6E. Backler descendants of Ann Backler and John Freeman (1): MORGAN/MORTON/BINSTEED/WILLIAMS/SNOOKE

In which we see that Ann Backler and John Freeman had six children in all, three of whom married and had children. This post looks at the MORGAN descendants, from the marriage of Sarah Freeman (1774-1856) to Rev Thomas MORGAN (1771-1851). We meet, among others, the delightfully-named Rev Hargood Bettesworth Snooke…

Sarah Freeman (1774-1856) was pre-deceased by two older siblings, Elizabeth Ann Freeman (1772-1789) and John Freeman (1773-1773). Also pre-deceasing Sarah was her younger sibling John Sotherton Freeman (1777-1777).

Sarah Freeman (1774-1856) married Rev Thomas MORGAN (1770-1851) on 4 November 1806 at All Saints Edmonton. Among the witnesses were his brother-in-law Richard PACK, of whom much more in a subsequent post. Thomas was born in Devinnock, Brecknock, and educated at Wadham and Jesus Colleges, Oxford. As well as holding several curacies, he was made a chaplain in the Royal Navy, latterly chaplain of the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth. There is a portrait of him at the National Maritime Museum, described at https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-14343 – with further biographical details. The family moved around a lot, as shown in baptismal and census records. According to the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, Thomas sold his lands in Brecknock when his only son died in 1844 ( https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-14343 ). At his death in 1851 he lived at North End Lodge, Milton, Hampshire.

Sarah and Thomas had five children, as follows:

  • Elizabeth Morgan (1808, Goudhurst, Kent – 1885) married Rev David MORTON (1799-1884) on 1 October 1835 in her hometown of Portsea, Hampshire. This marriage re-kindled (or maintained) the Freeman family links with Northamptonshire. Witnesses included, among others, her Northamptonshire-based uncle by marriage Richard Pack, who had also witnessed her parents’ marriage. The couple moved back to Northants, the Rev Morton being Rector of the Parish of Harleston. England censuses from 1841 to 1871 show them living in the Rectory – in 1851 with a Housekeeper, Footman and Servant; in 1861 Cook & Housekeeper, Housemaid, Footman and occasional servant – washerwoman; and three servants in 1871, when David Morton was aged 71. In 1881 the couple are found at 2 Carisbrooke House, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. He is designated as Rector of Harlestone – aged 81. Were they just visiting? David Morton’s Probate record in 1884 shows he died in Southampton, but he is buried in Harlestone. In 1885 Elizabeth died in Sussex but is also buried in Harlestone.
  • Philadelphia Sarah Morgan (1814, Goudhurst, Kent – 1852) married Charles Henry BINSTEED (1813 – 1891), Solicitor, on 14 August 1845 at St Thomas Parish Church, Portsmouth. Alas, the names of witnesses are illegible. After her death, her husband re-married in 1860 and had three children – about whom we will not concern ourselves! (That’s a relief, you say…)
  • Anne Morgan (1816 – 1877) married on 3 February 1842 at Portsea, to Captain Woodford John WILLIAMS, R.N (1809-1892), who would become Admiral. The ceremony was taken by her brother-in-law Rev David Morton, and witnesses included her sister Philadelphia Morton and father Thomas Morgan D.D. The couple had onc child:
    • Annie Philadelphia Williams (1843-1914) married Richard Fielden TAYLOR on 6 June 1873 in Southend-on-sea, Essex. Richard was in early censuses a Professor of Music; later on he was described as living on own means. According to the 1911 Census in Torquay, the couple had had 9 children, of whom 5 were still living. Their house had 10 rooms. This family, with the exception of the youngest known child Richard Benjamin Taylor, is an example of a large family with no known descendants – this branch of the family line ends here. Some children were born and died between censuses; known children, identified with the help of online family trees, and confirmed by finding baptismal and death records, were:
      • Annie Gwendolyn Taylor (1874-1966). She died in Torquay, left about £12,000, and showed no known occupation in successive censuses. In the 1921 Census, she, her sister Winifred and their father, aged 82, were living at Abbeyfield, Bridge Road, Torquay. Search on this and you will find an elegant house built in 1860, now a rather attractive-looking B & B! This was her address when she died in 1966.
      • Dorothy Morgan Fielden-Taylor (1875 -1959), aka Angel Lorraine Dorothy Morgan, according to her probate notice. She, too, showed no occupation in censuses. She lived in Somerset in 1939, and died there.
      • Maurice Charles Woodford Taylor (1877-1877, baptised in Chelsea in April and buried at Brompton Cemetery in October.
      • Winifred Elizabeth Taylor (1878-1937), No known occupation, living with her father and sister in 1921 in Torquay. on 19 February 1937 the Torquay Times and South Devon Advertiser reported her funeral, noting that she had lived with her sister Gwendolyn (as above) for about 25 years and was an ardent church-goer and church worker with Tor Church and the Tor Missionary Association. A long list is given of friends and family who attended the funeral and sent wreaths.
      • Diana Margaret Taylor (twin: 1879-1880), buried at St Mary Wandsworth.
      • Rev Canon Thomas Fielden-Taylor (twin: 1879-1937, Wellington NZ). After qualifying in law, went to NZ for health reasons and was ordained. Chaplain to NZ army in the 1st WW, served in and wounded in Dardanelles, then to France, then invalided back to NZ. Married Eleanor Sophia Mules (1873-1950), daughter of Bishop Mules in 1911. After the War, according to NZ dictionary of Biography, he was a missioner at St. Peter’s Mission, Wellington. https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/3t11/taylor-thomas-fielden This link takes you to a longer biography, celebrating his work with youngsters, but also chronicling unproved charges of abuse against him. There were no children of this marriage.
      • Gladys Frances Taylor (1881-1886). Baptised at St Mary’s, Putney; buried in Heene in Sussex.
      • Christine Marie Taylor (1882-1886) Baptised in Putney 2 February 1882, Father now a ‘Gentleman’, as opposed to ‘Professor of Music’ in previous baptisms. Died in Worthing, buried at Heene on 31 May 1886.An inquest was reported in a syndicated article appearing in many newspapers between the end of May and the beginning of June, for instance the Edinburgh Evening News on 31 May. Three children had been suddenly taking ill with vomiting and other symptoms very early one morning, having gone to bed well. One aged 4 (Christine) died later that morning and another (Gladys) in the afternoon. A third child recovered. No obvious evidence of cause, for instance poisoning, was found, and after an adjourned inquest, further work was to be done on the stomach contents at Guy’s Hospital. No further report appears in the British Newspaper Archive.
      • Richard Benjamin Taylor (1883 – ) appears in the 1891 Census with his parents and surviving siblings. In 1901 he was at school in Horsham, Sussex. The Portsmouth Evening News 23 January 1903 reports that at the Gosport Petty Sessions Richard Benjamin Fielding Taylor was fined 2s 6d for riding a bicycle on the footpath of the Fareham Road! He has proved difficult to trace after that.
  • Thomas Charles Morgan (1818 Portsea, Hants – 1844 Secundarabad, India). Lincolnshire Chronicle 29 November 1844: ‘Death of a Promising Young Officer: Died, at Secundarabad in the East Indies, on the 11th of September last, in the 26th year of his age, after a few days’ attack of a violent, irruptive fever, which terminated in pulmonary apoplexy, Lieutenant Thomas Charles Morgan, acting adjutant for nearly four years in the 4th Foot (or King’s Own), the dear and only son of the Rev. Doctor Morgan, Chaplain of Portsmouth Dockyard. He was of an affectionate disposition and generous nature, amiable and a most promising officer…he was beloved in his regiment…
  • Mary Morgan (1820-1880). Married widower Rev Hargood Bettesworth SNOOKE (1807-1875) on 11 October 1853 in Portsea. He was perpetual curate in Portsea, and in 1867 became Chaplain of St Malo and Dinard. He died in Jersey. He had three children by his first marriage, and two daughters with Mary Morgan, who were::
    • Mary Elizabeth Snooke aka Hargood (1855-1912). She never married, appeared with her sister in the 1911 Census at 2 Pemberton Terrace, Cambridge, and died there in 1912, address The Tiled House, Panton Street, Cambridge, citing her sister (below) as executor of her will. Nothing else known.
    • Rosa Mary Morgan Snooke (1857-1929) lived at various addresses in London, always of ‘Private Means’. In 1901 shw is found at the elegant Ladies’ Residential Club at 52 Lower Sloane Street, and as noted above, in 1911 she was living with her sister in Cambridge. The 1921 Census shows her as Rosa Mary Morgan Hargood, 64, living at 34 Panton Street, Cambridge. Her Probate index record shows that she died at Heigham Hall in Norwich, Norfolk in 1929, effects approx £7800.

