Squire Edward Mucklow

Death of Mr Edward Mucklow, JP
Transcribed from Weekly News 5 January 1907

For comparison, the figure in brackets after a monetary amount is what the equivalent amount was worth in 2008, based on the retail price index. From www.measuringworth.com

A Notable Career

Full of years, and leaving behind him the memory of a career conspicuous for its characteristics of distinction, integrity, and generosity, Mr Edward Mucklow, of Whitstone Head, Cornwall, and Grange-over-Sands, Lancashire, has passed away. His death, at the age of 85 took place on Thursday of last week at his Cornish residence, among the warm hearted Westcountry folk whose affection his good deeds had earned and won for him, and amid the scenes from which the stamp of his excellent works will never be effaced. Squire Mucklow, as he will always be remembered, was a Lancashire man, where he carried on important dye works, but in this brief memoir it is his association with the West which is our chief concern. It was over thirty years ago that he first commenced the purchase of his great estate in North Cornwall, but few who saw it then would recognise it now. What in many parts was little better than a barren waste has been transformed by Mr Mucklow into a fertile and productive property. To do this he had to spend many thousands of pounds, but it has been done, with the result that the property is now a model estate. Land running into almost countless acres has been drained, roads have been made, farm buildings, houses, and cottages have been erected in all directions and the property may well be pointed to as an example for other landowners to follow. Mr Mucklow’s tenants had under him a good holding, and received from their landlord every encouragement to put forth their best efforts. As a breeder of shire horses and pedigree cattle, Mr Mucklow had a national reputation, and his stock generally was of a very high quality, as was often testified to the large gatherings which invariably assembled when any of his pedigree animals were brought under the hammer. He had occupied the Presidential chair of both the Launceston and Holsworthy and Stratton Agricultural Associations, and in many other practical ways did much to advance the interests of the agriculture community generally. He recognised, as many do nowadays, the paucity of agricultural representation in the Legislative Chamber, and only his years prevented him from accepting an invitation to contest the Launceston Division in the Unionist interest. Not only from the agricultural point of view, but generally the welfare of those among whom he resided, and the progressive development of the district, were with the late Mr Mucklow always very present. He saw the great possibilities of advancement with which ‘Bude’ was endowed by its natural beauties and he was one of the foremost in the negotiations which led up to the introduction of the railway. Another important asset which he lived to see come into the possession of Bude was the water supply, in the securing of which he was one of the principal advocates. Mr Mucklow as a Justice of the Peace for Cornwall, and also for Lancashire.

A Striking Interview Called

We are taking the liberty to set before our readers the greater part of an interview with the late Mr Mucklow which appeared in the “Cable” in 1894 and was by courtesy of that journal reproduced in our pages at the time. It is from the facile pen of Mr Alfred Wilcox and brings into prominence many of the striking characteristics which “the squire” displayed in his efforts for the advancement of the district and those who resided therein.
Mr Wilcox wrote as follows:
In North Cornwall, at all events, there is no landowner better known or more generally esteemed than “Squire Mucklow”, the man who has changed the face of the country from Whitstone Head to Widemouth Bay, and whose property extends from the Tamar to the sea. It is nearly twenty years since Mr Mucklow began to purchase land in the West of England. He is not a native of either Devonshire of Cornwall, but of Lancashire. Although he was brought up on a farm, where his father sent him to live when he was a little boy in order to get strong, and in those early days declared he would be a farmer, it was not in the field of agriculture that he first distinguished himself.
He served under a doctor of chemistry for two years and as soon as he gained this invaluable experience he became a merchant and employed a chemist of his own. The business that of a manufacturer of old dyes which yielded him both fame and fortune is now carried on by his two sons and the name of Mucklow is as much respected in the Exchanges of London, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool as it is in Devon and Cornwall. All his life a staunch Liberal – a Conservative-Liberal as he loves to describe himself – Mr Mucklow, who by the way was a promoter of the Manchester Ship Canal, took part in the agitation for the repeal of the corn Laws when he was in his teens.
At the age of seventeen he attended a grand meeting in Lancashire, and when others who were present had subscribed their hundreds, or fifties, or tens, he rolled up a sovereign in a piece of paper, and wrote inside, “From a lover of Free Trade in the employ of a Tory.” Even in those days, long before the ballot, he never sought to conceal his views. Nor has he changed them, though, like so many Liberals, he was unable to support Mr Gladstone on the Home Rule question. He refused to stand in the Unionist interest in the North-Eastern Division of Cornwall, on the ground that at this age he had no wish to enter Parliament.

