The first Middleton to own Middleton Estate was Christopher Middleton, the vicar of Llanarthne church, and a relative of the Middleton family of Denbigh. Christopher was paying large amounts rent for the land to the Duchy of Lancaster, and it was wondered how a simple vicar could afford such fees.
The answer, it seems, lies with Christopher’s brothers; John, Henry, and David. These three brothers, as well as others in the Middleton family, were heavily involved in the creation and expeditions of the East India Company.
What is the East India Company?
The East India Company began in 1599, when Robert Middleton of the Denbigh family petitioned for the Queen to grant a charter that would increase the honour of Britain and advance the trade of merchandise. This created new opportunities for merchants and adventurers, allowing men to acquire great amounts of wealth. It is this wealth that allowed Christopher to afford the Middleton Estate.
Unfortunately, all three brothers had perished at sea by 1615, leaving behind David’s son, Henry (and nephew of Christopher), to be the first person recorded as residing in Middleton hall.
The hall was the largest building in the local area, and was recorded in 1676 as having up to 17 hearths, all of which the Middleton family paid tax for. The gardens surrounding the hall were extensive with a formal design, with ponds, geometric pathways and terraces, and ornamental beds.
The Middletons occupied the estate for over 150 years, however, as time moved on and generations passed, the family’s fortunes depleted, until, in 1776, the son of the last female Middleton (who married into the Gwyn family), was forced to sell the hall and its surrounding estate in order to pay off debts.