THE MUDDLE FAMILIES
THE LINEAGE & HISTORY OF THE MUDDLE FAMILIES OF THE WORLD
INCLUDING VARIANTS MUDDEL, MUDDELL, MUDLE & MODDLE
The earliest the Framfield Muddles have been traced back to is the marriage of Thomas Muddle to Martha Watson at Framfield in Sussex in 1722. Where Thomas came from is currently a mystery; the only earlier records of Muddles at Framfield are from nearly a century before and no link between these and Thomas has been found.
Of Thomas and Martha’s eight children, two died in infancy. Their eldest child, a son also called Thomas, and their three youngest children that didn’t die in infancy, who were all daughters, all moved to the adjacent parishes of Speldhurst and Withyham on the Kent/Sussex boarder. The son Thomas had only one child, a daughter, but she had an illegitimate son, Samuel Muddle, to carry on the name. He moved to Cranbrook in Kent but only had daughters so with the death of his last spinster daughter in 1903 the Muddle name died out in that branch of the family that moved to the Speldhurst/ Withyham area.
Thomas and Martha’s third son, James, moved to Uckfield where he had two sons and two daughters, the sons both moved to Isfield. From the Muddles at Isfield we have the uniquely named Jemuel Muddle who moved to Clapham in London where he had building business. He married twice, producing two families of children who differed in age by about 30 years, and his second wife, who was about 30 years younger than him, married again after his death and had another family of children that resulted in a time span of 51 years between the births of the eldest and youngest of the three families of children. It was Jemuel’s grandson Henry George Muddle who started the family of farming Muddles at Edgware in Middlesex and then Ridge in Hertfordshire.
Jemuel’s brother Elijah fathered, or at least is thought to have fathered, George Muddle, who was born at Isfield in 1817 and was possibly the worst rouge to go by the name of Muddle. George started life a bastard, being born a year before his mother married Elijah and he was continually in trouble. In 1839, when he was 22, he joined the army from civil custody and a few months later a woman at Isfield registered the birth of a child and name George as the father. He was frequently in trouble during his 10 years in the army and was discharged with ignominy. In 1851 he served 6 weeks hard labour in Maidstone Gaol for stealing a pair of boots. Then in 1861 he was back in Isfield living with a woman, who was probably already married, and her children. Finally it seems that under the name Weaver, his mother’s maiden name, he probably fathered a child by another woman that died a few months later in Uckfield Workhouse. George then disappears, his fate unknown.
George’s brother William went to Clapham to work for his uncle Jemuel and produced a family that was to live at Tooting and surrounding areas in South London. He deserted his family when the children were young and went back to Isfield where for many years until his death he lived a nomadic life-style.
Many of the descendants of the two Muddle brothers who moved to Isfield continued to live in the surrounding area of Sussex, but James Muddle, who married Phoebe Collins in 1828 and worked in the papermaking industry in Isfield and Lewes, moved to Snodland in Kent to work in the same industry there. His descendants lived at Cuxton and the surrounding area in Kent and worked in the cement and paper industries.
Returning to Thomas and Martha, their second son, John, was the one whose descendants were to include those that stayed closest to home in Framfield, and were also to move the furthest away, to another continent, America.
John’s daughter Martha married William Barton, and their descendants include many of the Bartons living in and around Framfield to the present day.
John’s son John, who married Rosamond Gower, née Barton, stayed in Framfield and the associated village of Blackboys, as did most of his descendants except two of his grandsons. One of these grandsons was John Muddle who married Ellen Berry and was a miller by trade. He ended up owning and operating the water mill at Ashington in Sussex, which has now passed down through several generations of his family. Some of his descendants still live there and others live nearby in the coastal towns of Sussex. Another of John’s grandsons, Samuel Muddle, went farming at Manningford Abbotts in Wiltshire and it was Samuel’s eldest son, Henry George Muddle, who is the only Muddle known to have received a gallantry medal, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, during the First World War.
John’s son James, who married Mary Trigwell, lived at Uckfield and had six sons and three daughters. Most of these children became nonconformists. Two of the sons and two of the daughters remained living in the Uckfield area. The youngest son, Samuel moved to Brighton where he became a successful fly proprietor – the cabby of his time. But it was the other four children who were the most adventurous. After marrying and starting families, sons Thomas, James and John, and daughter Elizabeth all migrated with their families to the USA between 1837 and 1840. They first settled in Elizabeth Township in New Jersey, where the sons changed their family names to Muddell, Elizabeth had already become a Stoneham by marriage. But even this proved not to be far enough west for some of them, for only a few years later Thomas and his family moved to Illinois where they changed their name again, to Medell. Elizabeth and her family moved to Chicago in Illinois at about the same time and her husband became a successful businessman there. About a decade later some of John’s family moved west to Ohio and Indiana. Then in the 1860s one of James’ sons, Trayton, and two of John’s sons, Ebenezer and John, fought on the Union side in the American Civil War. Later generations of these families have continued the migration west to Colorado, Utah and California.