And thus endeth the roll of descendants of Sarah Freeman and the Rev Thomas Morgan. It appears there are no possible living descendants of this line.

6d. Children of Thomas Freeman and Dennis Gare

In which we quickly consider the descendants of Thomas Freeman and Dennis Gare – excepting those of John Freeman and Ann Backler. We trace links between families, and back to Northamptonshire for those who were in London.

Of eldest child Thomas Freeman (bap 1738 Weedon Bec – ), we know little, other than, as noted in the previous post (6c), that he was a cordwainer in Bedford, with a son Thomas Freeman (approx 1764 – ), who was briefly apprenticed to John Freeman in London before being turned over to John Grant, Citizen and Glover, in 1779. A reference in Bedford Archives catalogue in ‘An Account of the indentures of apprentice bound out by the Bedford Charity’ (X109/1/70) cites ‘John Covington 8 May [1799] to Thomas Freeman of Kingsthorp – shoe maker’. But who knows? End of known story!

Of John Freeman and Ann Backler, we will turn to them in the next post. Their children are direct Backler descendants, while those further mentioned in this post are Backler cousins by marriage.

Of Anne Freeman (bap 23 July 1742 Weedon Bec – ), we know even less than about Thomas. Did she marry? Not sure. And we have no Wills of her parents to see if she is mentioned there. She is not mentioned in her siblings’ Wills so far identified.

Of William Freeman (1745 Weedon Bec -1795), we know more. We have seen in the previous post that he went to London sometime in the 1760s or 70s, and was made free of the Ironmongers in 1787 through his brother John’s recommendation. The record of William’s marriage to Judith T(h)ompson (1756-1785) is one of those felicitous finds that brings some strands together. Taking place at Northampton St Sepulchre on 4 July 1776, it helpfully stipulates that William Freeman is ‘of Cripplegate in the City of London’. The marriage was conducted by C[harles] Tompson, Rector of Mulsoe in the County of Buckinghamshire. who turns out to be Judith’s brother. Witnesses as shown on an ancestry parish record image signed as Geo:Tompson, in a rather large, shaky hand which could be

that of her father, and a very familiar signature for the Backlers.com blog – that of S[otherton] Backler [1746-1819], with its distinctive wavy flourishes seen in many documents of the Society of Apothecaries. This is Ann’s brother, who would eventually become Clerk to the Society. It is surely likely that John Freeman was at his brother’s wedding as well?

George T(h)ompson, Judith’s father, was a Grocer in Northampton, also designated as Alderman in Judith’s baptismal record and Mayor in the baptismal record of his daughter Mary in 1754. His lengthy Will probated in 1787, also the year of his son the Rev Charles Tompson’s death, is long and leaves much property and wealth to innumerable children, including £1,500 in stocks and securities to his son-in-law William Freeman. His daughter Judith also features many times in the Will, but I confess to lack of inclination to decipher it all. The Will was written in 1781, and Judith predeceased her father in 1785, so her legacy would be shared by her surviving children.

William Freeman and Judith Tompson had five children as far as is known. Judith died in 1785, and William in 1795, after which date the surviving youngsters were orphans:

  • Susannah (1777-1778)
  • William (1779 -), married first Mary Hawling, and second Ann Randall, with whom he had two sons, William (1803) and George (1808). We saw in the previous post that William was apprenticed first to his father and then to his uncle John of the Ironmongers. Mention in his brother George’s Will in 1849 would indicate that William was alive then, but I cannot find a suitable death record or Will.
  • George (1780-1854), was also apprenticed to his father, and then turned over to his uncle George Tompson, Judith’s brother, in 1796 after his father’s death. In the 1851 Census he is shown as a 70-year-old retired Grocer, lodging at Radcliffe Terrace, Finsbury, the address given in his brief Will written two years before and proved by his Executor and Nephew John Downes in August 1854, and to whom the rest and residue is bequeathed after £10 and his clothes and linen are left to George’s brother William (see bullet above).
  • Judith Freeman (1781-1854) married John Downes (1781-1849), a wholesale tea dealer. They had at least five children. Their final address was 6 Bedford Place, Russell Square. Judith’s Will written 8 October 1850 would be a delightful read if it were more legible. It specifies exactly what is to go to each child, such as which volumes and editions of books, which silver spoons, which articles of furniture. But life is too short

Of Thomas and Dennis’ last child we can note just John Freeman (bap Sep 1784 St Giles Cripplegate – buried Mar 1785 St Giles Cripplegate, cause of death convulsions).

And so endeth the account of Backler-cousins-by-Freeman-marriage. In the next post we will look at the very many descendants of John Freeman and Anne Backler.

