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Muckleston Family History Group

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Family Reunions 1997 and 2001

Family Gathering 1997


The gathering took place over the weekend of the 19th / 20th and 21st of September 1997 with the following people attending:-


Janet Mackleston, Bill Mackleston, Keith Muckleston and his wife Bettie, Judith Mackleston, Paul Muckleston and his wife Leslie, George Muckleston and his wife Katherine, Peter Muckleston, Michael Muckleston and his wife Jacquie, Robert (Bob) Muckleston and his wife Muriel, Rupert Muckleston and his wife Betty, Cynthia Ferguson and Colin Hancock, Liza Lockwood and her husband Fred and 5 week old Baby 'Ellena Catie Muckleston Lockwood', Joyce Sullivan, her son Anthony and sister Doris Cook, Pat Justice and her partner Barry Thillimore, Betty Hayden and her husband David           


Twenty eight people if you include baby Ellena.





                                      Photograph taken outside Merrington Old Hall.


Friday - My father, sister Judith and I arrived at the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury at 2pm, we knew that both Keith and Betty from the USA had arrived earlier in the week as had Rupert and Betty from Australia, but they were all out of the hotel when we arrived.


Once settled in our rooms we went about setting up a display of material relevant to the family in a meeting room in the hotel. Prior to the reunion we had prepared family trees on large sheets of card for all those branches with representatives, plus trees for the early and monied Mucklestons, everyone attending could then see how they were related to each other. We also prepared large sheets of card containing newspaper cuttings and other articles relating to the family, for example those on Milo Muckleston the famous american lawyer and baseball player, and Trooper John Muckleston who was responsible for the death of one of Australia's most notorious outlaws, there was material on many other people in the family. Details of the emigration of the American branch were displayed with maps depicting the journey that was taken.


Irene Jenner and Neil Priddy had sent “Greetings from Australia” poster depicting their descendance from the Mucklestons who had emigrated to Australia and this was also on display. Other information included copies of Joseph's shares and Edward's army letters and all previous copies of Muckleston Miscellany.


Books containing data such as births marriages and deaths, the census returns and wills we had located were all available for consultation.


Photographs taken of memorial stones, ex family homes and a book on Toddington containing photographs of Mucklestons (some still alive today) were on display.


Reference books such as the Domesday Book (not the original), Genealogical Research Directories, Guides to Genealogical research topics and maps depicting where the Mucklestons lived each century were also available.


Once the room was set up we decided we deserved a drink, but would you believe it the bar was not open! and we had to settle for a cold drink from the local newsagent. Once refreshed we decided to let the desk know that we were ready to greet our guests as they arrived and asked them to let any Mucklestons know that we were in the Pickwick room when they arrived. At which point the two couples sitting next to reception piped up “we are Muckleston’s!” They had been there for some time and we had passed them each time we had brought material from the car, they turned out to be Pat Justice, Barry Thillimore, Betty and David Hayden. After introductions we told them where to find us once they finished their drinks. As we were leaving them, a couple entered the hotel and Pat said “that looks like our cousin Cynthia Ferguson but that’s not her husband” – was this to be the scandal of the weekend I asked myself. We were all hovering around the reception desk as she gave her name and sure enough it was Cynthia accompanied by her new husband Colin Hancock – no not a clandestine weekend – she had simply remarried but kept her former name for business purposes.


Bill, Judith and I returned to the Pickwick room where the next to arrive was Bob Muckleston and Muriel, who stated they would like a cup of teas before they started looking at any material, they seemed distracted and it later emerged that Bob’s sister had died earlier that day, he decided to remain with us for the weekend and I like to think that the company helped to ease the situation in some small way.


By early evening only eight of the group had not arrived and we decided to freshen up before dinner and meet in the bar. Peter Muckleston had arrived after we closed the meeting room and met us in the bar. Just before eight Joyce Sullivan, her son and sister arrived having had an horrendous journey up from East London and lastly came Paul and Mike (the "two brothers" as they became known) with their wives, still in an exceptionally good mood considering that they had driven through the Friday evening traffic all the way from Kent.


The hotel had allocated us a separate part of the restaurant. One very nice touch from the Hotel was that they had put on the top of the menu's MUCKLESTON FAMILY HISTORY GROUP REUNION DINNER and these menus became collectors’ items by those attending the gathering. The food was delicious and afterwards some of the group moved to the bar with others deciding on an early night especially as they had a walk around Shrewsbury to contend with the next day. Paul handed me a name and address for a Ray Mackleston who works for the same firm - it turned out to be fathers cousin.


