Muckleston/Muckleston surname

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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 Conqueror and had been made Barons of Wem in Shropshire, 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.

This is further confirmed by an article which appeared in Six Towns Magazine October 1967, entitled "Mucklestone - Steeped in Antiquity and History" by G Harnaman, although his sources are not noted. There is no known history of the village prior to 1066 except that it was owned by Eadric, Earl of Mercia, a Saxon noble. After the Norman invasion, Mucklestone was given to Roger de Montgomery - the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury. The manor at that time (called in the Domesday Book Mocleston) probably included Ashley and certainly Oakley, Knighton and Winnington. From Earl Roger it descended to William Pantulf, Baron of Wem in Shropshire, and subfueded to a King's Thane name Leving who was here when the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086. (Thane means holding a manor containing a church, bell-tower and gate). The Domesday Book mentions a parish priest at Mucklestone. William Pantulf was succeeded as Lord of the Manor by his son William who, however, transferred the Lordship to his brother Norman who adopted the name of his patrimony and became the first of the de Mucklestone family. Norman Pantulf was followed by his son Ivo, who, about the reign of Henry III, diminished the manorial lands by giving several farms to the Abbot of Combermere Abbey. About 1312, in the reign of Edward II, when rewards were being made to loyal Staffordshire barons for assistance in putting down rebellion, Adam de Mucklestone was granted a charter to hold a regular weekly market and hold an annual fair.

Lords of the Manor

The de Mucclestone’s can be found in the Mucklestone area as Lords of the Manor throughout the 12th to 14th centuries, both as landowners, patrons of the church and priests. Records for this time are a little disjointed and with a lack of recorded relationships it is difficult to put together a tree for this time period, but the following is known:

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.

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. 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 de Mucklestone, 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 de Mucclestone 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).

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).

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.

Sir John Muckleston 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.

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., silk 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 guardian’s consent and “intruded himself in the Manor whilst underage and still in wardship”. In 1363 this John dies and a jury decides that Elena de Muccleston 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 de Mukleston, held the Manor of Mukleston and the third part of the Manor of Leigh, and they were worth 8 marks annually.

Mucklestone - the place

Map of Mucklestone

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. Most parishioners farmed the land.

Mucklestone's greatest claim to fame is its associations with the Battle of Blore Heath, according to legend, Queen Margaret of Anjou is said to have watched the defeat of her forces from the church tower, on September 23rd 1459, before fleeing on horse-back. It is said that Margaret employed the local blacksmith, William Skelhorn, to reverse the shoes on her horse to disguise her getaway. An anvil said to have belonged to Skelhorn stands in the churchyard to commemorate the event. One of the windows in the church is dedicated to Queen Margaret of Anjou.

The Domesday Survey of 1086 includes an entry of a priest in the manor of Mucklestone, denoting that Mucklestone has had a church since at least the 11th century and possibly before (D. S, Eyton, & Morris ed. 1976). The church was rebuilt in the 13th century; again in 1790, and in 1883, the tower is thought to belong to the 13th century.

Within St. Mary's church at Muckleston is a board depicting that 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.

Each Muckleston reunion includes a visit to the village, including the obligatory photograph next to the village sign.


Muckleston Coat of Arms

Muckleston Coat of Arms

The first known member of the family to use the coat of arms was Hoeskyn de Muccleston who was known to have been living in 1345. He was probably a relative (possibly a brother) of Sir John de Mucclestone of Mucclestone who was knighted by King Edward III in the 1340’s or 1350’s. John had died before 1359 and John’s only son and heir was also dead by 1361. The final member of the Muckleston family who was known to have used the coat of arms was the Reverend John Fletcher Muckleston, Doctor of Divinity and Prebendary of Lichfield Staffordshire. He died in 1843, having sold the family estate of Merrington in Shropshire to his cousin Joseph Muckleston. Reverend John’s sons would both have been entitled to use the family coat of arms but both died without issue, John in 1877 and Rowland in 1897. The coat of arms was traditionally passed to the eldest son of the eldest son etc. Reverend John was clearly a direct descendant of Hoeskyn Muccleston.

The crest on the top of the coat of arms is described as.........