6c. John Freeman (1740-1803) Indigo Maker and Ironmonger from Northamptonshire

In which we look a little more closely at John Freeman (1740-1803), who married Ann Backler (1741-1820), speculating that the woad industry of Northamptonshire prompted his move to London to improve his fortunes in the related industry of indigo making. Also considering his links with the Ironmongers Company and his certain acquaintance (or more?) with the Pellatts, who played a prominent role therein and whose heritage we will examine in future posts.

The tree above will form the basis of this and the next post (or two). It shows two generations of descendants of Thomas FREEMAN (1684-1761) and his wife Dennis GARE (1710-1782). Of particular relevance to this post are John Freeman, who we know married Ann Backler in London, and John’s brother William Freeman (1745-1795), also to be found in London.

From his Will and other sources (see below) we know that John was an Indigo Maker. Without direct evidence, it is possible to speculate that this occupation was related to John’s and brother William’s migration from Northamptonshire to London from an area in Northamptonshire actively involved in the production of dye from woad, a crop widely grown in the area. A post on the Whilton history website describes this industry in some detail. (https://whiltonlhs.org/whilton-history/f/woad-in-whilton ). The post describes the itinerant nature of woad workers, the necessity for communities to separate themselves from the dreadful stink of woad processing (and from the workers who carried this stink with them), and the gains to be made by landowners in letting out fields for growing the biennial crop. Every four years or so, the workers moved on to other sites. One place of residence was in the now-defunct village of Glassthorpe, almost certainly the location cited in entries in the Flore Parish Register, which also indicate that family groups were involved in the woad industry:

. 1732 Apr 9. James son of William & Martha Phipps (Woading-Labourers at Clastrop) was baptized.

1732 July 14. William son of Edward & Mary Phipps (Woaders at Clastrop) was Buried. Affadavit Dated, July 20.

1740 June 22. Elizabeth daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Neal (Woad-Folks) was Baptized.

1740 July 12. James son of Peter & Elizabeth Neal (Woad-folks) was Baptized.

1740 July 20, James son of Peter & Elizabeth Neal was buried. Affid: Dated, July 25.

Woad was the native-grown plant which produced blue dye, but a richer, darker dye could be got from Indigo, which from the start of the 18th century was increasingly being imported from Asia and the Americas, produced largely through the work of slave or indentured labour. (See, for instance:Blue in Eighteenth Century England: Pigments and Usages. Zoriana Lotut. https://journals.openedition.org/1718/1214?lang=e )

From Northamptonshire to London: At some point, probably in the 1860s, William and John – together or separately? – went to London. The first record we find is that of John, being made free by redemption of the Ironmongers Company, on 24 July 1769. The transcribed record on findmypast shows him as a ‘Blue merchant’, son of Thomas Freeman, gentleman. Proposed by W. Price. In 1787, William Freeman (1745-1795), Indigo Maker, becomes free by redemption, proposed by J Freeman, his older brother (nepotism abounds in the City Livery Companies). Further family links appear in Ironmongers’ records over the next decade:

  • Thomas Freeman is apprenticed to John Freeman, 20 March 1779. This Thomas, said to be aged 15 years, is said in the record to be the son of Thomas Freeman (1738/9 – ), Cordwainer, of Bedford. As mentioned in John Freeman’s Will of 1803, the father is John’s older brother Thomas, baptised in Weedon Bec in 1738/9 and frustratingly elusive after that. Young Thomas, apprenticed first to his uncle John, was shortly after, on 17 June 1779, turned over to John Grant, Citizen and Glover, of the Glovers’ Company. No more is known about Thomas Snr or Jnr. Records from Bedfordshire are not very evident online.
  • Thomas Freeman, this time son of John Freeman (1740-1803), was apprenticed to his father, John Freeman, Indigo Maker of St Giles Cripplegate, on 30 April, 1793, for no consideration. This apprenticeship would see out its full time, with Thomas being made Free by service to his father John, on 30 April 1800. We will return to this Thomas (1779-1853) in a future post.
  • William Freeman (1779 – ), son of William Freeman (1745-1795), who we have seen above, became free of the Ironmongers by redemption, was on 29 August 1793 bound apprentice to his father William Freeman, Little Aldermanbury, Indigo Maker. However, William Snr’s dates as above show that he died in 1795, so on 25 November 1795, young William was ‘turned over’ to his uncle John Freeman, Citizen and Ironmonger, for the duration of his apprenticeship. I have not found a record of William being made free of the Ironmongers.
  • George Freeman (1780-1854) also son of William Snr, on 27 November 1794 was also bound apprentice to his father. After William Snr’s death in 1795, on 19 March 1796, George was turned over to George Tompson (see next bullet point), Citizen and Ironmonger, to serve out his apprenticeship. I have not found a further record of George’s apprenticeship, but we will return to him in future posts.
  • George T(h)ompson (as in the previous bullet point) was made Free by Redemption of the Ironmongers on 24 June 1788, son of George Thompson, Gent (of Northamptonshire). George Jnr was a tea dealer, and was the brother of Judith T(h)ompson ( – 1785), late wife of William Freeman Snr. George was proposed for his freedom by … John Freeman! (Are you keeping up? – nepotism, indeed.) We will return to this family in a later post.

The Aldermanbury Postern address, hard by the city walls in St Giles Cripplegate, was the site of the indigo makers variably named as Grace and Freeman (appearing in London directories between 1781 and 1794), later Freeman John & Son (by 1803), then Freeman and North (1817). William Freeman (died 1795) and Henry Grace (died 1798), and John Freeman, were in partnership, with John taking over for the brief period after their deaths until his own in 1803, the original partnership having been dissolved in 1795, just before William’s death, as recorded in the London Gazette as follows:

June 24, 1795. The partnership subsisting between Henry Grace, John Freeman and William Freeman, in the Business carried on under the firm of Grace and Freemans of Aldermanbury Postern, London, Indigo Blue Manufacturers, is this Day, by mutual Consent, dissolved, the Share of the said Henry Grace being made over to the remaining partners, the said John Freeman and William Freeman, who undertake to settle all Matters relating to the said Copartnership. Henry Grace. Wm. Freeman. John Freeman. The London Gazette Issue 13790. 23 June 1795. p. 663

I am not sure who took over after John Freeman died in 1803. Could the ‘and Son’ have been his son Thomas, who had served his apprenticeship under John and then been made free of the Ironmongers? Suffice to say that at his death in Brighton in 1853, as a ‘Merchant’ he was evidently a very wealthy man. The source of his fortune is unknown. We will meet this family again.

This post has aimed at locating John Freeman and his brother William in London from their Northamptonshire origins. A review of their families in future posts will very partially uncover the tangled roots of the Freeman and related families.

6b. Thomas Freeman and Dennis Gare

In which we briefly look at the maternal ancestors of John Freeman, who married Ann Backler. We try not to get carried away in looking at the complicated and fascinating histories of these Northamptonshire folk, who are not actually relations of any sort to me, but just the ancestors of some quite distant Backler cousins. We will leave detailed research to those cousins.

