Haverhill Group



A market town for almost 1000 years, Haverhill still hosts a provisions market each Friday and Saturday throughout the year. Haverhill was recorded in the Domesday survey in 1086, but archaeological evidence shows that both Stone Age man and the Romans thought this valley a good place to settle.

The town thrived through its textile industry notably in the 19th century when it became a significant centre for the making of "drabbet" smocks for the agricultural workers. In 1856, D Gurteen & Sons built a factory with 32 power looms driven by steam.




Although they had been in the town since the 1780s, the new factory brought expansion and the town became prosperous. It almost doubled in size between 1851 and 1901, bringing new houses, factories, schools, churches and public buildings to make it a complete Victorian town.

In the late 1940s, Haverhill was named an "expansion town" by the Haverhill Urban District Council and Greater London Council. The population quadrupled between 1951 and the present time and Haverhill continues to grow, with new facilities and new housing. It is a forward looking town with a strong sense of community and an active Town Council




The Haverhill group usually meets on the 2nd Thursdayof each month in the Old Independent Church Hall, Hamlet Road, Haverhill, CB9 9EF. (unless stated otherwise). Click here for directions

Meetings usually start at 7.30pm. Admission £1.00 for SFHS members, £2.50 for visitors. Tea/Coffee included.
Library of local and family history books available for free loan and opportunity to search SFHS data for Suffolk ancestors.

Coach Trips to major record offices, including the London Metropolitan Archives, National Newspaper Library and the National Archives at Kew, and national museums.

Annual Walk around a local village for a guided tour of historical interests, tracing our ancestors' footsteps, even to the local hostelry!

Help Sessions are held weekly Wed 2-4pm at the Library, Camps, Road, Haverhill, CB9 8HB with free guided access to Ancestry.com, Find My Past and more.

To book your place at the Library phone 01440 702638

2 - 4pm
Help with YOUR Research - at Haverhill Library (CB9 8HB)
Guided use of the Internet, especially for newcomers or those 'stuck' phone 01440 702638 to book your place


Click Here to download our latest news.


FFHS Newsletter - Federation of Family History Societies - Christmas edition

Family History (Haverhill) Group - Facebook page

Haverhill UK - local census, baptism, burial & other records posted by the Haverhill Group

Haverhill & District Local History Group - Haverhill Local History Centre is a resource and study centre for Haverhill and surrounding villages.

Haverhill Old Independent Church - The United Reformed Church at Haverhill, locally known as the Old Independent Church, (OIC)


Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary

Last Modified on 31/07/2018 by Brian & Charmian Thompson


Visit to the East Anglian Life Museum

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Thu, 16th Aug 2018

Braving the ‘unseasonable’ weather we had the pleasure of spending the day visiting the amazing East Anglian Life Museum at Stowmarket. With such a lot on show we could probably have done with a couple more hours to see all the exhibits. One of the highlights was seeing the rope making machine which originally came from the old Rope works in Haverhill. Our thanks and gratitude are extended to Darren our guide for the day who was both entertaining and informative and of course to all the staff at the museum who made us most welcome.



Haverhill Group's August 2018 Newsletter

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Tue, 31st Jul 2018

Haverhill Group's August 2018 Newsletter now available to view. 

Can be found at the bottom of this page, the  'Events' page or follow the link on the 'Introduction' page.

Walk around Steeple Bumpstead

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Mon, 16th Jul 2018

We had a great guided walk around Steeple Bumpstead. Charmiane Slade led us around the vllage which had all sorts of interesting sights and stories. Not least the building that Edith Cavell stayed at whilst a governess to the four children of the Reverend Charles Powell. Dr. Robert Fleming, son of Alexander Fleming, also had a surgery in the village. To round off a really enjoyable evening we headed for the refreshments at the Fox and Hounds PH.  

Haverhill Group's July 2018 Newsletter

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Wed, 4th Jul 2018

Haverhill Group's July 2018 Newsletter now available to view. 

Can be found at the bottom of this page, the  'Events' page or follow the link on the 'Introduction' page.

Steeple Bumpstead History Day

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Tue, 3rd Jul 2018

Looking forward, with others from the Haverhill branch,  to helping out at the Steeple Bumpstead Community History Day. 

