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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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They went into the Church

Traditionally in wealthy families the eldest son inherited the majority of their fathers lands and property and also any title they may have had. Daughters were given good dowrys to attract wealthy husbands and the younger sons normally were given an amount to set them up but generally they had to make their own way in life. Hence there was a great attraction towards going into the church and this was the profession of choice for many younger sons. It required a good education and many clergy attended Oxford or Cambridge Universities and good incomes were to be had.


Adam de Muccleston


It is not therefore surprising that the Muckleston family had its own share of clergy. In St Marys church in Mucklestone a board shows the clergy of that parish and their patrons. 


The handsome board above the south door of the church in St Mary’s Mucklestone records the incumbantsof the parish so far as they are known from AD1086 onward.

Below is an extract from the board:


A.D.                Rector                                                 Patron

 1086                      ‘A priest’                                                               

c1203                                                                                            Adam de Mukeleston

c1210                                                                                            Walter de Mukeleston

c1230                  Thomas de Joneston                                          Adam de Muccleston

 1306                   Walter Reginald                                                Adam de Muccleston

 1308                    Ingleard de Warle                                             Adam de Muccleston

 1314-1344           Nicholas de Swinnerton (s of Roger)               Adam de Muccleston

 1344-1356           Nicholas de Swinnerton                                   John de Muccleston

 1356-1357           Adam de Muccleston                                       John de Muccleston Lord of Muccleston

 1380                    Thomas de Hampton

 1392                    William Sutton                                                 John Whitmore

 1422                    Roger Grey                                                       John de Whitmore

                             John Wodelock

 1448                    William Woore                                                 William Morgan



Nicholas de Mucklestone


In addition Nicholas de Mucklestone was elected Prior of nearby Trentham in Staffordshire in 1352 until he resigned in 1402 a tenureship of 50 years – he must have been very young when he took office. It was a sm

all priory having no more than eight members but held extensive lands locally from which it drew rents.

Sir William Muckleston


William Muckleston was the second of three sons born to Roger Muckleston, Scrivenor of Oswestry, and was probably born in the mid 1500’s. William became curate of Oswestry and in the parish registers of 1592 we find the following


 “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”


Morice Muckleston


On 11th January 1585/6 Morice Muckleston was baptised in the parish church at Oswestry by his father. He was the second son of William Muckleston he had an older brother and two older sisters. His eldest brother Richard went on to marry the heiress Elizabeth Aubrey and Morice attended Jesus College at Cambridge University, matriculating at Easter 1606, obtaining a BA 1609-10. He was ordained Deacon at Peterboro on September 23rd 1610 and became a priest on December 23rd 1610 he would have been 24 years old. By January 16th 1617 Morice was Rector of St David, Prendergast in Pembrokeshire and is believed to have remained here until his death in 1664. This parish was part of Haverfordwest and records from there mention Morice:

Now Mr Muckleton was a "preacher of the word". In the account of Jenkin Howell Mayor for 1622, following entries relating to Bishop Laud's visit in that year we read:-


More I delivered Mr M Muckleston for preaching 16xs

In 1624 Sir James Perrot was mayor, his deputy being Roger Walter son of William Walter, and cousin to Lucy Walter, Monmouth’s mother. In the account of the deputy mayor presented by his eldest son, Morgan Walter (Roger was probably dead) is a payment to the same preacher:-


Item - paid Mr Muckleston for this last years preaching ending at Michaelman 1624 – xlb


Morice clearly kept his head down during the Commonwealth period of 1649-1660, clergy who remained loyal to the crown or who were considered “inadequate” were ejected from their “livings”.


Richard Muckleston


We are not sure if Morice's elder brother also initially chose a life in the priesthood as we also have information on a clergyman called Richard Muckleston and we do not know if the information we have is for one person or two, nor where the individual fits into our family tree. They did however also attend Jesus College Cambridge a few years earlier than Morice. The information we have is:

“In 1595 A Ricus (Richard) Muckleston was Curate of Weyhill Parish in Hampshire.