In my previous post (6a), I looked at John Freeman’s paternal ancestors. In this post I briefly sketch his maternal side, since I know precious little about them other than their names.

William GARE and Dennis MARRIOTT: There is an abundance of folk named ‘Gare’ in this area of Northamptonshire. I am not sure who were William Gare’s antecedents. John Freeman’s mother was the interestingly-named Dennis GARE (1710-1782), the second daughter of that name born to William GARE (died 1733) and his wife Dennis MARRIOTT (1660/1 – 1746). Dennis Gare was the second youngest of eight children. Second-born Edward (1701-1711) was short-lived, as were fourth-born Dennis (1704-1708) and last-born Edward (1718-1718).

Third-born William Gare Jnr (1703 – ) married first Mary Marks in Flore, Northants, in 1731. Mary died at or near to the childbirth and death of their daughter Anne in 1732. William then married Mary Cobley in the nearby parish of Weston Favell in 1736, three years after the death of his father, and in 1738/9 yet another William Gare was born to this couple.

Nothing is known to this author of Thomas Gare (1706 – ), but John Gare (1708, Flore – 1779, Blisworth) married Mary Rushworth in Easton Neston, Northants, in 1735, they producing at least four children: (another) Dennis Gare (1737-1804 , married William Peach in Blisworth in 1763); Thomas Gare (1738-1738); John Gare (1745-1745); and John Gare (1748 – ?), for whom a marriage and un-sourced children feature on an Ancestry tree, but whose fate, and that of any further children in this family, I will leave to others.

Abraham MARRIOTT and Amy BILLING/E: I don’t have enough information to trace the GARE line any further back. The Marriotts are more obliging. After diligent scrolling through the parish registers of Weedon Bec – rather sadly, a favourite occupation of mine! – I at last found an unindexed marriage confirming details which featured on several Ancestry websites: that of Abraham Marrett [sic] and Amy Billing on 6 June 1645. (The surname shows many variants in the Weedon Bec registers, including Marrett, Marit, Marriott, and Marriet, among others). Scrolling forward in the parish registers, we find at least ten children born up to 1663, but we have no death date for either Abraham or Amy. Some trees show a death date for Abraham…but it is the wrong person!

The difficult thing with both Gare and Marriott names is the abundance of people with the same names. There are cousins, aunts and uncles, all named |John, or Thomas, Samuel, Richard, Anne . etc etc. The Weedon Bec parish register is helpful in sorting some of them out, as in the case of burials it tends to give relationships – wife or husband of…or child of…This helped in the Marriott case to stay with the one family.

Going back in time, we know again from parish registers that Amie [sic, mis-transcribed as Annie] Billing was baptised 22 April 1627, the daughter of Samuel BILLING and Mary. Abraham Marret was baptised 15 December 1622, son of William MARRET and his wife Joane. Both baptisms in Weedon Bec.

I have found these intertwined families in and around Weedon Bec, Flore, Brockhall, Bugbrooke, Everdon and many more, ro be fascinating. BUT it is time I moved on to the families of more direct concern to our Backler story. To be continued in my next post!

6a. Ann Backler and John Freeman: exploring a newly-discovered (and extensive) Backler line

In which we unveil some details about Ann Backler (1741-1820) and her husband John Freeman, Indigo Maker (1740 – 1803), spurred on by contact to this blog by a very distant cousin descended from this partnership. In this and some subsequent posts we will briefly look at the Freeman family, and then (again, briefly) follow the many descendants, featuring some great wealth, and lots of clergy and military folk. We will move on from the report in Blogpost 6, ‘The Family of Sotherton Backler, Apothecary, and his wife Ann Ashley’ https://wordpress.com/post/backlers.com/50 which stated as follows:

Ann 1741 –       m. John Freeman 12 July 1770 at St Andrew by the Wardrobe/St Ann Blackfriars, witnessed by S Backler and Sarah Rowley. Nothing more is known about Ann and John. [But, now, read on…]

John Freeman, of the Parish of St Ann Blackfriars, Bachelor, and Ann Backler, of the Parish of St Dunstan in the West, Spinster, were married by Licence at St Andrew by the Wardrobe on 7 July 1770. Witnesses were S Backler [her brother Sotherton Backler (1746-1819)], Sarah Rowley [not sure who she is] and Elizabeth Backler [almost certainly Ann’s sister, born 1748/9, whose fate I have not managed to trace. The tree below shows the married couple and their six children (of whom more in succeeding blogposts). The baptism records of some of the children show that John was an Indigo Maker.

John FREEMAN (1740-1803) was born in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, son of Thomas FREEMAN (1684-1761) and Dennis [sic] GARE (1710-1782). I spent many engaging hours in the summer of 2022 working with distant cousin Chris to disentangle the various lineages originating in Northamptonshire and linked in many different ways to Ann Backler and John Freeman. My challenge is to get them into some kind of order for the purposes of my Backler blog! The very many descendants of John Freeman and Ann Backler are cousins of one sort or another with me and the other Backler descendants chronicled on this site – all sharing in some degree as grandparents, Sotherton Backler (1704 – 1763) and Ann Ashley (c.1714-1768).

For some time I had linked the name of Ann Backler with that of John Freeman, but it wasn’t until his death date of 1803 was suggested to me that I identified the correct John Freeman, among many possibilities, and found his Will, clearly citing his brother-in-law Sotherton Backler as an executor. The Will was one of those very helpful ones, citing lots of clearly-labelled relations. It showed that John Freeman was resident in Newington Green, Middlesex, hard by Islington and Stoke Newington, the places of residence of many of our Backler and, later on, Boulding and Pellatt ancestors. However, John wished to be buried at St Ann Blackfriars, right by the Society of Apothecaries and the site of many Backler baptisms and burials.

By the time of drafting his Will, just one of John and Ann’s children had married, three having pre-deceased them. Mary, the youngest, had in 1802 married to soon-to-become very-wealthy Richard Pack, cited as an executor in John’s Will. (More about them anon.) Son Thomas would marry soon after his father’s death, and daughter Sarah would follow a couple of years later. She is left a handsome legacy, with provision after John’s wife Ann’s death for both daughters and their children. Also mentioned are John’s niece, Mary Gough (which, in sorting out various Freeman families in Northants helps to confirm John’s family), and John’s brother Thomas, of Bedford – a mysterious soul, indeed. The Will shows that John owned a house in Fore Street, Cripplegate, where the Sotherton Backlers also had lived – could this house have come to him on his marriage to Ann?

