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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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Pen Y Lan and Oswestry
 

 

An extract from Boroughs of Medieval Wales by R A Griffiths 1978 states....

 

“Throughout the Tudor period the borough of Oswestry was fundamentally Welsh in character. The early 14th century had seen impressive consolidated estates, in Oswestry, in borough estates like those of Richard and Cecilia De Camera. These early creations were followed by waves of Burghal capitalists like the Mucklestons, the Salters and the Wythifords who figure prominently in the extent of 1393 and who like their earlier counterparts hastened to invest their gains in the rural townships of the Lordship.

 

From the 14th to the 16th centuries there was considerable migration to other towns, such as Shrewsbury, especially by people who wished to become apprentices to the rapidly developing cloth trade. Others moved along the Severn Valley towards Bristol. Roger son of Roger de Muckleston of Oswestry was living in Bristol in 1400.”

 

There was a very good reason for Roger moving to Bristol – but more on that later.

 

The name of Oswestry derives from St Oswalds tree, St Oswald being a King of Northumbria who was martyred near Oswestry in 642 AD.  Situated as it is on the border between England and Wales, Oswestry held a strategic position in the Middle Ages. From the 12th to the 15th centuries it was used as a stronghold and supply base during English efforts to subdue the Welsh. In turn it was attacked and ransacked by the Welsh and at least twice (in 1233 and 1400), it was burned by them.

 

Because of their crucial role in defending the English borders (which were known as the Marches) the Marcher Lords as they were known, were given a great deal of personal independence by the King and their power (especially in the Reign of King John who set fire to Oswestry Castle in 1211), was sometimes a threat to the throne.

 

During the later middle ages Oswestry became known for its cloth made from Welsh wool and sold much of it to the Tailors and Clothiers of Shrewsbury.

 

In 1559 there was an outbreak of plague in which over 500 people died – a significant portion of the towns population at that time.

 

During the English Civil War Oswestry Castle was a Royalist stronghold under the command of Prince Rupert. The castle was attacked by Parliamentary forces in 1644 and surrendered after a short battle.

 

On January 13th 1673, Charles II granted a charter to the town allowing the appointment of a Mayor, Alderman, common councilmen and Burgesses. That same year John Muckleston was appointed a common councilman, finally becoming Mayor in 1692.

 

 

 

Oswestry Church (in 2005)

 

From the History of Oswestry (published in 1816).

 

“The velvet cushion and cloth in the pulpit (of the parish church) and the velvet cloth on the Communion table, having the Royal arms and A.R. 1702 marked thereon, were bequeathed by John Muckleston, Esq., Alderman, Mayor in 1692.”

 

The present church was crudely rebuilt during 1675 as it had been badly damaged during the Civil War, it was extensively altered between 1872 and 1874 to become the church you see today.

 

The Muckleston estates were at Pen y Lan and they were owned by the family until the end of the 17th century. Pen y Lan is on the southern outskirts of Oswestry and is officially in Shropshire. William Cathrall in his History of Oswestry written in 1855 wrote...

 

“Pen y Lan is a very beautiful house about one mile from Oswestry, the pleasure gardens and shrubberies are laid out with much skill”.

 

There is still a large house at Pen y Lan but the current building is only 180 years old and would obviously be the building to which Mr Cathrall refers. In 2009 this house was for sale at £1.1million and has 13 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and is set in 2.8 acres of fine gardens.

The family had strong connections with Oswestry and the church of St Oswalds in the town and feature strongly in the parish registers. The Pen Y Lan estates passed from eldest son to eldest son and some of the younger sons moved into Oswestry becoming prominent town folk and featuring in many early records of the town.

 

Hoeskyn de Muccleston married Gertrude Kynaston, the daughter of Hugh Kynaston. The Kynastons were a well known family in Shropshire and Wales. Hoeskyn and Gertrude had one known son who they called Roger, information taken from records show that he was known to be alive in 1366, 1379 and 1383. This Roger married Susan Offley and they had 3 sons.

 

There were problems between the brothers and in 1399 Roger was outlawed for feloniously killing his brother Richard. Hence his move down the Severn Valley to Bristol as mentioned earlier.

The Earl of Arundel raised a charter to seize Roger's lands now that he was an outlaw but Richard Ireland had beaten him to it by buying the lands. All was forgiven on payment of the sum of £20 by Richard Ireland to the Earl.

 

With Roger outlawed, we do not know what happened to him but had not traced any descendants, Richard now dead without children, that just left the third brother William to carry on the family name and take care of the estates.

 

Fortunately for all those Mucklestons’ alive today William had a son Thomas with his wife Rebecca Lucie. Thomas was known to be alive in 1407 and he went on to have a son William known to be alive in 1439 and who married Cecily Ireland. All these Muckleston men married into other wealthy families, thereby maintaining and enhancing their position within the community.

 

This William also had a son called Thomas and he had two sons, Hugh and Robert, Hugh inherited the lands of Pen y Lan, Robert and his descendants moved out into Oswestry, taking homes and starting trades there.

 

There was a Sir William Muckleston, cleric who was Vicar of Oswestry (St Oswalds Church). In the parish registers for December 1592 is written...

 

“Sir William Muckleston, Clarke, who did serve the cure in the Parish Church of Oswestree the space of fourteen yeares fyve monthes, he began to serve the 25th day of June Anno D'ni 1578 and served during his liefetime and was buried the 21th day of this month 1592.”

 

Roger Muckleston who died in 1602 was a scrivener (a kind of public notary who drew up contracts and wrote letters). There were several Mucklestons carrying out this occupation in the 17th century and their names can be found on many documents from that time.

 

Thomas Muckleston who died in 1629, was a corvisor (i.e. a worker in leather).

 

There were several members of the family working in Oswestry as Butchers including Hugh and David Muckleston both alive in 1654.

 

Richard Muckleston, a tanner, and John Muckleston a glover, both alive in 1664, followed well known family trades.

 

John Muckleston, Gent, was the towns coroner in 1667. Quite a number of the Oswestry Mucklestons had the title Gent after their names indicating some standing in the local community.

 

Places where the family lived in Oswestry include Bailey Street, Church Street, Legg Street, Cross Street, and Willow Street. All these streets still remain in Oswestry today as can be seen on the following street map (2009).

 

 

 

 

It would appear that the family lost the Pen y Lan estate through marriage, but before then they had also inherited, again through marriage, the large estate of Merrington near Shrewsbury. For a period of time they had both estates.