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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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Is there a connection or are we barking up the wrong tree?


I received an email from Elizabeth Loubser (nee Mugglestone) who is living in South Africa and is tracing her family tree. She was given a copy of a tree by a cousin and it included various spellings of the name Muggleston, including Mugleston, Mugliston, and Mugglestone but also Muckleston! She therefore concluded that the names were all different spellings. You can certainly imagine that someone saying Muckleston with a strong out of county accent or even a cold could have it interpreted as Muggleston.



“When I started the Mugglestone family tree I was given the beginnings of one by one of my dad's cousin's who had met up with the Mugglestone's who live in Ashby de la Zouche - they gave him some info which started off with William (married to Catherine - my great-great-great-grandfather it seems) and all his offspring, ending with info of my great-grandfather and his 10 brothers and sisters - amongst those the spellings were various i.e. Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muggleston, Mugglestone...........his answer to that was that the folk in the old days had no idea how to spell...


I'm busy researching my family tree - Mugglestone (or Muggleston or Muckleston it seems) - and have found in my search that my great-great-great-grandfather William   married to Catherine produced Thomas Mugglestone who in turn had 11 children of whom my great-grandfather Joseph Henry was the youngest - it appears that Joseph (called Joe) and his brothers George William and Thomas left the UK in the late 1800's to come and live in South Africa....George continued to spell his name Muggleston but Thomas and Joe spelled theirs Mugglestone.

I found your website very interesting and wonder whether anybody could shed more light on the branch of the family who lived in Southwell Nottinghamshire - I have a copy of a page from census done in 1861 where Thomas and his family appear - seems he was a "silk throwster", his one son a tailor, a daughter a silk winder and the rest too young at that stage to be anything but scholars - my great-grandfather was only born later...but at the time of census Thomas and Mary had 7 of their eventual 11 children.”


In the 20 years Bill and I have been carrying out research into the family we had come across this name but as we had no evidence that it had any connection with the Muckleston’s we were researching we had mainly ignored it.


As a result of Elizabeth’s email I compiled a basic family tree for the Muggleston family (and variants). At this stage I have only compiled basic birth, marriage and death data. Should there prove to be a connection more detail can always be added later. Collating the tree from information that can readily be found on the internet did certainly not take as long as it took Bill and I to put together the Muckleston information.


So far I have been able to ascertain that the Muggleston’s mainly lived in the Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire areas. The earliest mention of the name I have found so far is in 1552 John and Jane Mugleston had their son George baptised at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire. In the delightfully named parish of St Benet Fink in London in 1568, Amy Mogglestone, the daughter of Mathew Mogglestone was baptised.


Only time will tell if one of the Muckleston’s moved to Leicestershire  became a Muggleston and the various branches sprang from him.


More intriguingly could the Bedfordshire branch of the Muckleston’s have a closer connection with the Muggleston family? There is a possibility that one of the Muggleston’s from Leicestershire / Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire moved south a little way and settled in Bedfordshire and when their children were christened maybe the name became written as Muckleston instead of Muggleston. Therefore during my research in to the Mugglestons I was on the look out for an Edward and Mary Muggleston who “disappeared” and who could be the individuals who head the Bedfordshire branch of the Muckleston tree. So far I have been unable to find anyone who fits the bill.


It is also interesting to note that on occasions the spelling of the soldier’s name who shot Bold Jack Donahue in Australia has been shown variously as Muggleston or Muckleston.


A quick search of the internet throws up some interesting members of the Muggleston family


Ken Muggleston a production designer and set dresser


Frank Muggleston – director at C & A Friedlander Attorneys Capetown


Holly Muggleston a nutrition Lecturer in a school in Australia


Dave Muggleston is a tattoo artist in the USA


Barbara Muggleston was Queen of Hurstville NSW Australia in October 1923 (well it is almost royalty)


John Mugglestone is a councillor in Leicester City


Dr. Lynda Mugglestone has written a book called “Talking Proper”


There is even a Muggleston Inn Pub in Maidstone near where I once lived – I must find out how it got its name.