John Freeman was the great grandson of Richard FREEMAN [1] ( – 1694) and Mary GODFREY [sometimes GODFREE] of Brockhall (1622-1691). Brockhall was one centre of residence for the Freemans, Godfreys and others prominent in John Freeman’s family tree. Adjacent parishes include Dodford, Norton, Whilton and Flore, all places of births, marriages and burials of various kin.

Richard Freeman [1] was a Bonesetter, a largely un-formally-trained version of an osteopath, chiropractor and physiotherapist. Such was his fortune, however acquired, that in 1644 he purchased the Manor of Whilton. His and Mary’s son Richard FREEMAN [2] (1646-1684, note he died ten years before his father, so Richard [1’s] grandson inherited) married his cousin Elizabeth GODFREY. ‘Our’ John FREEMAN was the youngest son of Richard FREEMAN [2].

A number of features marked Whilton in this period. First, and perhaps relevant to the bonesetting, was the Civil War. Northamptonshire supported the Parliamentarians, but battles took place all around the area, including in Whilton and Flore, and notably at nearby Naseby.

Not having found any contextual information for that period, there is later evidence found by my Freeman-sleuthing partner: reference to Mr Freeman, Bonesetter in Memoires of the Verney Family, Vol IV, downloaded from https://archive.org/details/memoirsofverneyf04verniala/page/394/mode/2up

Young Edmund Verney, a student at Oxford from 1685-8, has had an accident, and damaged his elbow. On 6 April 1687, his father wrote to Dr Thomas Sykes: ‘ This day about noone yr Messenger Brought me the ill newse of my Sonnes unlucky accident last Munday. I am very sorry for it : But am extremely joyfull to under- stand by you that the worst is past with this and that He is in so fayre a way of amendment soe I Hope There is noe Danger in a dislocation of an Elbow, where such excellent Chirurgions and Bone setters are at Hand, and Physitians if occasion Be : I Guesse This was done at wrestling…’ However, the arm continued to prove troublesome, and by May young Edmund still did not have proper use of it. On 14 May 1687, his tutor wrote to the lad’s father, also Edmund: ‘His arme is free from paine, but he hath not yet the right use of it, And upon that Account as soon as I was fearfull that all was not right, I would have had him gone home to you in order to his consulting some very skilfull Chirurgion, and particularly advised him to one Mr. Freeman who lives near Daventry in Northamptonshire, and is every market Day Here at the Wheatsheaf. This man here is look’d upon by Physitians and others as the most skilfull Bone setter in all England, And therefore I had a desire that your Sonn should have his opinion ;‘ On 22 May 1687, young Edmund’s father wrote: ‘The famous Bone setter Mr. ffreeman Lookt upon the arm and ffelt it, and sayd it is right sett, and nothing out, but That the sinues are shrunk wch makes Him That Hee cannot Hold his Arme streight : But Mr. ffreeman sayes his Arme will Do well : and Be as streight as ever, if Hee Doth use it and exercise it with care : and ffollow his directions and prescriptions.

An entry in the Parish Register of Brockhall does record one impact of the Civil War: ‘May 4th 1653. Brockhall Parsonage was by Mr. James Cranford resigned to the Present Rector thereof Mr. William Borlee, who by Reason of the Warrs between the Royalist [sic] and Parliamentarians not being Constant Resident until February 2nd 1646 noe Just Account could be taken of the Severall Baptizeings Marriages and Burrials.

Whether the above hiatus also afftected a delay in baptising of Richard Freeman [2] from his birth in 1646 to his Baptism in 1650 is not known. What is known is that he and Elizabeth Godfrey had five children, of whom the oldest, Richard [3] (1677-1749) and the youngest, Thomas Freeman (1684, the year of his father’s death – 1761) are most relevant to our story.

First off, Richard [3] (1677-1749) had two wives, Mary CORPSON (1680-1707) – 6 children, most of whom were short-lived except for the Rev. John Freeman (1703-1786), educated at Pembroke College Oxford and then Rector of Louth in Lincolnshire. His half-siblings were the children of Richard FREEMAN [3] and his second wife, Elizabeth LANGTON (1688-1761), whose first son the Rev Langton Freeman (1710-1784) inherited Whilton Manor. Langton was the oldest of ten children, and an avowed eccentric. His and his siblings’ stories are interwoven throughout the vicinity, including Daventry, Northampton, and into Warwickshire. Much too numerous to delineate here, and anyway, they aren’t Backler descendants! His Will, however, made unusual provision for his interment:

first, his body to lie in the Bed in which he dies for four or five days until it becomes offensive; then to be moved in the Bed to the summerhouse in the garden, ‘and to be wrapped in a strong double winding sheet, and in all other respects to be interred as near as may be to the description we receive in Holy Scripture of Our Saviours Burial. The doors and windows to be locked up or bolted and to be kept as near and in the same manner and state as they shall be at the time of my Decease. And I desire that the Building or Summer House may be planted around with evergreen plants and fenced off with Iron or Oak pales and painted of a blue colour. For carrying this out, he gives Whilton to his nephew Thomas Freeman (1746-1801), son of Langton’s brother Thomas (1715-1777) and his second wife Anne Adams ( – 1781). Nephew Thomas died in 1802, and the estate passed to his daughter Marianne (1788-1866), who had married Dr Charles Rattray ( – 1836). The estate was then sold.

This takes us to the branch, founded by Richard FREEMAN [2] and Elizabeth GODFREY, and of direct interest to the Backler story: that of Thomas FREEMAN and his wife Dennis GARE. BUT, to develop this story in bitesized chunks, I will leave this family to the next post! Hopefully there won’t be too much of a gap before it appears.

46. The Rivers line

In which we move back in time again to take a very brief look at the Rivers line, parallelling our Newton line, and equally far back in the mists of time.

There are any number of potted histories of the Rivers family, of London and Kent. This post is lifted from an amalgam of them, including a google book entitled The Baronetage of England, Or the History of the English Baronets…Volume 1, by William Betham, in the chapter Rivers Gay of Chafford Kent, starting on p. 217.

The tree chart above begins at the top with Sir John Rivers, died 1584. All the sources say he was the son of Richard Rivers of Penshurst, steward of the lands of Penshurst Place, belonging to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Sir John was of ‘Chafford’. an estate in Kent. The original house was replaced in the 19th century, no longer owned by any Rivers descendants. It offers posh weddings and accommodation, or camping or glamping in the grounds. Sir John Rivers was Lord Mayor of London during the 15th year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. He married Elizabeth Barne(s), daughter of another Lord Mayor, Sir George Barne(s), Knt, (died 1558) and his wife Alice Brooke.

We pause for a moment to look at the role of the Lord Mayor – a ceremonial position. The extract below is taken from the website of the London Metropolitan Archives. Remember that a ‘citizen’ is a member of one of the livery companies of London, as were several Backlers (apothecaries), and as we shall see, as will be many Pellatts. Of the folk mentioned in this post, we find grocers and haberdashers.

