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Muckleston Family History Group

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The Beginnings 

The family name originates in what is now the hamlet of Mucklestone in Staffordshire, on the border with Shropshire. The ancient parish of Muckleston (the e is an affectation), in Staffordshire lies four miles North East of Market Drayton in Shropshire and comprises the hamlets of Mucklestone, Aston, Knighton, Oakley and Winnington in Staffordshire and the hamlets of Woore, Bearstone, Dorrington and Gravenhunger in Shropshire and is in North Pirehill Hundred. The majority of parishioners farmed the land.




                                      Mucklestone and surrounding area (2000)


Variations of the surname include Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muccleston, Mucclestone, Moccleston, Muckelston, Mucklestone and Mackleston and possibly others.


In Walter Chetwynd’s History of Pirehill Hundred (1679) he writes “Leving one of ye Thanes, held Muccleston of ye king: there being a church, one hide of land, one acre of meadow land, and woods two furlongs in length, and as much in breadth, valued at 5s, all of which Aldric and Edric held before ye Conquest. About ye time of King John, William Pantolf gave to Norman his brother, all ye lands which Alina, his mother, held in dower in Mokleston, Winnington, Knighton, in exchange of certain lands which ye said Norman held of him in Standon.” The Pantolf family are believed to have come to England with William the Conquer and had been made Barons of Wem and given lands to go with the title by King William. It is believed that on inheriting the above lands Norman became Norman de Muccleston, the first member of the family to have this surname.


At the time of the Domesday survey there was a priest at Mucklestone suggesting the presence of an early church. In the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) lands at Mucklestone were given to Combermere Abbey. Later the patronage of the church was associated with that of the Manor and the family which took its name from the village – the de Mucclestones. The parish church was rebuilt and the tower extended to four stages in the 13th century. Today it is lower than at that time, with the battlements and pinnacles probably built in the 16th century. The church and tower were restored between 1786 and 1790 and the nave and chancel extensively rebuilt. In 1883 a further restoration was carried out by Lynam and Rickman of Stoke on Trent. There are 13 stained glass windows in the church dating from the later 19th century. One features Margaret of Anjou wife of Henry VI, who is said to have witnessed the battle of Blore Heath from the top of the tower in 1459. According to the story, when she saw the Lancastrians were defeated, she and her close companions had their horses’ shoes reversed by the blacksmith near to the church and made their escape.   

Some documents in the Staffordshire archives give some indication of the early links of the family with the Manor of Mucklestone.


1203 – This was the year in which King John’s nephew and rival for the throne of England, vanished and was believed to have been murdered, having been captured by King John's supporters the previous year. The resident owner of the Manor was given as Adam de Mukelston. Adams original family name was said to have been a different one, he having assumed the name of the Manor on acquiring it.


In a document dated 1210, the manor was held by a Walter de Muccleston, and around 1230 by another Adam de Muccleston. In 1210 King John was kept busy trying to exert his authority over rebels in France, Wales and Ireland, as a result of this activity he levied large taxes on his people, for example heirs had to pay a fee for the right to inherit. In 1215 this all came to a head when the Barons finally rebelled and forced King John to sign what is now known as the Magna Carta. After King John's death in 1216 his nine year old son was appointed King Henry III, the Welsh in particular saw this as an opportunity to gain back some lands which must have been unsettling for the residents of Muckleston, who were after all not that far away from Wales.


This last Adam was probably Lord of the Manor from 1220 to 1245 and was married to a lady called Bertred.


In 1248 (possibly another) Adam de Mucclestone proved his claim to appoint the priest to Mucclestone parish, in those days this was a jealously guarded privilege. He did this by proving the advowson (right of presentation to a benefice) against Geoffrey Griffin by showing that Adam his father had last presented one Thomas de Janeston who had recently resigned and become Parson of Swinnerton.


In 1253 Bertred widow of Adam, is on record as suing Ivo de Paunton (possibly Pantulf) regarding the disputed ownership of some land.