There is even a gemstone called Mugglestone it is a mixture of two stones: hematite and red jasper

Francis Hugh Mugliston. Born: 7th June 1886, Singapore. Died: 3rd October 1932, Mayfair, Westminster, London, England played cricket for Lancashire Cricket Club

There is a Mugliston Park and Mugliston Hill in Singapore.

Rowland Mugliston was Rector of Itchen Abbas

The Royal Army Medical Corps originated in the Ambulance and Bearer Section of 1901, commanded by Major P.C. Mugliston


I have now entered all the basic data available on the Mugglestons (and variants) into the family tree program. This includes the IGI, Births, Marriages and Death’s available on Free BMD, information from the National Burial Index, transcribed census information and other basic info taken from the web. So far there are more than 3 times as many Mugglestons (and variants) than there are Muckleston’s (and variants).


My greatest hope was that we would be able to find the origins of Edward and Mary Muckleston who head the Bedfordshire tree. They appeared in the Streatley registers in that county around the 1780’s and we had no idea where they came from, some of their children were baptised at Streatley when they were in their teens having been born outside the village. Although I cannot definitely rule it out I have, so far, found no evidence that they were originally Muggleston’s.


It would however appear, that some of our previously loose connections may have been erroneously transcribed as Muckleston’s when they should have been Muggleston’s. On the IGI (a main source of information created by the Mormon Church) we can find family groups transcribed as both Muckleston’s and Muggleston’s. Only by checking the original registers will we be able to ascertain which transcript is the correct one. Examples are a family based in Bassbourne in Cambridgeshire, births for the children are recorded but no marriages and deaths under the name Muckleston, another family with two daughters in Leicestershire also appear as both Muggleston and Muckleston on the IGI and a marriage in Dublin of an Elizabeth Muckleston is also recorded as an Elizabeth Muggleston. Could our spinster Irish Nell have actually been a Muggleston?


Although there is still extensive work to be done on the Muggleston name, from that carried out so far I have been unable to find any definite connection with the Muckleston name, I may however, be able (once further checks have been done) to off load a few of our loose family groups onto the Mugglestone family.


I am keeping an eye open for information on the Muggleston family and regularly check for connections but for now I have no evidence that the two family names have a common ancestor.


I suspect our answers may come from DNA tests at some point in the future.




The radical religious sect known as the Muggletonians developed out of the aftermath of the English Civil War. They are sometimes referred to as "Radical Puritans". They would continue in obscurity into the 20th Century.

Muggletonians did not actively proselytize for new members, they waited for the faithful to come to them in their own good time. Once having asked to received the revealed Word they were encouraged to join, those who rejected the revealed Word were condemned. This contributed to a limited membership which gradually declined over time.

Muggletonians has a two part history into the seventeenth century. From 1652-58, under the primary leadership of John Reeve (1608-1658), or Reeves, the "Prophet of God" and his cousin Lodowick Muggleton (1609-1698). The second period from 1658-98, under the general leadership of Lodowick Muggleton.

According to the Book of Revelations, Chapter XI, in the latter days God would appoint "two witnesses" who will preach to an ungodly world in preparation for the beginning of the final days. Reeve and Muggleton were celebrated as the "two witnesses" according to their followers. The Millennium theme was a powerful biblical message during the Interregnum.

As an historical note, in 1636 two Colchester weavers had claimed to be the "two witnesses" of the Book of Revelations. They both died in prison in 1642 just ten years before Reeve and Muggleton had their own "visions" from God.

The early movement revolved around the three "visions" and the "commission from God" to one John Reeve, a London tailor on February 1652 to be His appointed Prophet. And to Reeve's cousin, Lodowick Muggleton, who had also experienced similar but unreported visions, and became the appointed Voice of the last Prophet of God.


Lodowick Muggleton

John Reeve was the spiritual leader and God's appointed Prophet from 1652-58. His teachings tended to embrace some of the teachings of the Ranters and the more conservative Familists and Behmenist traditions. Reeve served a large portion of predestinarianism, the elect of God, as the Last Prophet of God. The Millennium was imminent and Mankind needed to prepare. Both Reeve and Muggleton were imprisoned in Old Bridewell Prison (London) during 1653 for their beliefs.