On 20/9/1607 a Ricardus Muckleston obtained a BA from Jesus College Cambridge maybe the same Richard had obtained a MA on 1/9/1601 (at this time he was a vicar at Therston/Tharston in Norwich) and on 7/4/1608 he was a rector of Bretenham or Bretnam Norfolk. He was ordained deacon on 20/9/1607 at Heton, Ely.”


It may be that William wanted both of his sons to follow him into the church but Richard decided that marriage and a good inheritance was a better way of life.

John Fletcher Muckleston


Our next known notable clergyman was John Fletcher Muckleston. His father was John Muckleston a Gentleman of Shrewsbury, Shropshire who had inherited the estates at Merrington on the death of his father. John had married Mary Fletcher of whom was written “Mary was daughter and co heiress of John Fletcher Esq of Lichfield, Mr Fletchers mother was the daughter of Ralph Thickness Esq of Batterley, by Bridget, his wife, daughter of Sir John Egerton of Wrinehill, who died in 1675.” The marriage took place in St Chads’ church in Lichfield and the bride was three months pregnant at the time. There were two sons of the marriage who grew to adulthood. The eldest, John Fletcher Muckleston, unusually went into the church as well as inheriting his father's estate of Merrington which he eventually sold to his cousin Joseph Muckleston in 1817. He was also benefactor of the local church at Preston Gubbals in 1794 donating £5 5 shillings. The younger son Charles Bowdler became a grocer of Shrewsbury and did very well for himself in terms of lands and property.


John Fletcher Muckleston born 14th July 1764 entered Christchurch College Oxford on October 17th 1782 at the age of 17. He obtained a BA in 1786 and an MA in 1789 and a Doctor of Divinity (DD) in 1814. He was ordained Deacon on 21st September 1787 at Eccleshall, Staffordshire by James Cornwallis, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. He was ordained a priest by the same Bishop on 21st September 1788 at the same church. His first appointment was that of curate of Barton Blount, Derbyshire on 21st September 1787 at the age of just 23. On 17th January 1789 he became Prebendary of Hilton, Wolverhampton. By 20th March 1789 he was a Subchantor of Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire. A year later at just 25 years of age he was appointed Prebendary of Dernford (Lichfield Diocese) which was considered a great honour.


Lichfield Cathedral has a number of canons and honorary canons; but no more than 30 Prebendaries at any one time; as each is allocated to a particular prebend – an historic cathedral estate which, in times past, would have provided the income of the clergy. Three of the prebendal seats are taken by the Cathedral’s full time clergy and the remaining are given to parish clergy by the bishop to honour their service to the church. Most cathedral and collegiate church prebends were abolished by Henry VIII alongside the dissolution of the monasteries. Just a handful remain, including Lichfield, Hereford, Lincoln and St Paul’s Cathedral in London.”


John had been conducting baptisms and marriages in the parish churches of Weeford and Hints, Staffordshire during 1789 and on 20th March 1790 he was nominated to become Perpetual Curate of Hints a position which was confirmed on 31st March. Likewise he was nominated for the same position at Weeford on the 22nd March this appointment was confirmed on the 27th March. Being a well establish clergyman, in 1795 he decided to marry and his wife was 21 year old Louisa Preston, the youngest daughter of the Reverend John Preston of Askham Bryant in Yorkshire. By this time John was living at The Close Lichfield, a circle of houses around the Cathedral.


The couple's eldest son John was born in 1800 and in 1802 John Fletcher Muckleston became Vicar of Wynbunbury in Cheshire, daughter Anne was born in 1806 and a year later he became Perpetual Curate of Tong in Shropshire a position he held until 1839. Despite these wide spread appointments John Fletcher Muckleston retained his home at The Close. On 16th May 1809 he became a “Reader” at Lichfield Cathedral. Second son Rowland was born in 1811 with daughters Louisa and Mary following.


