|Archer of Umberslade,|
The Umberslade estate passed by descent to Thomas Archer (c.1341-1425), who was a commander in the army of John of Gaunt in 1373, when he was captured with some other knights and esquires while out foraging. He was presumably ransomed, for three years later he was again in France in the service of the Earl of Warwick, who arranged for him to receive a pension in March 1378. After that he seems to have retired from military service abroad, although he was a commissioner for raising taxes of a fifteenth and tenth granted by Parliament in 1398. He lived what was a notably long life for the period, and died in 1425 after being bedridden for three years. His heir was his equally long-lived son, Richard Archer (c.1387-1471), who was involved in military service under King Henry V during his father's lifetime, and who was summoned to be present at the coronation of King Henry VI in France in 1428-29. In 1419 the writ summoning him to serve the king in person for the defence of the realm noted that he was 'one that did bear ancient arms from his ancestors'. The military tradition continued with Richard's son, John Archer, who in 1430 was commissioned to maintain supplies to the town of Calais, and who was killed in battle in the Wars of the Roses, fighting for the Earl of Warwick (the Kingmaker) against King Edward IV in 1463. It seems surprising that the military and social status of none of these men led to them securing the honour of knighthood.
John having predeceased his father, the Umberslade estate passed in 1471 to Richard's grandson, John Archer (1449-1519) and then to his son, John (d. 1521) and grandson, Richard Archer (1505-44). Little is known of the two Johns, but Richard was a courtier like his forbears: an esquire of the body to King Henry VIII, and a JP for Warwickshire. He was still in favour in 1540, when he was made steward of the manor of Knowle (Warks), which the Crown had recently seized from Westminster Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but in 1543-44 he was accused of murder and condemned to death, and his estates forfeited to the Crown. The circumstances which gave rise to his attainder are unknown, but his offence may have been particularly flagrant or heinous as he was in fact executed in October 1544 despite his wife's appeals for clemency, rather than being pardoned after a period of unpopularity, as often happened to gentleman killers at this time.
His wife, Maud (or Matilda), may not have been successful in sparing his life but she did manage to recover the family estates quite quickly after the execution, and these passed to her eldest son, Humphrey Archer (1528-62), and then to his son, Andrew Archer (1554-1629), who was a ward of the Crown until he came of age in 1575. Andrew was responsible for expanding the Umberslade estate and it seems likely that he also rebuilt or remodelled the house, although nothing is known of the building that existed at this time. His expansion of the estate was continued by his son, Sir Simon Archer (1581-1662), kt., among whose purchases were the manor of Solihull (Warks), 1640, and a large stone mansion in Warwick known as the Jury Street House, bought in 1654. Either Sir Simon or his heirs made substantial changes to this house, partly refacing it in brick and adding the distinctive shaped gables which lent it a distinctive character. During the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 the house played a significant role, for it was the thick stone walls of the Jury Street House which stopped the spread of the fire to the south-east and prevented the destruction being even greater. This was presumably the mansion house in Warwick which formed part of the patrimony of the architect, Thomas Archer, and it remained in the family until around 1800 although it had then become the Three Tuns Inn; much rebuilt it is now part of the Lord Leycester Hotel.
|The Jury Street House, Warwick, as altered in the mid-late 17th century for the Archer family. |
Image: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office
Sir Simon was one of the most prominent magistrates in Warwickshire in the 1620s and 1630s, and sought to be a moderating influence on the Parliamentary side during the Civil War. He was also keenly interested in his family history and in antiquarian matters more generally, and in the 1630s was persuaded to take on the task of preparing a county history of Warwickshire. To assist him with research in the chaotic legal records in London, he hired the young William Dugdale, who eventually took over the project, but whose introduction to the Antiquities of Warwickshire, published in 1656, makes fulsome acknowledgement of Archer's contribution. This included devising and circulating the first known questionnaire to local landowners and clergy, which became one of the standard ways in which 17th and 18th century chorographers sought to gather information for their publications.
