ARCHER THOMAS, (1619-85), of Umberslade, Tanworth, Warws.
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Family and Education
bap. 14 Jan. 1619, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Simon Archer of Umberslade by Anne, da. of Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, Staffs. m. by 1650, Anne (d. June 1685), da. of Richard Lye alias Leigh, merchant, of London, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1662.1
Col. of horse (parliamentary) c.1642-6.2
Commr. for assessment, Warws. 1647-52, 1657, Jan. 1660-79, militia 1648, 1659, Mar. 1660, j.p. 1659-80; commr. for oyer and terminer, Midland circuit, July 1660.
Although Archer’s ancestors had held the manor of Umberslade since the reign of Henry II, his father, the antiquary, was the first of the family to enter Parliament. He was a parliamentary supporter in the Civil War, in which Archer himself raised and commanded a regiment of cavalry. First returned to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament for Warwick, he stood for the county with George Browne as a moderate candidate at the general election of 1660. The Cavalier Sir Henry Puckering encouraged him to persevere:
There is no question to be made for the plurality of voices for you and for George Browne. Your name being spread abroad in three whole hundreds and great part of the fourth, when neither my Lord Digby or Sir Edward Boughton have other right but from the well wishes of their next neighbours. Pray therefore take my noble Lord Conway’s advice into your serious thoughts. You can’t waver now but the whole body politic of Warwickshire must stagger and indeed will be thought stark drunk by your adversaries that will take an advantage of it. Any such self-denying compliment may (indeed) oblige them, but very much disoblige all those that have made this of yours their business.
He was returned unopposed, but was not an active Member of the Convention. He was added to the committee for recovering the queen mother’s jointure on 20 June, and appointed to a private bill committee and to that for supplying defects in the poll bill (7 Nov.).3
Archer never stood again, believing that ‘affairs relating to elections are as mutable as the wind’. He confined himself to local administration, and more especially to the care of his estate. His simple economic philosophy is summed up in a verse he placed at the beginning of one of his account books:
Receive before you write
And write before you pay.
You may be confident
Your cash will not decay.
He invested in the East India Company and had £500 on deposit with Edward Backwell at the Stop of the Exchequer. In 1674 he leased an ironworks on the Stour, which brought him a net annual profit on average of £340. He was actively involved in the exclusion elections, though not as a candidate. He considered the country party too weak to carry more than one seat, and therefore sought an agreement with the Digby interest. But he eventually cast his whole support behind Sir Richard Newdigate in 1679, and the Earl of Denbigh represented him as unfit to be a j.p. After his removal from the commission of the peace in March 1680, Newdigate observed that he ‘seemed to despond a little’. He again sought a compromise for the county in 1681, but found ‘that proposition was displeasing to both parties’. He appeared before the Privy Council on 1 Feb. 1684 to ‘give an account of a paper in the nature of a challenge affixed to the High Cross in Warwick’, and was ordered to give such public satisfaction to the deputy lieutenants and militia officers whom he had maligned as the lord lieutenant should think fit. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to find a seat for his son Andrew in James II’s Parliament, and died shortly afterwards. He was buried at Tanworth on 25 Oct. 1685. His younger son Thomas inherited £4,000 in cash, his house in Warwick, and some recently acquired lands in Beaudesert; but the bulk of the estate went to his elder son, who sat for the county as a ‘whimsical’ Tory in six Parliaments between 1690 and 1722.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Mems. Archer Fams. 26; Cases in Court of Chivalry (Harl. Soc. cvii), 53.
- 2. HMC 4th Rep. 269-70.
- 3. J. Burman, Tanworth-in-Arden, 9; Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Hewell mss, Puckering to Archer, 1 Mar. 1660; Trans. Birmingham Arch. Soc. liv. 34.
- 4. A. M. Mimardi‘re, ‘Warws. Gentry 1660-1730’ (Birm. Univ. M.A. thesis, 1963), 1