that the Muckletons and Mucklestons were connected.

 

Further baptisms of Edward and Mary’s other children followed; Mary in 1774, Edward in 1778, James and William in 1783, Anne in 1784 and Thomas in 1787.

 

The entries in the Streatley registers on 28th September 1783 state that James and William were "publickly received". James and William were not twins they were simply baptised on the same day. It was not uncommon for parents to wait until a number of children required baptising to save on the cost. James was born about 1776 but William was born in 1771 and therefore 12 years old when he was baptised.

 

In 1697 the Settlement Act prevented strangers from residing in a parish unless they could demonstrate, by means of a settlement certificate, that their home parish would be willing to take them back if they fell on hard times and had to claim poor relief. Unfortunately the settlement certificates for Streatley in the 1770's do not survive and the mystery remains as to where Edward and his wife Mary came from prior to their appearance in Streatley. There is speculation that a surname change may have taken place. The surname Muggleton was reasonably commonplace in the counties North of Bedfordshire. Could it be that the clergyman carrying out the baptism misheard the name and spelt it Muckleston? There were a number of Muckleston clergymen alive at that time whom he may have known and therefore assumed this was his parishoner’s surname.

 

Edward was buried in Streatley on April 14th 1803; his wife's burial took place in 1816 in the same village. Edward’s occupation is not known although Streatley was very much a farming community and his eldest son (also Edward) became a farmer. The 1851 census shows Edward the son aged 74 a farmer of 150 acres at Westoning employing six labourers. Many of his descendants also became farmers at such places as Lilley Hoo Farm, Grounds Farm, Hockliffe and Lanes End Farm, Hockliffe.

 

William born in 1771 became a butcher probably in Harlington as it was here that his seven children were baptised. William died in 1839 when his youngest child was only 10 years old. His widow Ann aged 59 in the 1851 census, was shown as a Grocer in Toddington and obviously had to run a business to survive.

 

Many of William’s children and grandchildren were less successful than their farmer cousins becoming labourers and bricklayers. However, William’s great great grandson Charles Christian became an officer in the Merchant Navy having being appointed a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy in 1941. Charles's brother Harold Victor was another success becoming a Quantity Surveyor and Company Director.

 

Another success was William’s great grandson Herbert who, was a Company Director of a firm called Strawpurch. It just goes to show how fortunes and occupations can change from generation to generation although the farming and allied occupations theme continued.

 

Edward senior’s son James became a dealer in potatoes. Youngest son Thomas however remained in Streatley as a farmer at Harlington Grange dying there in 1847 aged 58. Thomas had 5 daughters and one son also called Thomas who can be found living with his uncle in 1851. A Thomas Muckleston died in Woburn Workhouse in 1884 and was said to be a farm labourer of Harlington born about 1826, he may be the same person. A Thomas Muckleston is showing as an Ag Lab lodging in the Sugar Loaf public house in Leagrave Luton in 1861 but has yet to be found on later censuses.

 

 

Map of Bedfordshire c 1830 Streatly is middle right.

 

 

Many of today's Mucklestons are descended from Edward and Mary and whilst some have retained the farming traditions, others are successful business people and others have emigrated to Canada and Australia.

 

 

Kellys Directory of Bedfordshire 1890

Trades Directory – Shopkeepers

Muckleston Thos., Toddington, Dunstable

Trades Directory - Farmers

Muckleston, Geo. Toddington Dunstable

Toddington, Bedfordshire – Commercial

Muckleston George, Beer Retailer

Muckleston George, Bricklayer

Muckleston, Geo. Farmer Long Lane Farm

Muckleston Thos. Shopkeeper & Bricklayer

 

The family moved out from Streatley across the county into places such as Harlington, Hockliffe, Toddington, Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable and Pulloxhill amongst others. See a later chapter for more on the Toddington Mucklestons.

 

 

St Mary the Virgin Church, Harlington.

 

Some of Edward’s descendants are buried in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church, Harlington. The memorial transcriptions from this church are as follows.

Thomas son of William and Ann Muckleston died Nov 6th 1856 aged 36

 

Ann wife of William Muckleston died 14th April 1861 aged 61

 

In memory of William Muckleston who departed this life November 1839 aged 72 years also Sarah daughter of the above aged 7 years. Show us thy mercy o lord, and grant us thy salvation.

 

Mary Ann daughter of William and Ann Muckleston died 5th September 1868 aged 52.

 

The History of Bedfordshire written in 1912 describes Harlington as follows:

 

The parish of Harlington covers an area of 1,904 acres, and has an average height of 300 ft. The ground rises gradually from the outskirts to the village in the centre of the parish, where it reaches 365 ft.

 

 The village of Harlington consists of three parts, the main portion being clustered near the church, not far from the station on the Midland Railway. Goswell End is situated about a quarter of a mile to the north of this portion, and East End about the same distance to the north-east. In the main village is the manor-house, a 17th-century building with later additions. Charles II is said to have slept in a room still pointed out here. It was here, too, that Bunyan was examined before being removed to Bedford gaol.

 

 At Upper East End, where the Wingates resided in the 18th century, is Horsehill Farm, in a field belonging to which a hollow oak is shown, from which Bunyan is said to have preached. From here a footpath runs north-east to Harlington Mill, which is still working, though no flour is now ground here. It is employed for gristing or grinding barley for pig-food. On the opposite side of the road is Harlington Grange Farm, in Streatley parish, an old building with modern additions (this was the farm that Thomas Muckleston owned). Before the Dissolution the grange and mill were the property of Woburn Abbey. About half a mile to the south of the village is Dyers' Hall Farm. Here is a fine timber barn in good preservation. On one of the uprights of this barn is cut the date 1769, probably by the occupier of the property at that time

 

One day hopefully we will be able to add the Bedfordshire branch to the main tree or prove that they were indeed formerly Muggletons.