I was one of those who decided on an early night, so I cannot tell you what went on in the bar, but I did hear that Keith (from the USA) had played mediator in a discussion on Scottish devolution between a group of Scots down for a wedding and a few of our party, he must have done a good job as there was no sign of bruises the next morning.


Saturday dawned dry if a little overcast and we put our coats on for our tour of places of family interest in Shrewsbury. Bill had put together a guide entitled "The Muckleston Trail" for each member of the group describing the walk we were about to undertake along with information on the family connection with each place, plus other places of interest in the town. Placed in a plastic pocket in case of rain, these guides were to prove very useful.


Having met in the Pickwick room we set off on our journey a little later than planned. Starting in Wyle Cop where the hotel was situated, Bill (in his role as tour guide) tried to relate this streets connections with our family but was drowned out by traffic at this spot, only those very close to him could hear, the rest of us consulted our guides.


We then moved across to the churches most of which are redundant now and we were all amazed as to how close together they were, especially St Alkmunds and St Julians that were literally next door to each other. Standing in St Alkmunds Square was better as there was no traffic in this part of town and Bill could relate to everyone which family members had lived here at one time, we even picked up a couple of non family members who thought they had latched on to an official tour group, but they soon lost interest when the name Muckleston was mentioned a number of times.


We then moved across to St Mary's church where many of our family had been christened, married and buried, now a redundant church it had been opened specially for our visit and the gentleman who had opened the church for us gave us a little talk about the beautiful glass and carvings in the church. Now on our way to the record office we walked through streets where the family had once lived and worked, with Bill giving a running commentary along the way. We then arrived at what was once the Shrewsbury school which many Muckleston's attended before going on to Oxford or Cambridge and again Bill gave a brief talk over the traffic - by now losing his voice he had to have a throat sweet.


In to the record office, they had done us proud, a separate room was put to one side and material relating to the family had been displayed in such a manner as everyone could be looking at something. On display were a number of family pedigrees, some written as early as the 1700's (not by me!). Joseph's accounts book, plus letters from and to Joseph. The estate book drawn up by the executors of Joseph's will was also there, as well as copies of his shares in various canals. Letters from and to Edward were also to be seen. We lingered far longer than was planned here and I was very conscious of pulling everyone away but we had asked for the room to be available from 10.30 to 11.30 - it was 11.15 when we arrived and almost 12.45 when we left.


In need of a drink we continued the tour knowing that there was a cafe only 15 minutes away where we could get a drink of tea.


That morning I had spoken to Bettie Muckleston (Keiths wife) over breakfast and had stated that I hoped that nothing would go wrong and she said "but it will and we will all laugh". I was soon of the opinion that Bettie is psychic, as we approached the pretty riverside cafe, having taken our lives in our hands to cross a busy road, we found it was closed! By now we were all ready for a drink and a sit down but there were no more cafes in sight. With a quick brief to Bill to keep them walking in the direction originally planned, Judith and I set off on a scouting trip. The first pub we came to had a sign saying coffee available and we quickly popped our heads around the door saying do you do tea, having received a positive response and not giving him chance to reply I shouted 'I will be back in a moment with 28 people'.


Our little group was heading towards us and were told "the pub has the kettle on and  we can take a break there". On entering the bar man said I don't know if I have that many cups, but with some of us opting for soft drinks he coped very well. It was only when we were sitting down that we started to look around the pub, my sister Judith who has a great deal of experience in these matters pointed out that you can always tell how rough a pub was by the size of the barman - believe me he was huge!


Now fully refreshed we continued our walk along streets of interest to the family, eventually arriving at  number 2 Quarry Place, which was once the home of Edward Muckleston, the Army Lieutenant and Magistrate of the town. From there we crossed the road to St Chads church, which had very strong links with the family and which also has a stained glass window depicting the family coat of arms as a memorial to the previously mentioned Edward Muckleston - the only window in the church of a non religious nature.


Having left the church we continued to walk through the town, conscious that our group was a little smaller - they had all been given maps of the town so we were not overly concerned - on arriving in the High Street as Bill was giving the final part of his talk, six people led by Cynthia came running up saying that they had found yet another memorial to the family in St Chads in an upper part of the church but that we had left before they could point it out to us.

It was now after 2pm and some were tired and hungry, the tour at an end everyone dispersed to do their own thing, agreeing to meet in the bar before dinner that evening.