In 1306 (the same year that Robert the Bruce was declared King of Scotland), yet another Adam de Mucclestone and his wife Scolastica were recorded as pleading for her dowry of Frodswell (also in Staffordshire).


In 1307, the first year of Edward II’s reign, Adam de Mucclestone and Scolastica his wife occur in the plea rolls against Henry de Wolaston that he should carry out his covenant, made between them respecting the Manor of Mucclestone and the advowson of the church.


In 1309 Adam and Scolastica entailed Mucclestone on themselves and their heirs. The plea rolls also show that they owned a share of Leigh. (There are places called Leigh in both Shropshire and Staffordshire and the documents do not specify which place it is).


Scolastica died in 1319.


In 1320 William de Mucleston (possibly Adams brother), was granted letters of protection while serving against the Scots. King Edward II was on the English throne and was trying to bring Scotland back under English control, however King Robert of Scotland was determined not to allow this to happen, at one battle near York in September 1319, the English losses exceeded 3000 men. Both Kings wrote to Pope John XXII to elicit his support for their cause. A truce was eventually called between them.


Around 1329 an Adam de Mucclestone married Joan. We have no records yet whether this was a second wife following the death of Scolastica, or his sons’ marriage.


The next Lord of the Manor appeared to have been Sir John Muckleston. From all accounts he was a good soldier. He fought abroad for the King in 1342 and 1359. He fought in the retinue of John de Cherleton, Lord of Powis in 1359. He was knighted for his services but we have not been able to find any record giving the date that this took place. In 1342 King Edward III was at war with France over the disputed succession for the Duchy of Brittany. Wars continued with France over various lands until a peace treaty was signed in May 1360.


John married Margaret de Lys, a widow. We have no date for this, a common problem with early records, many were not dated, the dates faded, were illegible or lost.


By 1345 Hoeskyn de Muccleston, successor to a Roger de Muccleston, had settled on lands near Oswestry on the Welsh border, and although the family name died out in Mucklestone itself, his descendants went on to prosper. We believe that all the Muckleston(e)s and Macklestons alive today are direct descendants of Hoeskyn de Muccleston, although this still has to be proven for a few branches.


The Buckinghamshire Plea Rolls for 14th January 1346/7 show that the Sheriff was ordered to arrest William de Mokeleston, Knight of County Salop and Thomas de Mokeleston, the son of the said William and keep them in the Kings Prison until they paid £20 to Augustine de Waleys whom they had acknowledged to owe him in 1342. The sheriff made no return to the writ and was ordered as before and to make a return the following Easter. We are unsure if our illustrious ancestors spent any time in the Kings Prison or avoided it by paying the debt.


In 1352 Nicholas de Mucklestone was elected Prior of Trentham Priory in Staffordshire (near Newcastle under Lyme). He was Prior for 50 years retiring in 1402. Trentham Priory was only a small priory, the largest number of monks they had was only seven or eight.


The plea rolls for Edward III dated 29th September 1353 show some of the family relationships.


“ Robert de Oldenhulle was attached (served with a writ to attend court) at the suit of Joan formerly wife of William de Mokeleston, chiveler (Chevalier, a term often used at this time to denote a knight or well born person), for forcibly breaking into her house at Mokeleston, on the Friday after the feast of Easter, and taking her goods and chattels, viz., sick sashes (zonas de serico), rings and gold buckles, silver dishes, furs and silver basins, mazers (probably cups made of maple wood), linen and woollen clothes, brass and wooden vessels, tables, an image of alabaster, and other utensils of the house to the value of £20.


Robert appeared by attorney and denied having inflicted any injury on Joan, and as regarded the breaking into the house and carrying away the silk sashes, rings and buckles of gold and silver, he stated he was not guilty, and appealed to a jury, and as regarded taking away the other things excepting the woollen and linen clothes, he pleaded that William de Mokeleston, knight, formerly husband of Joan, had demised (i.e. Transferred by lease) to him and to his heirs by deed the Manor of Mokeleston, together with all the goods and chattels within the manor, for a term of fourteen years, and he had taken them by virtue of the said deed, as was lawful; and as regarded the taking of the linen and woollen clothes, he stated that Joan had pledged them to him for a sum of 8 marks, which he had lent to her, and which was to have been paid at the feast of Pentecost, and as she had not paid the money, he had taken the goods, but was prepared to surrender them whenever the loan was repaid. Joan replied that the said Robert had taken the goods and chattels without any cause, and appealed to a jury which was to be summoned for the Quindene of St Hillary (the following January).