  • The first recorded Mayor of London was Henry Fitz-Ailwyn in 1189. Since then, some 700 men and one woman have over the centuries held the position of chief officer of the City of London. The most famous of them all is Dick Whittington, who held office three times, in 1397, 1406 and 1419. The Lord Mayor has throughout the centuries played a vital role in the life of the City of London and continues to do so today. In the City, the Lord Mayor ranks immediately after the sovereign and acts as the capital’s host in Guildhall and Mansion House, his official residence. On behalf of the City and the nation he carries out numerous engagements at home and abroad. The right of citizens to elect their own Mayor dates from the Charter granted by King John to the City in 1215. The election of Lord Mayor is held at the end of September each year in Guildhall. The assembly, known as Common Hall, consists of all liverymen of at least one year’s standing together with certain high officers of the City. All aldermen who have served the office of sheriff and who have not already been Lord Mayor are eligible.

Tumultuous times. Now let’s look at the career of Sir George Barne (sometimes referred to as Barnes). He was a Citizen and Haberdasher, which means in the City of London he was a member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. From the early 16th century, this Guild had two branches – those who traded in hats, and those who traded in small wares, such as ribbons, beads, hats, purses etc. First made Sherriff of London in 1545-46, the last full year of Henry VIII’s reign, Sir George Barne became Lord Mayor of London in the turbulent years of 1552-53. During this period, young Edward VI died and during several months of intrigue, ultimately treason, Barne oversaw the eventual accession of Queen Mary to the throne. This is all too much to narrate here, but a very full account of his life and times can be seen on Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Barne_(died_1558 ).

Another London Lord Mayor: Sir John Rivers, Lord Mayor of London, 1573/4 – I cannot do better than Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rivers

Sir John Rivers (died 27 February 1584) was a Tudor-era businessman who became Lord Mayor of London. He was born to Richard Rivers, steward of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham‘s lands. Alternate spelling includes John Ryvers. He was a grocer and member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, Sheriff of London in 1566, and Lord Mayor of London in 1573. He was knighted in 1574 and served as President of St. Thomas’ Hospital between 1580 and 1584. He also served as an Alderman for the London wards of Farringdon between 1565 and 1568, Broad Street between 1568 and 1574, and Walbrook between 1574 and 1584. He married Elizabeth Barne, daughter of Sir George Barne (died 1558), and they had Sir George Rivers, who was a Member of Parliament. Rivers was lay rector at St. Mary’s ChurchHadlowKent.

Sir George Rivers (c1554- c1630) was another businessman, and a politician, being returned several times as Member of Parliament for East Grinstead and Lewes in Sussex, to which we will return when further exploring the Pellatt line. Sir George married Frances Bow(y)er (1579-1614), daughter of William Bow(y)er of Sussex. The History of Parliament website summarises Sir George’s career as follows (https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1558-1603/member/rivers-george-1553-1630 )

Rivers’s maternal grandfather and his father were lord mayors of London. Rivers himself, however (though he made an unsuccessful application to succeed William Lambarde at the alienations office in 1601) was a country gentleman and agricultural improver, with estates in Kent and Sussex. Chafford, near Penshurst, had been acquired by his family in Henry VIII’s reign, and Withyham was near an early seat of the Sackvilles. Rivers remained on close terms with this family, being an executor both of Robert, 2nd Earl of Dorset (his ‘faithful and dear friend’) and Richard the 3rd Earl. It was no doubt through the Sackvilles that Rivers came to be returned at East Grinstead to the last two Elizabethan Parliaments, and in 1606 he obtained for himself a share in the borough. Though both Parliaments are comparatively well documented, Rivers left no mark upon the records. He made his will by January 1630, ‘feeling age creeping on’ and died 20 Feb. that year.

Their son, Sir John Rivers (1579- c.1651), was made the first Baronet of Chafford in 1621.

Here it will be useful to pause and look at the two types of ‘Sir’ we find in the Rivers line. The first occurs when a person is knighted by the sovereign. Our previous ‘Sirs’ were all examples of this type, and their names may be suffixed with Knt or similar. The second type, as seen here with Sir John Rivers, Baronet (or Bart) is when a person is accorded a ‘hereditary dignity’, again by the sovereign, but which title can pass down through the (male) generations.. This new title, created by James I of England in May 1611, had an ulterior motive – raising funds for the sovereign! Initially candidates were required to pay a fee, and after acts of union with Scotland (1707) and Ireland (1801), all new baronetcies were just of the United Kingdom. The Rivers baronetcy became extinct on the death of the 11th baronet in 1870.

Sir John Rivers married Dorothy Potter (1570-1627), the daughter of Thomas Potter (died 1611), of Well-Street in Westerham, Kent, and his wife Mary Titchbourne. For copyright reasons I do not replicate it here, but a portrait said to be of Mary Tichborne (sic) features on the website of noted art historian Philip Mould, and can be seen at http://www.historicalportraits.com/Gallery.asp?Page=Item&ItemID=1912&Desc=Mary-Tichborne-%7C-Master-of-the-Countess-of-Warwick Meanwhile, a transcription of the memorial in Westerham Parish Church to Thomas Potter can be seen online as below at https://static.secure.website/wscfus/263661/uploads/Thomas_Potter_info.pdf

Astute readers will note that Thomas Potter’s second wife was Elizabeth [nee Barnes], widow of Sir John Rivers (died 1584), Mayor of London, as described above. This neatly illustrates what a small world it was at that time both socially and geographically, folk seeming to move with ease between Kent, Sussex and London. In addition, the period covered in this post includes the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. This resulted in lands seized being distributed to loyal servants of the crown, such as many of our ancestors mentioned here. Not members of the aristocracy, they nevertheless were well-to-do property owners, also prosperous merchants and civic worthies – as, we shall soon see, were the Pellatts.

Newton-Rivers: And now at last we can link up the Rivers and Newton lines – The daughter of Sir John Rivers and Dorothy Potter, Dorothy Rivers (died 1642) married William Newton (1598-1658), their son being Apsley Newton. (See post 45) This now prepares us to venture forth to the Pellatt line.

45. Humphrey Newton 1495/6 – descendants to Apsley and Grace Newton: adding the Pellatt name

In which we hurry down the generations from Humphrey Newton the younger to join our Pellatt line (Grace Newton married William Pellatt, of whom more in a future post) , noting a few bits and pieces along the way, and ending up in the County of Sussex, in the South of England, where we leave our few northern ancestors behind. And bearing in mind that this line is not technically ‘Backlers’ – but is now tracing back through ‘Pellatt’, as Mary Pellatt (1789-1857) married Samuel Backler (1784-1870) – see, eg. posts 26-29, and 42.