We also once again opened the meeting room and those who had brought their own family memorabilia displayed it on the tables provided, others came for a second look at the material display and generally asked my father and I a lot of questions, most we could answer - some for our ever growing pending file.


Prior to dinner I placed a little gift for each person attending the gathering on the dinner table and also arranged out of left over funds that wine should also be served with the meal.


On entering the dining room, we asked everyone to change table and sit with someone they had not got to know very well either the previous evening or that day. The presents were opened and found to be a mug containing the family coat of arms with "Muckleston Reunion 1997" written on them. A limited edition (only 36 made), many said that they would grace the china cabinet rather than be used for morning coffee. The presents having been received well, once again we had the special menus, more mementos for the group.


The 'sit at a different table policy' also seemed to work well, everyone lingered for a long time over coffee and most also headed for the bar. Baby Ellena was made a great fuss over as the latest edition to the family and was being held by a different member of the group each time I saw her, with extremely proud father Fred looking on. Mike also related a visit to a local shop, where on mentioning the name Muckleston was told by the shop keeper that he once knew a John Muckleston a chicken farmer, hoping that this would bring in a potential new line of enquiry Mike passed on this piece of information.


Unfortunately the gentleman in question was one John Corbett Muckleston a poultry farmer who died in Coventry in 1974 and who can be found as a direct descendant of the monied Mucklestons on the family tree.


Sunday dawned bright and sunny and next morning over breakfast, I was constantly approached by members of the group with such comments as "how did you ever manage to put such a convivial group together", "I have enjoyed talking to so many interesting people", "We knew what the itinery was before we came along but we were worried about spending the weekend with so many strangers", "I really enjoyed talking to the brothers last night", "Isn't everyone so nice, we all get on so well" etc. I really appreciated these comments as I did not want the weekend simply to be a couple of days visiting places of family interest, but also a way of members of the family history group getting to know each other a little better - I know for a fact that Christmas card lists will be longer as a result of this gathering.


We had agreed to meet in the meeting room prior to departing on the coach for one last look at the material on display and our coach duly arrived at the appointed time. Our driver a Bruce Grobbelar look alike was in good humour and the day started with the drive to MUCKLESTONE for the morning church service. Bill sat at the front with the microphone and kept everyone informed about interesting places that we passed mixed in with a few of his jokes.


On arrival at MUCKLESTONE we all walked down to the street sign depicting the word MUCKLESTONE, on our way we passed a group of people in medieval dress who turned out to be members of the AUDLEY family celebrating the battle of "Blore Heath" who were also attending the service. On reaching the sign we all stood underneath to have our photographs taken as a group, we had co-opted Roy our friendly coach driver into taking the photographs and he had quite a collection of cameras around his neck and in his pocket - we had to keep reminding him which ones he had used! Although there are three signs on the outskirts of the village depicting the name, this sign was the best site for a group photograph, unfortunately it was the only one with the letter 'e' still at the end - family members had obviously been this way before and taken the 'e' off the other signs! Bob did his best by putting first his hand over and then his head in front of the 'e' at the end of this sign.


We then walked up to the church for the service, being a very small village our group and the Audley household doubled the congregation this week. Unfortunately despite my father speaking to the vicar's daughter on a couple of occasions there had been a breakdown in communication, it transpires that my father phoning to confirm that the Muckleston group would be attending the family service on this particular Sunday had been met with the comment, yes I know he is expecting you. She probably knew he was expecting a family group (the Audleys) but not the name - not realising that there were two groups intending to turn up.


Nevertheless the service was good. At one point one of the Audleys stood up and talked about the family, relating that one Lord Audley had been in charge of Queen Margarets forces at the battle of Blore Heath in 1459 and he mentioned that the Audleys had owned most of the land around these parts. As we were in church this boast went unchallenged but I expected a re-enactment of the battle outside, after all our family once owned most of the land around that area. We decided to let them off on the basis that the land holding had been about 100 years apart and they did take it from the people who took it from our family.


After the service the vicar very kindly served coffee and we all had a chat with the villagers of Mucklestone, the Audleys and the Vicar. The vicar was presented with one of the 'Reunion' mugs, plus a donation to the church. Photographs were taken in the church especially of the board of Rectors of Mucklestone that included Adam de Mucklestone 1356 - 1357.