When he first acquired property in the West of England he used to visit it every other month, but when he finally retired from his business he determined to make his home chiefly at Whitstone Head, instead of at his Grange on the sands.

These and other particulars I gleaned from my conversation with the squire, when I had partaken of his hospitality, and has assured him that the interest which his efforts on behalf of agriculture had excited was not at all confined to his two counties.

“When you speak of my own counties, I think it is necessary to tell you that I have only thirty or forty acres in Devonshire.”

“How many acres have you altogether?”

“About seven thousand. Three thousand acres are in Whitstone parish, two thousand six hundred in Poundstock and fifteen hundred in Week St Mary.”

Subsequently Mr Mucklow explained that he had built his house 535 feet above the level of the sea, in order to obtain the full benefit of the bracing air. From the windows of the delightful dining room may be seen a splendid expanse of country, with “Brown Willie” and a range of hills in the distance. But it was in the squire’s breezy sanctum that I ventured to ask him a few leading questions.

“Do you mind informing me how much money you have invested in land in Cornwall and Devon?”

“I gave £100,000 (£7,884,000) for the property, and I have spent from £50,000t o £60,00 (£4,730,400) in improvements.”

“You farm a considerable portion of the land yourself?”

“About a thousand acres. But I do not wish to continue farming. What I am doing is only for the benefit of my two sons, among whom the property will be divided.”

“One of your sons is, I think, a master of hounds?”

“Yes, the younger son. My elder son is considered a great judge of horses.”

“You have a famous stud?”

“I have upwards of a hundred pedigree animals.”

“I think you spend a good deal in draining?”

“I spend from £10 to £15 (£1,182.60) per acre in draining land and putting it in order. That is without the cost of fencing.”

“Do you increase the rents in order to recompense yourself for improvements?”

“There has been no advance of rents on my estate for over half a century. But in addition to the improvements effected, I have made a remission of 10 per cent. Farmers won’t pay tithes in these days. They laugh at you when the subject is mentioned.

“You employ a large number of men?”

“More than a hundred. They receive half-a-crown a day (£9.85) and in the harvest time sixpence (£1.97) extra. The wages on my farms, with the cost of materials etc amounts to £600 (£47,304)a month, or £7,200 (£567,648) a year. I have rebuilt seventeen farm houses and farm building in the three parishes.”

“And roads?”

“Well, you will see I have made a good many. But now, if you are willing, we will have a walk round Whitstone.”

In the course of our pleasant stroll in the bright sunshine, we made a brief stay the “the Barton.” Here I began to realise what the squire meant by his improvements. It would make some of the farmers in Essex or Cambridgeshire green with envy if they saw the buildings at this farm. The cattle shed, with twenty-four stalls, the stables, the dung shed, the capacious bar, the bull house, the house for the young stock, and the hospital for sick cattle, are all built in the most substantial solidity, but the details have been carefully thought out. For instance, the granary is connected, and ample space is provided for a good supply of hay.

“The tenant farms 250 acres,” Mr Mucklow explained; “and what you see here is, I think, typical of the majority of the other farms. Some of the buildings are not quite so complete, but generally speaking, I proceed on the same lines.”

“The Barton” Farm is a large one, but the squire pays equal attention to the requirements of his smaller tenants. I saw what he is doing for a man who only farms fifteen acres. Buildings of a kind far superior to those possessed by many large farmers in other parts of England were being erected for him, and I was not surprised to find that the comfortable little house attached to the farm house had been christened by its occupant, or his friends, “Paradise Cottage.”

“I do not,” observed my host, “believe in three acres and a cow. Three acres may keep the cow, but they won’t keep the man. it is possible that ten or fifteen acres may keep him, but the tenant for whom I am erecting the buildings you have just seen finds it necessary to work as well as to look after his own fifteen acres.”

just then we passed a thatched cottage.