Humphrey Newton the younger (1495/6 – ?) and his wife Ethelred Starkey start a line of three men named William Newton, who would take us down the generations to Apsley Newton and his daughter Grace. Ethelred Starkey was daughter and heiress of Lawrence Starkey, most probably Member of Parliament for Lancaster, and a local Lancaster worthy and property owner. See the discussion at: http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1509-1558/member/starkey-lawrence-1474-1532 A fascinating account of Starkey and court cases related to his properties and other matters can be seen at Lancaster Jottings at: https://www.hslc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/73-10-Lancaster-jottings.pdf

Most of the following text of this blogpost, and the photograph, is a shameless replication of the Wikipedia entry about the Newton family of Southover Grange, in Sussex. I would like one day to venture there. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southover_Grange. Text below in italics is lifted directly from the Wikipedia entry. I have not included references cited there. Names highlighted by me in bold are my direct ancestors.

William Newton (1512–1590) built Southover Grange in 1572. He was born in 1512 in Cheshire and was the second son of Humphrey Newton of Fulshaw and grandson of the notable Humphrey Newton (1466–1536) of Pownall. His mother was Ethelred Starkey an heiress of her father Lawrence Starkey and brought into the family extensive properties in York, Lancashire, Chester and Stafford.

In 1544 William and his younger brother Lawrence moved to Lewes. He lived at Lewes Priory in Southover which he leased from the then owner Anne of Cleves. In about 1550 he married Jane Ernley who was the daughter and heiress of William Ernley, owner of the Manor of Eryles. The couple had one son Nicholas Newton who was born in about 1552…. Jane died in about 1560 and several years later William married Alice Pelham and they had one son, William, born in 1564 and two daughters.

In 1572 William [Sr} built Southover Grange with stones from Lewes Priory having obtained permission by the owner Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, who employed him as his steward. William died in 1590 and his wife Alice died in 1600. He left Southover Grange to his second son William Newton (1564–1648).

William Newton (1564–1648) was a lawyer. He was married twice. His first wife was Jane Apsley daughter of John Apsley of Thakeham. As part of a marriage settlement he gained the manor of Storrington. They had six children, two sons and daughters. Jane died in 1627 and William married Jane, the widow of John Stansfield who was the grandfather of the famous diarist John Evelyn. The newly married Jane Newton was very fond of her grandson John Evelyn and offered to care for him so that he could go to the free-school at Southover. His father wanted him to go to Eton but John accepted his grandmother’s offer and spent most of his childhood at Southover Grange.

William Newton died in 1648 and his second wife Jane [Apsley] died in 1650. William’s son by his first wife William Newton (1598–1658) inherited the property. He was born in 1598 in Lewes and in 1637 he married Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Rivers 1st Baronet[See a forthcoming post.]

He died in 1658 and his second son Apsley Newton (1639–1718) became the owner of Southover Grange. It then passed to his grandson William Newton (1691–1775) because his son had predeceased him. When he died in 1775 Southover Grange was inherited by his great nephew Colonel William Newton.[8] 

And here, our Newton line moves to the female side, with the marriage of Apsley Newton’s daughter Grace Newton (1664-1710) to William Pellatt (1665-1725). This starts the ‘Pellatt’ line which extends into the middle of the 19th century, and which will begin in the next post. The name ‘Apsley’ also appears in a long line of ‘Apsley Pellatt’s – often mis-transcribed, but a helpful name when conducting online searches. And here I will leave this post. In the next one I will explore the Rivers line, taking us to London in the time of Henry VIII. Admittedly this is pretty far back as far as our share of DNA goes, but historically I find it fascinating! Hopefully there won’t be quite such a long gap in time before the next post appears.

44. Humphrey Newton (1466-1536): Lineage, Land and Marriage

In which we look briefly at some elements of Humphrey Newton’s heritage which reflected the values of his time in establishing position and status in late medieval society.  The genealogical elements of this post are based on text in Deborah Youngs’ book ‘Humphrey Newton (1466-1536), An Early Tudor Gentleman’. The post ends with reflections on how land acquisition, ownership of property and status as early as the 14th and 15th centuries have continued to influence the distribution of wealth and the shape of the land right through to the present time. 

As part of establishing his position in society, Humphrey Sr set out his family origins in his commonplace book (see post 43).  His findings saw marriages by male Newtons to women from landed families – Sybil Davenport, ‘of Davenport’, and Fenella Worth, ‘of Titherington’. Humphrey Sr’s great grandfather Richard (1336-1415) broadened family connections still further, divorcing his first wife and marrying Joan Barton, ‘of Irlam in Lancashire’.  Oliver Newton  was one son of this marriage, himself marrying well in 1428-9,to Alice Milton, who would be heiress to two landed estates.  Rather shockingly to modern mores, it appears that Alice and Oliver were married when she was just 13, the canonical age of marriage being 12.  According to Humphrey Newton, she brought with her links to the Earls of Chester, through an illegitimate line.  Apparently the illegitimacy was less important than the lineage.

 And so Humphrey Sr shows the acquisition of property and status in his distant ancestry.  With the death from plague of his grandfather Oliver Newton in London in 1452-3, his grandmother Alice de Milton remarried to Laurence Lowe, of Denby in Derbyshire.  He was a prominent lawyer, and the family connection continued through the marriage of Humphrey’s father Richard Newton to Jane Lowe.  Moving down the generations, we find that Humphrey Sr married on 17 April 1490 at Handley Church, Tattenhall,  to Ellen Fitton, ‘the elder daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Fitton of Pownall esquire (c.1441-1506)…It was a very good match for Humphrey because it allied the Newtons with a family of better lineage, greater landed wealth and wider social connections…Ellen’s great-grandfather was Sir Lawrence Fitton of Gawsworth (d. 1456-7), while her father took as his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Booth of Dunham Massey…’ (Youngs, pp 21-22).

Humphrey Sr and Ellen had 11 children including our direct ancestor, Humphrey Newton (1496 –  ), who as the second son received modest lands in Fulshaw, near Pownall.  He married Ethelred Starkey, and in my next post I will summarise their line down to the Newtons of Southover in Sussex.

In the meantime, I find myself reflecting on the legacy of folk like the Newtons to today’s English society.  The lands and estates found in the Newton heritage remain on the maps of today.  Some is now overseen by the National Trust, and is variably accessible to the general public.  Some is privately owned, but open to the general public, such as the part of the Bollin Way which winds from Newton’s lands along the River Bollin, past the location of Newton’s Mill, to the church at Wilmslow where he and his wife Ellen Fitton lie in effigy.   Yet more land mentioned in Humphrey Sr’s account  is fenced off, remaining in private ownership, excluding folk from ‘trespassing’.  The campaign Right to Roam (https://www.righttoroam.org.uk/) argues not against private ownership per se, but for the extension of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which gives a partial right to roam only to about 8 per cent of the English countryside.  The campaign argues for much wider access to moorland, green belt land, rivers and woodlands, subject also to much stronger promotion of the Countryside Code.  Although the Newtons of Cheshire and later of Sussex make up just a tiny fraction of my DNA, I feel uneasy learning more about this aspect of my heritage, which we will see in later posts is also part of the history of the Pellatts of Bignor in Sussex.  Food for thought.  


