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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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A Bit Gruesome



There is a website which is called “londonlives” which has information going back to the 1600’s and I thought I would search Muckleston – as I tend to do on every site I visit. The search bought up details of a number of wills for our Shropshire ancestors that were proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury but there was also a reference to two brothers Roger and John Muckleston alias Mugleston. At first I was not sure they were family members but further investigation leads me to believe the following to be true:

David Muckleston was born in Oswestry Shropshire on the Welsh border in 1627and became a butcher of that town. He married three times, his first wife Elizabeth gave him four children two of whom died in infancy. Elizabeth died in 1658 when her two sons Roger was just 9 years old and John aged 7. A marriage to Catherine followed (she died in 1673) and his final wife (who became his widow) was Margaret Morris. There were no children of the latter two marriages but in those days David was lucky to have two sons grow to adulthood. It was a volatile time the Civil War had raged from 1642 to1651, the King had been executed and Cromwell was in charge. Things settled down in 1660 when Charles II returned from exile and took the throne. I suspect that David and his sons kept their heads down during this period and that the family business did well. Second son John had become a Corvisor / leather worker which probably fitted in well with his father and elder brother’s occupation as butchers. Both sons married, Roger to Katherin and they had a daughter Mary, born in 1681 and John married Lucy and had a son Samuel born in 1672.


Could it be that things changed? or maybe the sons wanted a better life but things were to change dramatically for these families. In 1683 both Roger (34) and John (32) were charged with treason and taken from their home in Oswestry to London and were imprisoned pending trial. The charge was coin clipping and John Harris was also charged (possibly someone who was connected to their father’s third wife). Until the mid 20th century, coins were often made of silver or gold which were quite soft and prone to wear. This meant coins naturally got lighter (and thus less valuable) as they aged, so coins that had lost a small amount of bullion would go unnoticed. Clipping is the act of shaving off a small portion of a precious metal coin for profit. Over time the precious metal clippings could be saved up and melted into bullion or used to make new coins. Coin clipping was usually considered by the law to be of a similar magnitude to counterfeiting and was treated as treason.

Records from the Old Bailey where the trials for treason were held give the following information:


John Muglestone (alias Muckleston) , Roger Muglestone (alias Muckleston), and John Harris , were tryed for Clipping the Currant Coine of this Kingdom, as Elizabeth, James, and Charles the First, Halfe-Crowns, Shillings, &c. The Evidence was, that the former of the Prisoners had at diverse times been seen to Clip and File Money, and that he sent a Youth to sell diverse quantities of melted Silver, with one of which Parcels being seized by the Goldsmith to whom he offered it, he confessed where he had it, upon which the Prisoners House was searched, where divers Shears, Melting-Pots, Files, and other such like Instruments were found: As also, a considerable quantity of Clipped Money: As to the Second Person he was Brother to the former, and assisting to him in his defrauding Occupation: And against Harris it was sworn, that he furnished the Prisoners with Money, and had Six-pence in the Pound for Clipping, and that he had of a long time been of Confederacy with them; upon which, and sundry other Circumstances, as the Instruments being produced in Court, and the Bars of melted Silver, and the like, the Jury found them all three guilty of the High-Treason, as in the Indictment layed.

The date of the trial was given as 10th July 1683. The summary of the sentences of the sentences of the sessions read:


On Saturday the Grand Jury delivered an Address in order to its being presented to His Majesty, expressing therein the Joy they conceive for the Preservation of His Majesties Sacred Person, and their just detestation and abhorrence of the detestable Conspiracy lately carried on to Depose and Murder him and to Subvert the Government, &c.

This Sessions William Lord Russel, Thomas Walcot, John Rouse and William Hone, received Sentence for High-Treason as Conspirators, John Mugglestone (Muckleston), John Harris, and Roger Mugglestone (Muckleston), were likewise Sentenced for High-Treason for Clipping and Defacing the Currant Coin of this Kingdom, Thomas Wilson, Miles Johnson, John Spittle, William Gratrix, Mary Chamberlaine, and Elizabeth Simmes, were Sentenced for diverse Robberies and Fellonies, these for Treason to be Drawn, Hang'd and Quartered, and the others to be hanged only.


George Jones, Richard Simnel, Jonathan Ball, and Benjamin Cooper, were Burnt in the hand, John Knot, Will. Knowles, Joseph Drumply, and Thomas Barret ordered for Transportation, and so ended this Remarkable Sessions.


It was called a remarkable session as William Lord Russel1 et al were part of the Rye House plot which aimed to assassinated King Charles II and his brother James. As a lord Russell was beheaded but many of his co-conspirators had the same fate as John and Roger who were on trial at the same sessions.  


When Roger’s wife Katherin died in 1688 she was recorded in the burial registers as a widow. The Oswestry registers do not show any deaths for Roger or John and therefore everything would point to these individuals being David’s sons. David himself died in 1685. His sons were just 34 and 32 when they lost their lives. As far as we can tell Samuel (son of John) became a Collier in the coalfields of nearby Trefonen and had 7 children. We are unsure what happened to Mary, but there was a grocer called Mary Muckleston in Oswestry who died in 1728.


John is a direct ancestor to Edward Muckleston who emigrated to the USA in 1846 from Trevonen in Wales and he has many descendants alive today.