Reeve's early pronouncements dealt with the pending doom of Mankind, and preparing for the rule of the Saints, the reoccurring themes of the Millennium. Proclaimed as a Prophet of God, his authority was unquestioned by his followers. Reeve "the Prophet" had been enlightened by God to know who would or would not be saved. Believers feared the condemnation of God's chosen messenger, as did others.

Muggleton was arrested and imprisoned on charges of blasphemy in 1653. Both Reeve and Muggleton were sentenced to six months in Bridewell Prison in 1654 for cursing the Reverend Mr. Goffin who died very shortly after having been cursed. This was a widely reported event of the period that helped to spread the mystic of the Muggletonians.

After an early debate with George Fox (1624-91), a Quaker leader, in 1654 there developed a long protracted antagonism with George Fox. Reeve also attacked the Baptists' religious positions in pamphlets.

An early supporter of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Reeve's support waned after the ill fated Barebone's Parliament (1653) and the rise of the Protectorship. The disillusionment with the Monarchy, the Nobility, and the State Church were common themes. Reeves' message attracted a good following.

Muggleton acted as the principal organizer and promoter of the movement before 1658. He with his cousin John Reeve co-authored many of the early texts and doctrines of the sect.

The term "Reeveonian" was developed in the Victorian Era to describe the movement during John Reeve's leadership (1652-58). Reeve died in 1658 before the proclaimed Second Coming. With Reeve's death in 1658, an initial vacuum was created within the leadership of the sect.

Muggleton struggled to establish and maintain his own leadership after 1658. In 1660, Laurence Clarkson (1615-1667), a former Ranter leader, and a self proclaimed heir apparent to John Reeve attempted to oust Muggleton from his leadership. In 1671, there ensued another rather bitter struggle for the leadership between Muggleton, and two rival members: Walter Buchanan and William Medgate.

After 1658, Muggleton would softened and revised some of Reeve's earlier doctrines, and moved the Millennium message into the background. Muggleton had his own more moderate vision of the world. Even the celebrated work Divine Looking-Glass (1656) was revised and republished by Muggleton in 1661.

The term Muggletonian came into vogue about 1676. Muggletonian more properly refers to the later period under the leadership of Lodowick Muggleton and his teachings from 1658-98. Muggleton was arrested again for blasphemy in 1676, he was convicted and fined £500.00, a great deal of money for the era.

Lodowick Muggleton preached that God took no "immediate notice" of his creation on a daily basis, an early form of Deism. This led to the general belief that such things as prayer, worship, or overt acts of religious faith or piety such as martyrdom were without purpose and unnecessary in the sight of God.

Muggleton preached a form of anti-Trinitarianism, or early Unitarianism. The Man Jesus was the true God who had come down to Earth while the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Moses, kept an eye on Heaven. Man was in the Third Age of the Spirit, according to the twelfth-century Joachimite tradition, or the Third Commission according to some.

Toleration and a lack of strict religious doctrines attracted numerous disheartened followers from other radical sects of the Interregnum, such as the Ranters. Muggleton preached more of a heaven on earth rather than an afterlife. A strong dose of both Reason and Faith, sometimes alluded to as the "two seeds" were instilled in the faithful.

Common themes of Muggletonians were: the soul was mortal; Hell existed within Man; no need for formal religious ceremonies. A private gathering at a local inn or tavern with a reading or two from the Bible, and the singing of the "Divine Songs" to traditional tunes over a few beers would be considered a "service". These meetings generally went unnoticed as simply private parties rather than as religious meetings. Not the high profile of other dissident groups after the Conventicle Act (1664) which declared religious meetings of five or more illegal.

Unlike many of the other radical sects of the period the Muggletonians enjoyed a happy middle ground of political and religious thought. Muggletons' own lack of extremism lessened the attacks and persecutions on the group after the Restoration (1660).

Muggletonians as the Lollards before them found local support at the grass root levels of English society. Centers in London, Derbyshire, the South and the Midlands were primary areas of support.

Muggletonians included large numbers of women who actively participated in the society. The Muggletonians simple message and traditions found supporters in the countryside, and in the factory towns of England into the twentieth century.

As a group the Muggletonians never commanded large numbers of believers. As the Gnostics before them, their membership slowly dwindled away by attrition by the mid-twentieth century when the last reported member died. The Muggletonians were unique in their message, and their longevity.