“A greyhound head erased PPR collared”

The family motto is Fideliter which means faithfully.

John Fletcher Muckleston's coat of arms were quartered and incorporated the coat of arms of his immediate ancestors. These coat of arms are described as....

Quarterly, first vert, on a Fesse between three greyhound heads erased AR three crosses Pattee GU for Muckleston; second, OR, two ravens SA for Corbett; third AR a cross engraved SA between 4 ogresses, each charged with a Pheon of the field for Fletcher; fourth SA two shinbones in saltire the sinister surmounted of the dexter AR.

If you were familiar from the terminology you could draw up this complicated coat of arms without reference to any picture or drawing. For those a little less experienced a little deciphering is required.

Vert = green. Fesse = broad horizontal band. Erased = torn off horizontally leaving a ragged edge. AR = argent or silver normally depicted in white. Pattee is a type of cross (also known as St Johns cross). GU = gules or Red. OR = gold often depicted in yellow. SA = sable or black. Pheon = a barbed arrowhead. Saltire – a broad diagonal cross. Sinister = right hand side. Dexter = left hand side.

When wealthy families married it was quite common for the bride’s coat of arms (if she was an heiress) to be incorporated into the coat of arms of her husband. As you can see from the description of the coat of arms of John Fletcher Muckleston, the original coat of arms as used by Hoeskyn Muckleston were in the first quarter, the heiress Mary Corbett who brought the Merrington estates into the family and his grandmother Mary Fletcher’s coat of arms are also included. To date the fourth quarter remains a mystery.

Crests only came into general use during the reign of Edward III (1327 – 1377) and our own Muckleston family crest is now familiar to all of us. Heraldry was a major part of upper middle class life and crests could be used as a mark of ownership or purely as decoration and could be found on most family possessions.

In the Shropshire Record and Research office in Shrewsbury is a book containing the Muckleston Pedigree. Within this book are many colourful coats of arms depicting the families joined to form the Muckleston ancestry.

In St. Chad's church in Shrewsbury is a window dedicated to Edward Muckleston which includes the family coat of arms.

Window dedicated to Edward Muckleston in St Chad's Church Shrewsbury

Muckleston Surname Variants

In Norman times many spelling variants were used in documents, often different spellings referred to the same person. These variants included:de Mucclestone, de Muccleston, de Mucklestone, Mokleston, Mukleston, and Mokeleston

Today there are four variants in use Muckleston, Mucklestone, Mackleston and Muckelston.

Muckleston Surname Distribution

In the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries individuals with the surname could be found mainly centred in and around Oswestry. Although the town of Oswestry is in the county of Shropshire which is in England it is on the border with Wales and some of the land the family owned and lived on was officially in Wales. Some family members could therefore be considered to be Welsh.

In the late 16th century one branch of the family inherited lands, through marriage, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire and the family was associated with this town until very recently.

As was the case with many families, some members of the family settled in London.

A branch of the family appeared in Bedfordshire in the late 18th century. It is likely that this is a completely separate branch to that originating in Shropshire, possibly resulting in a name change. There were people in the area with the surname Muggleston and it could have been mis-transcribed and perpetuated.

By the 19th century Mucklestons can be found in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.

One branch in the USA uses the surname Muckelston, the first person found, so far, to be using this spelling of the surname died in Pennsylvania in 1810.

Occasionally the name would change from Muckleston to Mucklestone from one generation to the next.

In the late 19th century two brothers and a sister moved away from home and changed their surname from Muckleston to Mackleston. Clearly a family falling out as they all recorded their father as dead on their marriage certificates, even though he was still alive. At the time of writing (May 2018) there have only been 66 people baptised with the surname Mackleston, all descendants of these brothers.

Today this surname is distributed across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

One Name Study Website

A one name study website, containing histories, documents, photographs and much more can be found at Muckleston one name study website

We welcome any contributions you may wish to make to our research.

Muckleston DNA Project

A DNA project exists for the surnames of Mackleston, Muckleston, Mucklestone and Muckelston and can be found at

Mackleston and Muckleston DNA website

Please send a join request if you wish to join the project and / or add your own DNA results.

Notable Mucklestons

This wiki contains individual pages for the following notable family members: Click on the name to be taken to their page.