Demystifying-DNA 2

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Mon, 2nd Jul 2018

The second article by Karen Cummings on demystifying DNA


If you missed the first article, it can be found here:-



Haverhill Armed Forces Day

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Mon, 2nd Jul 2018

We had the pleasure of taking part in Armed Forces Day held at the market square in Haverhill. Besides the music, band and dancing there were children activities alongside the many groups who came along to support the event. It was great to meet the constant stream of visitors who came into our gazebo to look at our exhibition and meet the 'team'. Even the 'Phoenix Pipes and Drums' came and had a look but I suspect it was more to stand in the shade, it was a very hot day!


Visit to Pakenham Mill

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Fri, 29th Jun 2018

The trip to Pakenham Mill took place on a gloriously sunny day, and with the dragonflies darting over the mill pond it looked an idyllic spot. We were made very welcome with cold drinks while we waited for our two very knowledgeable guides, David the curator and Peter the head miller. We were divided into 2 smaller groups which made it easier to see around.

 There has been a water mill continuously in this place for 1000 years. It first belonged to the Abbey in Bury St Edmunds. After the Reformation of Henry VIII it was sold into private ownership. The present building dates from the mid eighteenth century. It was still in use up to the 1970s when the owner had to admit defeat to the more profitable efficiency of the industrial mills. He left the building empty and neglected when he was unable to get permission to develop it, which lead to inevitable decay. In 1978 it was bought by the Suffolk Preservation Trust. Since then a band of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers have repaired and restored it to a fully working mill as it would have been. It is open to the public at weekends, and on Thursdays when they do the milling.

It would have been a very noisy and dusty place to work, very well demonstrated to us. The water wheel is a breastshot wheel, which means that it doesn’t need a flowing stream to make it work. A small sluice is opened which allows water from the mill pond to fuel the wheel halfway up, instead of at the top or bottom. As the buckets on the wheel fill, the sheer weight of the water causes the wheel to turn. The ingenuity of the mechanics to turn the grindstone and control the fineness of the flour produced was fascinating. Millers must have been very strong to haul around the sacks of grain and flour. But as far as health and safety was concerned, it was as dangerous a job as coal mining.

 After the tour of the mill, we were shown the miller’s house where 2 kitchens have been restored. One is eighteenth century contemporary with the house, with a huge fireplace and the bread oven still in the side. The other is Victorian with the kitchen range which is original to the house and only discovered during restoration. We were then taken to the modern kitchen which is now the tea room, where we were served very welcome tea and cakes made with flour from the mill. After an opportunity to visit the shop and buy some of their flour, we boarded the minibus for the journey home.


Suffolk Day

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Thu, 21st Jun 2018

The Haverhill Family History Group took part in Suffolk Day by offering help to anyone with Suffolk roots researching their family history. We were delighted to see our local Town Council Mayor, Tony Brown who came along to support the event.

Suffolk Day

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Tue, 12th Jun 2018

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Starting out on your family tree research or stuck and need help? Come along to our free help session at Haverhill Library on the 21st June 2018. Primarily for those with Suffolk roots but anyone interested in Family History welcome.


16/08/2018Trip to Museum of East Anglian Life
Must book - further details email haverhillfhg@suffolkfhs.co.uk
13/09/2018Demystifying DNA
Old Independent Church Hall (CB9 9EF) at 7.30pm, members £1 visitors £2.50 inc. tea/coffee
Karen Cumings
22/09/2018OPEN DAY at Haverhill Library
OPEN DAY at Haverhill Library (CB9 8HB) 10am – 3pm For beginners and those who need help breaking down 'brick walls'
11/10/2018Town Criers
Joint Meeting with Haverhill Local History Group. Old Independent Church Hall (CB9 9EF) at 7.30pm, members £1 visitors £2.50 inc. tea/coffee
Brenda Willison
10/11/2018We Will Remember Them – Remembering the end of the war
At Haverhill Arts Centre, 7.30pm This event will be supported by local music and drama groups.


For further details on the programme you should contact

Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary

Group Contact

Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary

Group Projects

Haverhill Roll of Honour 

Haverhill Roll of Honour (World War 1)

Haverhill Roll of Honour (World War 2)

Haverhill Roll of Honour (Other Conflicts)

(If you have any information/photos of Haverhill casualties please contact haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk)

Haverhill at Work Project (2016-17)

Haverhill People Project (2017)

Reflections (2018)




FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY July 2017 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 01/07/2017
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY June 2017 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 05/06/2017
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY May 2017 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 02/05/2017