Everyone was happily snapping away, taking photos of the church, the graveyard, the Audley family in costume but time was moving on and we were expected elsewhere, when someone said to me "have we got time to go up the tower?" to which I replied "we need to be leaving in the next ten minutes" "no problem was the reply". As soon as I turned away from this conversation I heard one of the Audley family say "Can we go up the tower" only to hear the vicar reply "I will have to say no to that request for health and safety reasons the tower is not safe and is shored up in places". That puts paid to that I thought, but it means we will get back quicker.


As I left the church I saw a couple of our party at the front of the church and a couple walking back to the coach, thinking by now the missing dozen or so must be on the coach, I started to walk towards it myself, turning to check that the couple behind me were aware we were leaving. As I turned I realised that the missing dozen had in fact found access to the tower and were standing on top of it - Peter tells me that he has a photograph of the appalled look on my face when I realised that half the party were at the top of this "unsafe" tower. You can imagine the headlines, they would be a newspaper editors dream "Mucklestons perish at Mucklestone", Bill even pointed out that the vicar was on hand, bulk burial would be cheap and we would have some readable memorials in Mucklestone once again!


Eventually the party returned to the coach having obtained (I hope) some fantastic photographs of the surrounding countryside, back on the coach someone was missing - Paul  (usually last) - this time on his way up the tower with his camcorder!


Eventually we departed Mucklestone and we ate at a pub to the north of Shrewsbury - unfortunately a little rushed as we were expected at Merrington Hall at 2pm. As it was we were only a little late arriving at 2.20 to be greeted by the owner at that time Audrey Partington. Audrey had kindly agreed to show us around the house and gardens, the house once having being the main residence of our wealthy ancestors. Built in 1580 this Elizabethan Manor House came into the family through marriage in 1615.


Audrey had moved into the house with her late husband after her marriage in the late 1940's. We agreed to split into three groups, one for Audrey to show around the house, one for Bill to show the beautiful gardens and another group followed me down to a inscribed stone next to a well and pump. The well had been sunk by Elizabeth Slaney nee Muckleston to the benefit of the villagers and her daughter had completed the work as a memorial to her mother by adding a pump, plus the stone.


On walking back up to the house, we passed lots of luscious looking blackberries and on turning into the grounds of the house we passed, damson, pear and other fruit trees in a mini orchard to one side of the house. As we arrived in the garden it appeared that the garden group and the house group had merged and were looking at a field in which there were donkeys and sheep. The field is part of Audrey's land and they are her donkeys, the sheep were there as Audrey hires out the field. The gardens are beautiful and have to be seen to be believed and there is a lawn to die for!, Many of the group ran out of film here, there was so much to photograph, both in the house and garden.


Audrey gave a tour of the house explaining that when she had central heating installed a lot of structural problems emerged. One wall was repaired in the original style at a cost of £67,000 in 1987 which explained our initial confusion as to why there was a plaque on the wall saying 1987 when the house is so obviously so much older than that. Over £100,000 has been spent on renovating the house which did not become a listed building until 1988 and therefore at the time of the repairs no grant was available. The previous list of listed buildings was drawn up in the 1930's and it would appear that this house was overlooked at that time.


As we wandered freely around the house, we all could clearly imagine our ancestors sitting and sleeping in the rooms we were walking through.


There is an unexplained space between two fireplaces in the downstairs rooms, that is not explained by the fireplaces - a priesthole perhaps? The floors are very uneven upstairs and one bedroom floor had to be straightened to enable them to sleep in the bed without rolling out.


The old "back stairs" still exist but they were closed off to facilitate a second bathroom, the stairs are now used to store a bottle or two of wine. An extension to the house was built in the Victorian Era.

Offers to allow the visitors to climb into the old roof space to see the timbers were declined. The house has five chimney stacks but Audrey can only identify four fireplaces. An old inglenook fireplace was altered to its present state four years prior to Audrey moving into the house, much to Audrey's disappointment.


The dining room floor is tiled and when they decided to carpet it they had to have the carpet stretched with rings and nail the rings into the floor, they found that the tiles had nothing holding them in place or support them other than sand but regardless of this the floor has yet to collapse.


When Audrey moved in the windows were bricked up to what is currently the top of the lower pane of glass (about a foot from the bottom) this meant that you could not see outside of the house when you were sitting in the room, Audrey had the bricks removed to give a better view and more light in the rooms.


Audrey's hospitality knew no bounds, not only did she allow us to roam around her house freely she also asked a couple of friends around to serve us tea, with the constant question "who wants another cup?"


