Leading family members in the UK

From their humble beginnings as yeomen, many of the descendants of our early family members have achieved considerable prominence in UK society. This is the story of their development.

In Sir William Dugdale’s book, The Visitation of Yorkshire 1666, he refers to a letter dated 1626 issued by John Borough Miles, Norroy King of Arms of The Northern Parts beyond The Trent, in which the following arms are confirmed to Elias Micklethwait of York, son of John Micklethwait of Ingbirchworth, Yorkshire.  

The fact that the arms were confirmed rather than granted indicates that they had been in use by the family prior to 1626. The letter found that these arms belonged to ‘the old family of Micklethwayt’ and were so recorded amongst those ‘of illustrious people in these northern parts’.

Since then, many members of the family have achieved considerable success in their chosen careers. Following are some examples:

Sir John Micklethwait (1612–1682) 

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Educated at Queens College, Cambridge. He became President of The College of Physicians and was physician in ordinary to King Charles II. Reference to a monumental inscription to Sir John can be found at The British Library in A New View of London by Edward Hatton (p. 161). There is a large white marble monument in the middle of the south side wall at St Botolph’s Church, London.

John Thomas Micklethwait (1843–1906)

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Afforded the privilege of being buried in Westminster Abbey. The 1871 census shows John as an architect living in London; and his work can be found in many churches across the United Kingdom. In 1898 he was appointed surveyor to the Dean and Chapter, Westminster Abbey. In 1900, he was also made architect to St George’s Chapel, Windsor. His bust is located in the roof space at Westminster Abbey. The original Yorkshire Micklethwait Coat of Arms appears on his gravestone.

Major General Sir Llewellyn Atcherley (1871–1954)

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Married Eleanor Frances Micklethwait in 1897. Besides being entitled to wear the Victorian Order, he held the Queen’s medal (6 clasps), The King’s medal (2 clasps) and the Ashanti star. He served on the staff of Lord Kitchener at Pretoria and was twice mentioned in despatches during the South African campaign. He was appointed as Assistant Quartermaster – General of the regular forces. On passing into the reserve, he was appointed Chief Constable of Shropshire. After two years, he became Chief Constable of The West Riding from 1908 until 1919 and then H.M. Inspector of Constabulary for the north of England. He and his wife had twin sons, who both joined the RAF. One became an Air Vice Marshal and the other became an Air Marshal.

Rear Admiral St John Aldrich Micklethwait (1901–1977) 

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He served as a midshipman on H.M.S. Thunderer in World War I and served on Royal Navy Tribal Class destroyers during World War II. He was awarded three DSOs: the first in 1939, the second in 1940 at the 2nd Battle of Narvik, and his third in 1942 at the Battle of Sirte in the Mediterranean. John was captured at Tobruk in Libya in 1942. He remained a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany until 1945 and retired in 1954 as a Rear Admiral.

For a full list of our family’s leading members and their achievements, see the Leading family members over the centuries page. It includes not only Micklethwaits but also all those that married Micklethwaits.

Maybe the most interesting story is of one Rev. Thomas Micklethwait (1538–1592) and his descendants, which you can read in the article, The UK Southern Branch.