THE MUDDLE FAMILIES
THE LINEAGE & HISTORY OF THE MUDDLE FAMILIES OF THE WORLD
INCLUDING VARIANTS MUDDEL, MUDDELL, MUDLE & MODDLE
The earliest the Portland Muddles have been traced back to is 1693 when William Muddle was described as a husbandman of Portland in the will of his uncle who lived at Winfrith Newburgh. There were no Muddles recorded in Portland before this date so it’s thought that William may well have come from Winfrith Newburgh, but it has not so far been possible to prove this as it’s thought that William was born about 1671 and there is a gap in the Winfrith Newburgh parish registers from 1645 to 1675. William and his wife Grace had two sons before William, who had become a sailor in the Royal Navy, went missing in Barbados during 1697.
William and Grace’s descendants were either quarrymen working the famous Portland limestone or mariners, some of whom were probably involved in the transport of the stone, as all heavy materials were moved by water at that time. The Muddle name died out in the line descending from William and Grace’s eldest son, John, except that his granddaughter Rebecca Muddle married her second cousin John Muddle, grandson of William and Grace’s younger son, William, and it was two sons from this union that kept the Portland Muddle name going.
Though the Muddle name survived in the Portland family it had died out in Portland by the early 19th century because the two men that were to continue the line were both mariners and moved away from Portland.
The younger of these two, Robert, moved to London where he married and had four children before dying in about 1840, probably at sea. His son John continued this line with thirteen children born at Poplar near the London docks. This family continued to live mostly in the East End of London and work as labourers in or around the docks, until during the latter part of the 20th century they started to move away, and as the century was ending the Muddle name finally died out in this branch.
The elder of the two mariner brothers from Portland, William, became a boatman in the coastguard, he married at Dover in Kent, had twelve children, was stationed at Portland, Shorncliff, Lydd and Felixstowe, and then on retirement settled in Dover. Through the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century most of his descendants continued to live in the Dover area and several continued to earn a living as mariners, but since the Second World War they have moved further afield with family members now living as far away as Australia and New Zealand. The mariner tradition has died out, but William’s descendants are the only members of the Portland Muddles to carry the name into the 21st century.