We presented Audrey with a basket of dried flowers, a book on researching the History of Your House and a couple of Reunion mugs, she said the best reward would be to keep receiving Miscellany and she has now been made a honorary member of the group.


We had to drag ourselves away, it was a beautifully sunny afternoon and if we had not had a coach waiting with a deadline of 5pm to be back we would have stayed longer as it was it was now 4pm.


We could not however, leave without a group photograph outside Merrington Old Hall as it is now known. Audrey reached for her camera, handing it to her neighbour Maurice to take a shot, and Maurice was inundated with cameras, a cry went up "call for the coach driver we have him trained". Maurice was however, well organised he put all the cameras on one side of the lawn and as soon as he had taken a photograph he put the camera on the opposite side of the lawn.


Audrey has stated that neither her son or daughter are overly keen on the house and she would love it to go to someone who would care for it as she had, and would it not be marvellous if that was a Muckleston - so if you win the lottery keep it in mind!


Back on the coach we drove through Walford and Prescott where Joseph Muckleston once lived and on to Baschurch. Inside the church at Baschurch are some beautiful memorials to the family, unfortunately many people had by this time run out of film but a few photographs were taken. I also took this opportunity to check out some information I had found on my last visit to the Record Office which indicated that there was a Muckleston grave in this churchyard, one William Hawkins Muckleston, a doctor who died at an early age, his daughter was the heiress to both his and Joseph's estates. The grave was in fact found right against the wall of the church where the records indicated it would be, hard to read, Paul and Colin started to clean up the stone and the words Muckleston and 1787 were soon readable enough to take some photographs.


Back on the coach we headed back to the hotel driving through Myddle - remember the book written by Richard Gough in 1702 that relates to the church attendees at Myddle and that mentions the Mucklestons. We had hoped to visit Preston Gubbals but unfortunately we had spent far longer than planned at Merrington and it was 5.30 when we arrived back at the hotel.


Just before we arrived back at the hotel Bill and I were presented with Cards signed by the group and Mike thanked us for our efforts, we were touched and grateful for the thanks and will treasure the cards.


We now had some goodbyes to say. The "brothers" and their wives had to depart as both were working the next day, as did Liza and Fred Lockwood and Baby and Cynthia Ferguson, Colin and her brother Peter Muckleston, now down to a party of 18. Judith and I headed for the meeting room to pack away the material while the others ordered tea or rested in their rooms prior to dinner.


We once again went into dinner to read and retain the now familiar menus. A nice touch I saw was when Bob and Muriel entered the dining room last, we were seated in such a way that they ended up sitting on a table on their own, on realising this Pat and Barry who were sitting with two other couples on a table for six moved seats and joined them for dinner. Again there was a lot of lingering over coffee and drinks in the bar afterwards.


The rest of the goodbyes were said at breakfast next morning, with everyone saying what a good weekend it had been. Only one person was brave enough to ask when the next reunion would be and that was Peter who wrote on the card "We must do it again". It does seem that many of those attending this time would like to do it again perhaps in a couple of years or so.


I would personally like to publicly thank my father Bill, who I know walked around Shrewsbury at least five times making sure that the route was of interest and making sure that we walked up hill as little as possible, who also organised the churches, visit to Merrington Old Hall and the record office, he is no spring chicken and I know he tired himself out on a number of occasions. I would also like to thank those who attended the weekend it was a pleasure to put faces to names, it makes contact so much easier, thank you all for being such good company and continuing to take such an interest in the research into the family.


Since this article was written some of the attendees have passed away, they include my father Bill Mackleston, Rupert Muckleston, Bob Muckleston, George Muckleston and Keith's wife Bettie.

Janet Mackleston


Reunion April 2001

Once again on Friday 27th April we gathered at The Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury for the second Muckleston reunion. By the time the event took place the original group of 35 had shrunk to just 11 of us staying at the hotel, but this was boosted by people joining us for the day.  An outbreak of foot and mouth had also had an impact. Janet and Bill arrived later than planned and quickly set up the Pickwick room to display all the family material, including the setting up of the computer equipment. On arrival at the Pickwick Room everyone was given a folder which contained the itinerary, maps of the areas we planned to visit (in case we lost anyone), a copy of each family members direct ancestry in the form of a family tree and information on the local area.


