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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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Rowland - A Family Man

This Rowland Muckleston heads a branch of the family tree which has members Neil Priddy, Mark Hope, and Stephen Webb as his definite descendants. Finding information on this Rowland has been a bit of a struggle and much has been found by chance rather than the normal methods of research and we are sure that there is even more to be found. He appears to have been one of the more colourful family members, with an eventful life.


The indexing of the London parish registers enabled us to locate his baptism on 15 Jan 1764 at St George the Martyr having been born on the 2nd at White Street Southwark Surrey. He was the 4th child and 3rd son of Benjamin Muckleston (likely born circa 1732) and his wife Elizabeth (born circa 1735). Benjamin was one of the son of Rowland Muckleston of Shropshire (1692 - 1738) and gave one of his sons his father's name.


Rowland was married (age 21) to his first wife Sarah Turner on 16th October 1785 in St Margaret Pattens church in London. He was given as a bachelor and his wife was a spinster, they were both of the parish (which means they lived there), banns were called and T Simms and Sarah Mott were their witnesses. In fact Rowland seemed to have lived and worked his entire adult life in and around London. In 1785 he was recorded in Boyd’s inhabitants of London – a work carried out by Boyd to list all the inhabitants of the capital city. We have no firm details of his occupation until 1829 when he was recorded as a Linen Cutter and by the time he died his occupation was that of a Linen Draper, I suspect that tailoring was his trade and his activities depended on his financial situation at the time.

This marriage produced at least 6 children, I say “at least” due to the fact that we only recently found details of two of his children, who died young, amongst the Bunhill Fields burial records. We have so far not found any baptismal records for them. Our findings have led us to believe that Rowland was a little bit lax when it came to baptising his children – some births were even recorded in non conformist registers – maybe it depended on his financial situation at the time or his relationship with the church!


The six children are:-


Benjamin Muckleston (12 Aug 1786 – 27 Sep 1794) baptised 6 Sep 1786 at St Clements, East Cheap, London. Buried Bunhill Fields – the transcribed records say aged 8 months – an error for 8 years? In 1665 the City of London Corporation decided to use some of the fen or moor fields as a common burial ground for the interment of bodies of inhabitants who had died of the plague and could not be accommodated in the churchyards. Although enclosing walls for the burial ground were completed, the ground was, it appears, never consecrated or actually used by the authorities for burials. Instead, a Mr Tindal took over the lease. He allowed extramural burials in its unconsecrated soil, which became popular with Nonconformists those citizens of London or surrounding villages who treasured the independence of their religious beliefs and therefore practised Christianity outside of the Church of England. The burial ground, which became known as "Tindal's Burial Ground" attracted mainly dissenters from the Established Church who were of a Protestant persuasion, partly owing to their much larger numbers in the locality than other faiths who did not conform to the Church of England's ways, such as Catholics or Jewish citizens. Nonetheless, the burial ground was open for interment to anyone who could afford the fees.


Frederick Muckleston (about 1788 – before Jan 1821) baptised 17 Aug 1788, married Mary Page 1808 at St Giles in the Fields. Three known daughters, entries in their baptismal records would suggest that he was either a cutter or packer. He went to the Merchant Taylors School which would suggest that his father was going through a phase of good fortune at the time. The Merchant Taylors School was founded in 1561 to educate the children of middle class tradesmen. It was in the parish of St Lawrence, Poultney, on Suffolk Lane (near what is now Cannon Street). We know from burial records that Rowland and his family lived in Cannon Street at this time.

Frederick's school record show his progress:

            March 1800 to February 1801                       in Petty Form

            March 1801 to September 1801                      in First Form

            October 1801 to February 1802                      in Second Form

            March 1802 to ? end of 1802                         in Third Form


Harriot Muckleston (14 May 1790 – 8 Feb 1884) baptism 6th June 1790 at St Michael, Crooked Lane, London. She married Thomas Illidge a glass engraver. After his death she emigrated with most of her 8 children to Australia, dying at Widgee Crossing, Gympie, Australia. She has many descendants living in Australia including Neil Priddy. She registered her half brother's birth (Paul Davis Muckleston) in Dr Williams Register (a list of dissenters births and marriages) in 1829, he was born in 1810. See “The Illidge Connection” for further information on Harriot.

Sarah Muckleston (b 9 May 1792) baptised 1st June 1792 at St Martin, Ongar, London . we have no other information on her at present.


John Muckleston (June 1799? – March 1800) although we know he was buried on 8th March 1800 his age is given as 9 months – previously his brothers age had been given as 8 months when it should have read 8 years but I have assumed no error on this occasion.


