ARCHER, Thomas, of Lincoln.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Lincoln Sept. 1404-5; mayor 1416-17.1
Archer is first mentioned in the account of the alnager of Lincoln for the year ending at Michaelmas 1400, which records a payment of subsidy by him on two finished cloths. He was made bailiff some four years later, and may already then have been involved in a lawsuit brought by a hosier named William Norton for the recovery of 40s. Since he would neither settle the debt nor appear in court, Archer was outlawed, although not long afterwards, in April 1406, he obtained royal letters of pardon. By an indenture dated and sealed at the guildhall in Lincoln in the summer of 1409 (and subsequently confirmed by the Crown), Archer took on the lease of ‘a plot of the common soil’, for which he agreed to pay £1 rent for the next 20 years. This document describes him as a mercer, but little is now known about his commercial activities. He was clearly friendly with Thomas Hodilstone, another member of the mercantile community, for it was as executor of the latter’s will that he surrendered legacies worth 62 ducats to the papal almonary in 1411, and subsequently helped to found a chantry at the church of St. Peter at Pleas in Lincoln.2
While serving as mayor, in 1417, Archer advanced a corporate loan of £83 6s.8d. from the people of Lincoln to the government, this being an unusually generous sum when compared with the contributions from other English boroughs. Four years later his name appears on the list of leading residents who ratified an ordinance of 1392 for the better government of Lincoln and the use of the common seal. Little is known about him after this date, although he was evidently still alive in May 1438, when he received a second pardon for outlawry, incurred on this occasion because of his refusal to plead when being sued by the executors of Robert Santon, esquire, for a debt of eight marks.3