“Have you many thatched cottages remaining on your estates?” I Asked.

“That is the only one. Those are my cottages,” added the squire, indicating some trim little houses on the other side of the road. One of these was the Post Office, and entering it in order to buy stamps, I found that the interior corresponded to the exterior.

“I see that there is a savings bank attached,” I said.

“Yes; we got that with some difficulty, though as I urged at the time it is in villages like this, where there is no other bank, that a savings bank is most needed. If a man has to walk a long way for the purpose of depositing a shilling, the chances are that he spends it on the journey. Those cottages have three bedrooms each, the garden you noticed, and a place to keep wood. The rent is a shilling (£3.94) a week.

Early next morning, we started for Week St Mary, and Widemouth Bay. Right and left of us en route, were fields belonging to Mr Mucklow, and now I was able to contrast for myself the fields which are still over-run with gorse and those which have been placed under cultivation.

“Each field,” remarked the squire, “demands and receives separate treatment. You cannot treat them successfully in the bulk. It is to that fact that it always observes this principal that I attribute such success as I have achieved.”

“We are now continued Mr Mucklow, “approaching the first farm in the parish of Week St Mary which I treated. It is a hundred and fifty acres in extent, and is one of the farms in my own occupation. Now we can graze thirty bullocks where we grazed three.”

We dismounted, and I found on inspection that the farm buildings were similar in character to those at “The Barton” farm in Whitstone, including the tank.

“The tanks alone must cost you a good deal,” I said.

“They have cost me some £400 (£31,536),” replied the squire, ” and you will find one on every farm. I consider them indispensable.

At Poundstock I saw a swamp being actually converted into a road, and realised more fully than I had done before the arduous and costly nature of Mr Mucklow’s operations.

At lunch I begged the squire to tell me frankly what he thought of the National Agricultural Union.

“I am a subscriber to the N.A.U. and support it with all my heart and soul. Yes, we must have an agricultural party if we are to make our influence felt. If I had been sixty I would have accepted the invitation I had to contest the division, solely for the sake of doing what I could for agriculture.

Our Marhamchurch Correspondent Writes

Much surprise and regret was manifest here on Friday morning when it became known that Mr E Mucklow, J.P. of Whitstone Head, had passed away on the previous evening. Mr Mucklow’s name was a familiar one to all, from the youngest to the oldest, and was held in the highest esteem, his munificence’s being as much in evidence in the neighbouring parishes of Poundstok, Week St Mary, and Bridgerule as in the one in which he lived and died. Had his remains been laid to rest in the old churchyard at Whitstone, which is so near his residence, and where he was in the habit of worshipping when in health, it is probable that a very great number of friends would have been present to pay their last tribute of respect to one so universally known and beloved. Instead however, the interment took place in the family vault at Bury, in Lancashire. The body was encased in a shell and outer coffin, the latter being of English oak, with massive brass furniture and breastplate bearing the following inscription: “Edward Mucklow, born May 3rd 1821, died Dec 27th 1906.” In compliance with Mr Mucklow’s expressed wish, all arrangements were carried out by his own employees. His remains were taken to Whitstone and Bridgerule Station on a large spring trolley of his own, which loving hands had previously prepared with great care, covering the exterior with laurels and other emblems of mortality. It was drawn by a team of the late Mr Mucklow’s own horses, followed by Mrs Mucklow (widow) and Mr E Mucklow (deceased’s elder son); in their own private carriage, Mr W G Graver, the estate agent. The coffin was made from timber grown on the estate, while the undertakers and bearers were all men who are in constant employment of the same. The cortege left Whitstone Head early on Monday morning for the station, where a special van was awaiting its arrival. Into this the coffin was placed and was thus conveyed to its destination, leaving Whitstone Station by the 8.7am up train. Mr Graver also travelling by the same train. The funeral took place on Tuesday at 1 o’clock when all that was mortal of Mr Mucklow was laid to rest.

From R M Heard – Recorder Bude OC Soc – July 2013

E.Mucklow who died Dec. 1906 lies buried beside his first wife Deborah in the churchyard at Lindale near Grange over Sands. That is the parish where his other estate CASTLE HEAD is situated.