 A postscript shows that in January the matter was still unresolved and the suit was adjourned to three weeks from Easter. At the moment we have been unable to discover the outcome of this case.


In 1356/7 the parish priest at Muckleston was one Adam de Muccleston. His name can still be seen on a wooden plaque, denoting the parish priests, inside the church which currently stands in Muckleston.


A trial in 1360 shows the Muccleston Manor was held by Robert de Knightley guardian of John de Muccleston and it appears that John had married without his guardians consent and “intruded himself in the Manor whilst underage and still in wardship”. In 1363 this John dies and a jury decides that Elena his daughter and wife of Gilbert Trussell was heir to Mucklestone Manor.

Extract from the plea rolls of Edward III found in the Historical Collection of Staffs (1892) record this case:


34EIII (1359)


Robert de Knightley sued John, son of John de Mukleston, in a plea that whereas the marriage of the said John and the custody of the Manor belonged to him, because the said John de Mukleston held it of him by military service, and he had frequently offered him a competent marriage without disparagement, according to the form of the statute, whilst he was under age and in his custody, the said John son of John, rejecting the said marriage, had married himself without the permission of the said Robert, and had intruded himself into the Manor, John did not appear, and the Sheriff was ordered to attach him for the morrow of St Martin”


34III 1359


“Robert de Knightley sued Adam de Mukleston, Clerk, for abducting from Mukleston, John son and heir of John de Mukleston, who was under age, and whose marriage belonged to him, Adam did not appear, and the Sheriff was ordered to distrain and produce him on the Quindene of St Hillary, and in the meantime make enquiries respecting the heir. (A postscript states that on that date the Sheriff made no return and was ordered to summon him for the Quindene of Easter).



36III 1361


“The sheriff had been ordered to deliver to Robert de Knightley all the goods and chattels of John, son of John de Mukleston, excepting horses and oxen of the plough: and likewise half of all the tenements and lands of the same John, to be held by Robert until he had raised the sum of £40, which has been adjudicated to him as damages at Stafford in 34EIII, for an unjust impediement to the presentation to the church of Mukleston. And the sheriff now returned that the said John was dead, and that the said Adam held no lay fee, nor anything from which any money can be raised. And Robert then prayed for a writ of elegit against the heir and tenant of the said lands and tenements, to show cause why the said damages should not be raised from them, and it was granted returnable on the Quindene of St Hillary. A postscript states that on that day the Sheriff made no return, not for the next two terms; but on the Quindene of St Michael he returned that he had summoned Gilbert Trussel and Elena his wife, the heir and tenants of the lands and tenements formerly belonging to John son of John de Mukleston, to appear in court to show cause etc., and the said Gilbert and Elena did not appear, and then Robert then prayed for a writ of elegit against them according to the statute, and it was granted to him, returnable for the Quindene of St Hillary, on which day the Sheriff sent an extent of the lands and tenements on the oath of the jury which stated that the said John son of John, held the Manor of Mukleston and the third part of the Manor of Leigh, and they were worth 8 marks annually.


In 1230, 1306, 1308 and 1319 an Adam de Mucclestone is shown as patron of Mucclestone Church. In 1344 John son of John de Mucclestone is given as patron. In 1356 Adam de Mucclestone is shown as sub-deacon of the church and John de Muccleston is patron.


From the Royal charters Edward 1309/10 – The King at the instance of Inglelard de Warle, grants to Adam de Mukleston that he and his heirs may have a market every Tuesday in the week at his Manor of Mukleston; and one fair every year, to last two days, i.e. the eve and the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (14 and 15 August).