The Descendants of Imri Backler and Frances Basham of Haverhill

Imri Backler (1771 – 1842 Haverhill), a weaver living at Peashill Lane, Haverhill in the 1841 census married Frances Basham (1773 – 1846) in 1795 and they founded a long line of Backlers in the Haverhill area.  They had six children and nothing further is yet known about Elizabeth Backler (born 1797), Harriet Backler (born 1811) and Lucy Backler (born 1818).

Employment in Haverhill was dominated by Gurteen, a manufacturer of drabbett used for making smocks.  Today the buildings still exist in the town centre, but the factory, known as Chauntry Mills, has now been closed.   Gurteen’s head office remains in the French Gothic building and the company is still actively trading.  Many people worked at the company, which employed 2500 at its peak.  The company was founded in 1784 by Daniel Gurteen, who was a master weaver of Huguenot descent.


John Backler (1796 Suffolk – 10th April 1859 Haverhill), a silk weaver living at Peashill Lane, Haverhill in the 1841 census, was the oldest son and he married Mary Ann Peacock (1797 – 1831) on 30th October 1815 in Bury St Edmunds.  Their offspring were:

  • William Backler (born 1817 Bury St Edmunds – 1870) married Caroline Farrant (born 1819 Haverhill – 1893), was a silk weaver.  They were living at Crowland Road, Haverhill in the 1851 census and had three children: James Backler 8, Eliza Backler 5 and Walter Backler 8 months.   There were further children Harry Backler (1853-1911), Frank Backler (1855-1933) and Alice Backler (born 1864).  For more on Walter and Frank – see below.
  • John Backler (1827 – 1894), a silkweaver, who married Keziah Radford, also a silk weaver, in 1848 and they lived at Chauntry Croft, Haverhill according to the 1851 census – see separate blog page.
  • Arthur Backler (1813 -1876), a silkweaver, who married Rachel (born 1814 Steeple Bumpstead).  At the time of the 1851 census Arthur and Rachel were living in Coggeshall Road, Braintree, Essex.  Arthur and Rachel had a son John Backler (born 1846 Haverhill) who married Mary Ann Clayton.
  • There were four children about whom nothing further is known: Elizabeth Backler (1829 – 1915), Mary Backler (1831), George Backler (1833) and James Backler (1838).
  • Their remaining child was Charles Backler (1822), also a silkweaver, who lived at 13 Chauntry Croft, Haverhill in the 1851 census.  He married Mary Ann, who was a year younger than him, and they in turn had seven children:  Tamar Backler (1843), a silk winder aged 8 in the 1851 census, Mary Backler (1844), Ellis Backler (1851) (who married Sarah Thake and then Louisa Mizon), Christiana Backler (1854), Odessa Backler (1856), Worry Backler (1859) (who married Hannah and then they had Charles Backler (1880) and Hannah Backler (1881)) and finally Alma Backler (1860).  It is interesting to note that a number of the first names in this era related to the Crimean War.  There will be more on Ellis in a later blog page.

Charles Backler (born 11th September 1808 – 1888), a silk weaver and later sexton at Haverhill Cemetery, was Imri’s and Frances’s second son – see separate blog page.

Further information on two sons of William and Caroline, mentioned above is:

  • Walter Backler (1850 – 1927), a silk weaver, married Ann Taylor (1849-1892) on 6th September 1873 in Haverhill.  Walter and Ann lived in Haverhill at Pound Row, Crowland Road in the 1891 census.  They had nine children: George Albert Backler (born 1872), Reginald Backler (1874 – 12th March 1901), James Backler (born 1878) who lived two days, William Backler (9th December 1880 – 13th October 1949), Frank Backler (1883-1885), Rosa Lily Backler (1885-1955), Alice May Backler (1887-1961), Kate Backler (1888-1889) and Ada Backler (1891-1970).   William was a private in the Suffolk Regiment from 1899 at the age of 18 until 1902 and appears to have served during the Boer War.  He gave his occupation on enlisting as a hair weaver at Gurteens.  George Albert married Alice and they lived in Haverhill at 7 Snapes Yard in the 1901 census when he was a mat maker, moving to 87 High Street in the 1911 census when he was a blacksmith’s striker.  They had a son, Albert Backler, born 1897, who became a bootmaker’s assistant.
  • Frank Backler (9th May 1855- 28th December 1933) married Elizabeth Willis (1855-1901).  They had seven children: Lilian Backler (born 1872), Florence Backler (born 1878), Frank Backler (born 1880), Alfred Backler (14th March 1882-1965), Mary Backler (1885-1905), Phil Backler (1888-1969 in Newmarket) and Kelly Backler (born 1890).  When he died Frank was living at 23 Lordscroft Lane, The Pightle, Haverhill and probate was granted in the sum of £1276 5s 2d to Muriel Hilda Backler, his widow, so he married again after Elizabeth.

This is more information on some of Frank’s and Elizabeth’s children:

  • Frank married Flora (1878-1915) in 1899.  They had three daughters: Dora Hilda Backler (born 1900), Constance Gladys Backler (born 1901) and Mildred Flora Backler (born 1903).
  • Alfred married Elizabeth Poole (1883- 1964) 0n 26th December 1902 and they had eight children: Alfred Hector Backler (18th April 1902- October 1994 in Staffordshire), Pearl Backler (born 10th September 1903), Edna May Backler (born 19th June 1905), Stanley Backler (23rd May 1907-11th August 1992 in Cambridge), Philip Backler (17th March 1910-November 1992 in Cambridge), Reginald Frank Backler (19th February 1913-November 1984), Killy Beatrice Backler (born 20th January 1915) and Harry Avon Backler (born 23rd April 1918).  Alfred survived serving in the First World War, being sent to France on 4th November 1916, when he lived at 7 Chauntry Row, Haverhill, according to his enlistment record.  His son Reginald Frank joined the army on 13th June 1940 and served for the whole war, being put on reserve 0n 17th April 1946.
  • Phil at the age of 22 in the 1911 census was a warehouse assistant porter in London near St Paul’s Cathedral.  The company was Dawson and Leafs Ltd at 14-26 Carter Lane and they were drapery wholesalers.  I did some further research and found that Carter Lane in the 12th Century was formerly called Shoemakers Row, according to the blog  This is an extensive and excellent blog and there are many more pages I will be reading!

Above there are two links into the Mizon name and two into the Basham name and I am aware that they were also well established Haverhill families.  There is much to do to follow through on further information about this branch of the Backlers.