Kesiah Muckleston (abt. Jan 1803 – 24 April 1806) buried at Bunhill Fields and was living at Cannon Street at the time of his death. An unusual name – maybe there is a story behind it. 


Sarah died on March 25th 1807 aged 44, leaving her husband with at least 3 children to take care of. Maybe this was the reason for his quick marriage to Sarah Brooks, just five months later on 25th August of that same year. This Sarah lived in Thanet Kent and it is possible that Rowland had a sister in this area. There is a Sarah Muckleston residing in Kent who would be about the right age to be his sister. They obviously returned to London and we know of 3 children of this marriage. Sarah was the daughter of Matthew Brooks a gardener.

Their children were:

Anne Brooks Muckleston (4 June 1809 – 27 April 1894) a spinster who never married. She seemed to do quite well for herself as her will shows that she left effects to the value of £5,611 16s 2d when she died.


Paul Davis Muckleston (5 June 1810 – 18 June 1890) his birth was recorded in Dr Williams Register by his half sister Harriot. In 1851 he was a brush maker but he went on to become a Grocer and by the time of his death was recorded as a Gentleman and Retired Grocer. Like his father he had many children – 9 as far as we are aware, who were obviously a drain on his resources as he left just £44 which was unlikely to have covered all the bequests he left in his will.

Sarah Muckleston (abt 1811 – 2 Jan 1826) yet another child not baptised? – The only information we have on this Sarah is from her burial records, again in Bunhill Fields, she died age 14.


On 1st November 1814, Rowland was burying his second wife who had died at just 37 years old. The marriage may not have been a happy one.


An entry in the Times newspaper on 16th Jan 1811 listed bankruptcies and included a Muckleston R, although this does not mean it was the above Rowland (as only an initial and no address was given), there is a strong possibility that this was the case. On 21st Jan, 11th March and 1st April 1811 the Times recorded meetings of creditors of Muckleston R.


At the Guildhall library in London, manuscript number 564, is an account book of Churchwardens of St Swithens, London Stone and St Mary Bothaw. The account book had been started by Rowland Muckleston in May 1809 and it may be that Rowland was a churchwarden for these churches before that date. In May 1809 there was an error (deficit) in the accounts of the church poor, of 1 shilling and 1 penny.

In the same year the churchwardens books were apparently scrutinised by the trustees of the church and a shortfall of £21 10s 8d discovered. The trustee report was a s follows:“We the undersigned trustees, have examined the forgoing accounts and found a balance of £21-10-8d due to the parish. Mr R Muckleston (the late churchwarden – this was crossed out), being bankrupt. We request Mr Jas Poulain, the present churchwarden, to prove the above debt under the commission.


Lots of children and obviously a drain on his resources. It is interesting that someone with such a strong non-conformist attitude became a church warden for the established church!


His first family having reached adulthood, he still had 3 children to care for and he was once again on the lookout for a wife. Some nine months after the death of his second wife in 1815 Rowland was once again marrying this time his bride was Ann Cooper. The marriage took place at St Saviour Southwark. The family now having moved south of the river in to Surrey.


The marriage produced (as far as we know) just one daughter, born when he was 55 and his wife 42:

Ann Cooper Muckleston (b 28 Sep 1819) her birth was one of those recorded in Dr Williams Register. Born at 26 Red Cross Street, St Saviour, Southwark she went on to marry Samuel Cope on 17th November 1842. On her marriage certificate she recorded her father as Rowland Muckleston, Linen Draper deceased. Maybe in his latter years he managed to put his financial woes behind him and establish himself in business to some extent.


His end must have been a sad one, despite his large number of children, at least 10, of whom at least 5 were living at the time of his death, his last address was Hopton Almshouses, Blackfriars Road, Providence Street, London. The almshouses were established to house “poor men who had been housekeepers (residents) in Christchurch parish”.


He died on 28th March 1838, age 74 years and was buried at 3.30pm on Sunday 1st April 1838 in Bunhill Fields Cemetery. His grave details are recorded as 7ft, 117, 43-44 (these numbers probably refer to the location of the grave in this large cemetery), Stone 5 shillings. The undertaker was W Bedford of Farringdon Street, London. 


His third wife and widow, Ann, died two years later, aged 63, on March 26th 1840 and was also buried in Bunhill Fields. There are many hundreds of descendants of Rowland Muckleston and he had at least 20 known grandchildren, probably many more as we continue to locate them.


A colourful character and I am sure there is much more to find out about Rowland Muckleston (1764 – 1838).