I have visions of John Fletcher Muckleston dashing around the country in his horse and carriage across various parishes in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire to conduct all the services. The truth of the matter is that all of these appointments brought in an income, especially the appointment of Prebendary. John would obviously spend some time in his parishes especially at the time of major events but there were many clergy who could step in to fulfil the duties.


As well as his work for the Anglican Church he also had property and as previously mentioned he sold this to his cousin Joseph. He was also a great reader subscribing to many books including “The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire” in 1798. On 28th June 1839 he withdrew his perpetual curacies of Weeford and Hints. This may have been as a result of his wifes’ illness; she died on 21st July in Torquay age 65. Torquay was where his daughter Louisa was living following her marriage to Zachariah Stewart a Surgeon of that town. John himself was to die at the age of 79 at Newton Abbot. Surprisingly he left no will and his eldest son John had to apply for administration of his estate which was valued at £2,000 (about £175,000 in todays’ terms).


The church was clearly his life but John was undoubtably proud that his two sons followed him into the church. His two daughters gave him grandchildren, two grandsons and 1 grand daughter but no-one to carry on the Muckleston surname although it was used as a middle name for generations to come. His daughters made good marriages although Anne's first marriage did not last and her husband went on to commit bigamy.


John Muckleston



John the eldest son of John Fletcher Muckleston attended Shrewsbury Grammar School before following in his fathers’ footsteps and attending Christchurch College at Oxford University. He matriculated on 27th Jan 1819 aged 18, obtained his BA in 1822 and became Perpetual Curate of Wichnor near Burton on Trent in Staffordshire in 1832 a position he held until 1872. It was only a small parish having a population of 131 people in 1860. He earned a good living from it, having a residence in Beacon Street, Lichfield. He married at the age of 41 in 1841 and the circumstances may be explained by the following extract from the History of Staffordshire 1851 “Wichnor is a scattered village, township and chapelry, forming the south end of Tatenhill parish, six and a half miles SW of Burton - upon - Trent and the same distance NE of Lichfield. The whole belongs to the Lord of the Manor, John Levett esq. of Wichnor Lodge, a handsome mansion, seated in a beautiful park of 300 acres, on the north bank of the Trent.Wichnor church, St Leonard, is a small ancient edicifice, seated on an eminence betwixt the park and the Trent. The perpetual curacy is in the patronage of J Levett Esq. and incumbency of the Rev John Muckleston.”.


His wife was Mary Levett born aged 34 at the time of the marriage, daughter of Theophilus Levett and sister of the said John Levett. They lived well, the census returns showing they engaged a Cook, Housemaid, Ladies Maid, Kitchen Maid, Groom and Butler. John was a widower for 4 years before dying on 16th July 1877 at the good age of 77. He lived very close to the cathedral and no doubt had many friends and colleagues locally although the following court case indicates that he could have been at odds with his neighbours, sadly we do not have a year for this event.


Summer Assizes – Oxford Circuit – Stafford – July 21 (before Mr Justice Cooleridge and Special Juries)Muckleston v Griffiths and Another


“Mr Keating Q C., Mr Serjeant Allen, and Mr Gray appeared for the plaintiff; and Mr Whately, Q C, Mr Whitmore and Mr Huddleston for the defendants.


The plaintiff in this action the Rev. Mr Muckleston, was a clergyman residing in Beacon Street, in the city of Lichfield. The action was brought against the Messers. Griffiths Brewers at Lichfield, to recover damages for building onto the Plaintiffs wall, and creating a nuisance by means of smoke, smells, noise, etc. The defendants pleaded the general issue, that the wall was not the Plaintiffs, and justified the alleged nuisance by alleging that their premises had been used in the same way for more than 20 years. It appeared that in the year 1852 the defendant had erected a new engine house, with a tall chimney, which sent forth the clouds of smoke complained of, and also set up a mill for grinding malt, which produced loud noises. These together created a nuisance, of which the plaintiff complained.