43. ‘Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman’

In which we introduce the volume with the above title, by Deborah Youngs (2008, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge), to learn more about the written legacy of Humphrey Newton, my 13x gt grandfather.  According to Youngs, he ‘belonged to a section of society conventionally labelled “the Gentry”: the lesser landowners located between the yeomanry and the peerage, and encompassing, by the late fifteenth century, the categories of knight, esquire and gentleman’.

How is it possible to discover a book’s worth of material on a man and his family, who, in their time, would have been well known locally, but hardly at all, further afield?  And how did my ancestry, inhabited by such folk as iron workers, artisans, apothecaries, carriage painters and ministers of various faiths, come to acquire someone from the propertied classes?  By the time my great grandmother, Humphrey Newton’s direct descendant, left these shores, she was a servant, grand-daughter of a failed apothecary who had faced bankruptcy and hardship in the early 19th century, and daughter of a ‘stationer’ father who, as far as we can ascertain, absconded to Australia, abandoning his wife and two very small children?

I had not before known of the terms cartulary and commonplace book.  Yet it is through these means, and other papers widely scattered through England’s various repositories and record offices, that we learn about Humphrey’s life and times.  Folk who owned land and other property would have generated records such as deeds, settlements, wills, court records and related matter.  Many of such documents can be found in record offices across the country.  Deborah Youngs suggests that these are ‘overwhelmingly formal and impersonal, and generated by their landed interests’. (p. 3)  Some of Humphrey’s records of these types were brought together and transcribed by Humphrey’s son William into a ‘cartulary’, ‘a collection of land deeds systematically arranged according to place/property [plus] … several genealogies, two rentals, and a poem’. (p. 4)

Further, though, and on a more personal note, we find that Humphrey also kept a ‘commonplace book’, a rather random collection of differently sized pages.  It is made up of 29 folios covering such things as ‘estate accounts, legal documents, land deeds, genealogies, prayers, chants, astrological charts, medical recipes, prophecies, literary extracts and love lyrics – a number of which are his personal compositions…it is very much a notebook, bitty, laconic, sometimes inscrutable…’. (pp 4-5)  These, and other records researched by Youngs, allow the creation of a 230-page biography which looks at Humphrey ‘in the context of his family, the law, landownership, religion and cultural interests’. (p. 5)

By all accounts, Humphrey was not a remarkable man of his times.  What was remarkable was the legacy he left – aided and abetted by various folk afterwards who compiled summaries and/or transcribed earlier versions – enabling an assiduous researcher to study his life and times in the round.

It will already be clear to readers of this post that I can do little more than offer a very brief and incomplete summary of Humphrey the man, as part of my exploration of this branch of my family tree.  In the next post I will take a look at Humphrey’s own ancestry, and later on I will review just a few of the highlights of his life.  I regret that the book I will use as source material appears to be available only through used book dealers, at some expense.  I feel myself lucky to have acquired a copy, and highly recommend it to any of the very very many people who descend from him.  It would be nice if it could be re-printed!

To recap, the book (from which page numbers cited above are taken) is: Humphrey Newton (1466-1536). A Early Tudor GentlemanDeborah Youngs. The Boydell Press.  Woodbridge, 2008.  A search on the title brings up a website on which a preview can be seen, well worth seeking out:


A review of the book by Kitrina Bevan can be can be found through the same search – when I tried to copy and paste the url, it brought up the full article, which may be against copyright laws, so I leave it to the reader to search for it!

42. Backlers Looking Back: the Pellatt/Newton line, leading to Humphrey Newton (1466-1536)

In which we begin a new approach to backlers.com by delving into the past through the line of Mary Pellatt (1789-1857), oldest child of Apsley Pellatt (1763-1826) and Mary Maberly (1768-1822).  Mary Pellatt married Samuel Backler (1784-1870)  in 1810.  It follows that in tracing Mary Pellatt’s diverse ancestral lines, the ‘Backler’ relevance will be only to her and Samuel’s descendants.  As far as is known, these are the descendants of Mary Backler (1813-1882) and her cousin/husband Henry Pellatt (1797-1860); Susannah Backler (1817-1883) and her husbands James Boulding (1823-1892) and Edwin John Cross (1834-1889); and Esther Maria Backler (1830-1918) and her husband Magnus Christian Abelin (1826 – 1890).  Posts 25 and most of those following trace these lines.

The first post in this new series of random ancestral trails stretches far into the past.  It arises from the entry in my precious Pedigree of Pellatt showing that William Pellatt (1665-1725), the son of Thomas Pellatt (1628-1680) and Hannah Alcock ( – 1693) was first married to:

Grace, only daughter of Apsley Newton [my emphasis], of Southover.  She ob. Jan 13, 1710. Aged 46. Bur. at All Saints Lewes, in same vault as Thomas Pellatt, her father-in-law.’

This line then descends through the first Apsley Pellatt (c.1699-1740) and his wife Mary Sheibell (or Scheibel), and their son Apsley Pellatt (1736-1798) and his wife Sarah Meriton ( – 1798) to the above-mentioned Mary Pellatt, the oldest of their 15 children.

The descent back through time from Mary to Grace can be seen in the above diagram from my Family Historian database.

We can then trace further back in the Newton line, to my 14x Gt. Grandfather, Humphrey Newton (1466-1536).  This diagram introduces us to the name of ‘Apsley’, first seen with Apsley Newton (1639-1718), and further back as the surname of Jane Apsley ( – 1627), who was married to William Newton (1563-1648), they being my 11x Gt. Grandparents. The name Apsley distinguishes successive generations of Apsley Pellatts.  (When this name is correctly transcribed, it makes searching this line relatively easy.)

The line of descent also introduces a new region of England – Cheshire and surrounding areas. My Backler blog to date has focussed on East Anglia and the London area, and migrations away from there.  Other of my ancestors originated in South Wales.  I had no idea that lurking in the distant past were ancestors whose lives and times took place just a few miles away from my current home in Manchester, England.  And, once I started searching for this line, I came across a BOOK all about my said ancestor Humphrey Newton.  (Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman by Deborah Young.  2008. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge)

In my next blog I will attempt to summarise some of the findings in this book, and then will start to trace the various lines of descent to Mary Pellatt.  This should help to while away the wintery Covid days and nights.