The material displayed included many family trees including one massive family tree, which had to be fixed to the wall, showing the family connection with many of the kings of England, unfortunately on a couple of occasions on the wrong side of the blanket. There were wills and newspaper cuttings and lots of other information relating to the family. Everyone was encouraged to sit at the computer and input their own family information. All too often we have the year that events took place but not exact dates and many occupations were missing.


After a thorough browse we all retired to the bar for a pre-dinner drink, the bar was full of sailors! They were all submariners who claimed the service had connections with the town although there are few places in the country farther from the sea. Muriel Muckleston was soon chatting them up, Janet thought she would get into the act seeing a free drink in the offing but they were more interested in trying to get us to buy them drinks! How times have changed! Dinner was lovely and after having coffee in the bar we were all tired from travelling and soon headed for bed.


A good English breakfast saw us all ready for the trip to Oswestry, where the family had large estates over 600 years ago. As you would expect there was little physical evidence of the Muckleston family now except for in St Oswald's church, where there was a memorial to a rector. At the church we met up with Mark Hope and his family. Mark is descended from a London Muckleston, one of the many loose ends we still have to connect to the main family tree. After a walk around Oswestry we all scattered for some personal sightseeing and lunch, over which we got to know Mark better, Joyce Pelling was especially pleased to meet him as he thought she was the spitting image of his grandmother and Joyce is now keen to connect the two branches.

Saying goodbye to Mark and Family we joined the coach for a tour of the villages along the welsh border which have family connections they included Llansilin, Llanyblodwell, Treflach, Trefonen, Maesbury, Pen y Lan, Llanvorda, Crickheath, Pant, Llanymynech and Knockin. A particular welcome greeted us in Llanymynech, a village split in two by the English/Welsh border as we were met by the Vicar on entering the church, who gave a very thorough guided tour of his church of which he was clearly proud. Many family baptisms, marriages and burials had taken place in this church.


Arriving back at the hotel having had lots of fresh air and exercise, some returned to the Pickwick room for further perusal of the family history material. Some retired to their rooms for a late afternoon nap. Again meeting in the bar for a pre dinner drink this time we had soldiers for company – they were at a wedding reception being held at the hotel.


The evening meal saw lots of lively conversation (this was one of the advantages of a smaller group), both about family matters and other things such as “what do you call the final course of your meal - sweet, pudding or afters?” Yes we were tired! Coffee once again and for most an early night after all that fresh air, many of us were tired and some of us not getting any younger.


Sunday arrived bright and sunny – no sign of the threatened rain – the one short shower on Saturday had happened when we were on the coach and we considered ourselves lucky with the weather. After breakfast we greeted David Pelling another Muckleston descendant who had chosen to join us for the day – a nephew of Joyce Pelling and Doris Cook. It was a glorious day with views of the welsh hills as we ventured once more into the countryside to visit the old family estate and house at Merrington. Once again Audrey Partington was an accommodating hostess, how she puts up with everyone digging into the nooks and crannies of her home I do not know. and her garden is absolutely beautiful. Having admired the house and had the obligatory photos taken outside the building we were on our way to Baschurch for lunch (yes we did spend a lot of time eating!).


We had a lovely lunch in the pub opposite the church, unfortunately without knowing it at the time, I dragged everyone away before they had had their coffee (I don’t drink it myself and did not realise how vital caffeine is to keep people going!). We then crossed the road and visited the church which contained many memorials to family members. A discussion ensued as to whether or not Peter and Cynthia could do a rubbing of William Hawkins Mucklestons tombstone to see if there was anyone else in there with him (we are missing the body of his brother the “millionaire” Joseph Muckleston a major landowner in these parts). A light shower – the only one of the day – soon put paid to that idea, but we will be back!


Back on the coach and time for the relatively long drive back to Mucklestone itself, and a chance for one or two short afternoon naps, yes we did as much sleeping as eating! On arrival at Mucklestone the only evidence of the foot and mouth crisis, (despite visiting many farming communities, our trip had been restriction free), was that before entering the church where we were required to walk across a disinfected mat.


Looking around the church and walking across land that our ancestors would have walked over more than 900 years ago left us with a feeling of awe. The church tower is no longer safe and was not accessible. Craig Muckleston then joined us as he was staying with friends in Sandbach while job hunting in England. Craig at that time was living in South Africa, fancy thinking of leaving all that nice weather behind and coming to England! I guess safety is more important though.


After a flurry of introductions and an all too brief chat we walked down to the Mucklestone sign at the entrance of the village to have the traditional photograph taken. We then returned to the hotel for dinner and a final evening of chat before returning home the next day.