This is the biography of the Reverend Edward Muckleston MA (1819–1913), whose life was filled with scandals, many played out in the newspapers. Selfish and self-centred, he behaved in a way at odds with his vocation, seeming to care little about the impact of his actions on others. Who would expect a vicar to persistently fare dodge on the railways, maliciously damage a neighbour’s trees and even refuse to pay his washerwoman?
Edward was born into an ancient landowning family in Shropshire but he lost it all causing his family to suffer as a result. Having been forced to resign from one parish, he obtained a position in a small parish in Warwickshire and was, for many years, as unpopular with his parishioners there, as he had been in Shropshire. Despite many appearances in court regarding the validity of his appointment, it was a position he would hold for forty-eight years until his death.
His story provides insight into life during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, especially within the clergy. His extraordinary life has been pieced together using newspapers and local archives, by Janet Mackleston who has a family connection to the tale.
Janet Mackleston’s working life was spent in senior management positions for various retailers and, for the last ten years, at a business college sharing her experience by training managers. Writing and family history are her passions. Janet is a member of the Shropshire Family History Society and has written articles for their magazine, amongst others. She lives in Newcastle, Staffordshire.
Janet says, “For many years the Reverend Edward Muckleston was a name on the family tree and there was nothing to suggest he was anything other than a kind, caring vicar who took care of his flock. I then came across a newspaper article relating to a visit to a court regarding his fare-dodging activities. I was intrigued and wondered what happened to him as a result. On further researching his life, much of which was played out in the newspapers of the time, I was surprised by what I found. I have written this book in an unbiased manner to allow the reader to make up their own minds about his behaviours.”