Mr Justice Cooleridge suggested that it should be referred to some gentleman to say whether it was a nuisance and what should be done.


Mr Keating said that the Plaintiff was only a tenant, and in the absence of the landlord, Captain Levet, he could not adopt the suggestion.


The case then proceeded and the plaintiff was called, and proved that the new chimney, though at a greater distance than a lower one for which it had been substituted, was a much greater nuisance. The smoke issued in greater volumes, and when the wind was in the west or north-west the smoke beat down and filled every room in his house.


The case was in part tried yesterday: but at the sitting of the court this morning (Thursday) it was agreed that it should be referred to the arbitration of Mr Kynnersley, the barrister. This was done accordingly.


[The Griffiths family had their first brewing company in 1839, at the Cathedral House in Beacon Street, Lichfield. In 1868 the family joined forces with the Gilbert brewing family and they built the old Brewery in 1873 which stands today in St John Street. Although we do not have an exact date for the disagreement outlined above, perhaps Rev. Muckleston helped the brewery come to the decision to move premises. It is believed that Reverend John Muckleston lived in Lichfield some time between 1872 and his death aged 77 in 1877. His wife’s surname was Levett and he was therefore probably renting from a family member ]  He had also later acted as a Justice of the Peace. Sadly they had no children and I have been unable to find a will.


Rowland Muckleston


John Fletcher Muckleston’s second son was Rowland Muckleston. Having first attended Repton School in Derbyshire, he chose a different college to his father and brother when he too went to Oxford, that being Worcester College with which he was to have a life long connection. He had strong linguist skills; his entry in the clerical list for 1885 read “1886 Muckleston Rowland, Dinedor Rectory, Hereford. Open Foundation School of Worc Coll Ox 1831 BA (1st Class Lit Hum) 1833 MA 1836 Dean and Priest 1837 by Bishop of Oxford. R of Dinedor Dio Hereford 1855 (Patron Worc Coll Ox Tithe Rent Charge - App £64 Imp £28 R £276 Gross Income £389 and house pop 263) RD of Hereford 1867. Formerley Fellow of Worc Coll Ox 1836 – 55, Tutor and Vice Provost Master of the Schools 1838, Public Examiner in Lit Hum 1847, Mod 1854, Twice Public Examiner for the University Latin School. Translater, Bishop Tegners Swedish Poems "The Frith Saga" and "Axel" into English verse 1860.”


In 1855 he became Rector of Dinedor in Herefordshire which was patronaged by his College at Oxford University. Prior to this, at the age of 26, he was “Tutor and Vice Provost Master of the Schools” at the University, and a couple of years later he was the examiner in Literature Humanities. A very bright individual who also translated poems including those written in Swedish. The censuses of 1861 for 1881 show Rowland living at Dinedor with a cook and parlour maid. He also employed a gardener. During his incumbency of the church of St Andrew at Dyndor (or Dinedor) the church was completely rebuilt (in 1868) at a cost of £700 (£55,000 in todays money). Rowland is buried in a large tomb to the East of the porch of the church, he died on 8th April 1897 age 85. An extremely wealthy man he left £68,435, worth approx £6.2 million today. He left his servant the equivalent of £50,000 each in his will. He left a lot of money to charity, one of the bequests being £3,000 (£275,000) to the RSPCA to be used to stop the practice of vivisection. He set up the “Rowland Muckleston Fund” at Worcester College, Oxford to provide pensions for college servants who fell on hard times, he also left money to his sisters Anne and Louisa their children and his cousins on the Preston side of the family. He left his dogs and cats to his housekeeper as he knew she would take care of them and he offered £40 (£3,600) a year to anyone who would take care of his old mare and give her a loving home. He also left £1,000 (£90,000) to the Reverend Edward Muckleston of Haseley Rectory in Warwickshire.


