Archer Family History

By Dr.Stefan Hughes

When I began researching Frederick Scott Archer, I kept reading he was born about 1813 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, the son of a butcher.

As a professional family historian and genealogist this worried me greatly, as there seemed to be no documentary evidence to support this view.

So I began to look in detail at the genealogical records held at the Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies Office in Hertford, as well as those from the National Archives etc.

What I found in my initial investigation was very interesting.

1. I could find no evidence of a butcher called Archer from Bishops Stortford.

2. The 1851 census states that Frederick Scott Archer was born in Hertford about 1814.

3. His memorial inscription at Kensal Green Cemetery states his father was Thomas Archer of Hertford and that he had a sister Sarah and a brother James.

4. However for Hertford itself, records relating to a Thomas Archer, a butcher are to be found in abundance and for his father Thomas Wright Archer also a butcher.

5. I also found the baptism records for Sarah and James Archer at all Saints Church, Hertford as well as their burials at Kensal Green Cemetery.

6. No baptismal entry for Frederick Scott Archer was found though.

7. An Apprenticeship Indenture between George Archer and his father Thomas Archer, butcher of Hertford dated 1820.

8. A marriage between Thomas Archer of Hertford and Elizabeth Scott of Little Munden, at All Saints Church, Little Munden on 15 Dec 1802.

9. It seems that Thomas Archer’s business at first thrived being the tenant at Priory Farm (as was his father), but then in about 1819 it began to fail.

10. Then followed the sale of live and dead farming stock from Priory Farm, creditors meetings, and then bankruptcy and finally a trial at Hertford Assizes.

11. Baptism of Frances Garrett Machin at St. Michael’s Church, Bishops Stortford, daughter of Nathaniel Smith Machin, an auctioneer of North Street, Bishops Stortford and King Street, Covent Garden.

12. I also have found census records relating to Frederick & Fanny’s children after their parents death

13. And Frederick Scott Archer’s Will.

It is seems very clear that Frederick Scott Archer was in all probability not born in Bishops Stortford, and may well have been born at Priory Farm, Hertford (see picture below); and that the only connection he had to the town of Bishops Stortford is that his wife and family came from there.

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