Edward Muckleston


Edward Muckleston was 8 years younger than Rowland, Edward was the grandson of Charles Bowdler Muckleston, who was the brother of Rowland's father, he also attended Worcester College at Oxford University and may well have been taught by his relative. Edwards’ father was an Officer of the 25th Regiment and a Gent of Shrewsbury. He was the only son.


Edward obtained his BA in 1845, his MA in 1847 was Vicar of Ford, Salop 1852-60 and became Rector of Haseley, Warwickshire in 1865 where he remained until 1909, at which time he was 90 years old. He died in December 1913 at the age of 94. On the 1861 census he is staying with a farmer in Llanfechan, Montgomery and was recorded as a Clergyman without curacy. He clearly had a few lean years. A contact (Colin Astbury) sent me a letter in which he provided the following information “The Reverend Edward Muckleston, Rector of Haseley near Warwick, and a Gentleman named Peake were colliery proprietors at Pontblyddyn (a village about three miles SE of Mold in Clwyd). Mr Peake retired from the partnership leaving the Reverend Edward and his foreman a Mr Guest to carry on the business. In December 1868 the Reverend Edward and Mr Guest (now his partner) purchased another property, near to their colliery, the sale included a tramway and machinery. In order to pay for this transaction a loan of £900 was taken out with the Chester Benefit Building Society. The partners fell into arrears with repayments and the Building Society took possession of the site in June 1869 but relinquished it when payments were brought up to date. In October 1869 the Building Society found that the tramway and the machinery, which formed part of the mortgage (valued at £300), had been sold for £100. The solicitor and accountant for the Building Society obtained a summons against Guest and Reverend Edward on 13th November 1869, but the outcome is unknown.”


The outcome was indeed known as in The Times:


Bankruptcies 8 Dec 1869 Muckleston E, Haseley, clerk in Holy Orders - December 17th at Birmingham.


Things obviously took a turn for the better when in 1871 Edward married Emily Holmes at St Georges, Hanover Square, London.  Edward was 52, Emily just 25. Indeed a directory of the time states


"Haseley Parish - Frederick Hewlett Esq is Lord of the Manor, and he with Miss M E Trafford Southwell, Colin Campbell Esq., Rev. Edward Muckleston MA, Mrs S Barbury and William Willes Esq., are the principal landowners.”


They had 2 children a daughter Mabel Emily in 1872 and a son Charles Edward in 1875. Charles lived to the grand old age of 94 and his wife Emily went to live to the age of 92 outliving her son Charles who also became a clergyman.


Charles Muckleston

Having first gone to St. John's School, Leatherhead, Surrey, Charles broke with tradition and went to Cambridge University, shortly after being admitted to St Catherines College on April 18th 1894 he became a bible clerk. He obtained his BA in 1900 but it was 1913 before he obtained his MA. Having obtained his BA he was ordained Deacon in 1900 and Priest in 1903. He was Curate of Sandbach between 1900 and 1907. He became Vicar of St. John the Evangelist, Sandbach Heath, Cheshire, in 1907 where he remained until his death at the age of 56 in 1932. Charles was also chaplain of Congleton Union Workhouse. He married Louisa Gwendolen Morgan daughter of the Vicar of Glanogwen, Caernarvonshire in 1903 and a year later their only child John Corbett Muckleston was born. This John chose not to enter the church but became a poultry farmer in Shropshire instead. Although John married they had no children.  When he died Charles left just £118 (less than £6,000) clearly he had not done as well as his “cousin” Rowland. His will was written on his wedding day 14th July 1903 when he was clearly better off as he left £100 to his sister at this time with the rest being invested to provide an income for his wife or children if she predeceased him. Louisa went on to live a further 22 years after her husband died.


There may well be more clergy within the family which are still to be found but hopefully those already mentioned give an idea of the fortunes of those family members who “went into the church” .