Sir Simon's eldest son, Thomas Archer (1619-85), was a man of clear Calvinist beliefs and a Colonel in the Parliamentarian army from 1642-46, but he seems to have parted company with his political masters when it became clear that they were prepared to end rather than limit Royal power. He is said to have lived abroad throughout the Commonwealth, returning only to serve in the Parliament which invited the restoration of the monarchy, but this cannot be entirely true as he held public offices at intervals in the 1650s which would have made this impossible, and at least one of his children was baptised at Tanworth in 1655. It does seem likely, however, that his experience of life on the Continent established a tradition of travel among his descendants.
Thomas had two sons of note. His eldest son, Andrew Archer (1659-1741), was MP for Warwickshire for much of the period from 1690 to 1722, and was responsible for rebuilding Umberslade Hall in the form in which it exists today between 1693 and 1698. Andrew's younger brother, Thomas Archer (1668-1743), travelled extensively on the Continent in the period 1691-95 and must have acquired some formal architectural education at this time, probably in Rome. On his return to England, he became an architect: not as a full-time occupation on which he was dependent for his income, but as a gentleman amateur, albeit one who was responsible for a substantial number of projects. He became one of the Commissioners for building 50 new churches in London in 1711, and his works include St Paul's, Deptford and St John, Smith Square, Westminster. He was widely employed by the aristocracy as the designer of Baroque country houses, including alterations to Chatsworth (Derbys) for the Duke of Devonshire, and the building of Heythrop (Oxon) for the Duke of Shrewsbury. His income came from court and public office sinecures, as Groom Porter at Whitehall and Comptroller of Customs at Newcastle-on-Tyne; the former office was particularly lucrative as it included oversight of 'common Billiards Tables, common Bowling Grounds, Dicing Houses, Gaming Houses and common Tennis Courts' and the power of licensing them in London, Westminster and Southwark. The profits from these occupations enabled Thomas to buy the Hale estate on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire in 1715, and to build a new house and to remodel the church there. He was married twice but had no children, so at his death in 1743 the Hale estate passed to his nephew, Henry Archer (1700-68), the second son of Andrew Archer.
Andrew's elder son was Thomas Archer (1695-1768), 1st Baron Archer, in whom the family's fortunes probably peaked. In 1726 he married the heiress, Catherine Tipping, whose wealth enabled him to buy control of one of the two Parliamentary seats at both Warwick and Coventry, and to lease both seats in the rotten borough of Bramber. He himself sat as an MP, first for Warwick and later for Bramber, from 1735-47, and he secured a peerage in return for not standing again and allowing the Government to nominate the candidates for Bramber at the general election of 1747.
|Obelisk at Umberslade Hall|
Three of the first Lord Archer's children survived to adulthood. The two daughters both became Countesses, which perhaps demonstrates the value of their dowries, and the son, Andrew Archer (1736-78), 2nd Baron Archer, inherited Umberslade and Pyrgo. Lord Archer married Sarah, the daughter of James West of Alscot Park (Warks), the very pretty Gothick house built between 1750 and 1764 by John Philips and George Shakespear, but their only son died in infancy. As a result, when Lord Archer died aged 42 in 1778 his estates passed in trust to his four daughters, who were brought up in London by their mother, who lived a scandalous life of gambling and domestic tyranny which was much caricatured at the time.
|A satirical cartoon of 1788 depicting the escape of Lady Archer's daughters from her tyrannical control |
through matrimony. Image: British Museum
By 1790 all four of the daughters had escaped through marriage, and they arrived at a division of the property which saw Umberslade pass to the eldest, Sarah Archer (1762-1838), Countess of Plymouth and later Countess Amherst, while Pyrgo was sold in 1790 and Hale Park, which came to the sisters on the death of their great-aunt in 1789, was sold at about the same time. Within a generation, therefore, the entire family patrimony, including the Umberslade estate which had been in the family for more than 650 years, was dispersed. This happened because not since the 16th century had the family produced a second son who himself produced children, and there was therefore no cadet branch of the family to whom the estates could default; successive generations had also been far more successful in raising daughters than sons, so at the critical moment, in 1778, there were four daughters as well as an avaricious widow to be provided for.
Umberslade Hall, Warwickshire
|Umberslade Hall: entrance front showing the porch of c.1860 and the low wings of c.1900.|
The first house of the Archers at Umberslade was a moated manor which was described by Dugdale in the mid 17th century as "only an ancient manor house", when it formed an appropriately antiquarian setting for the researches of Sir Simon Archer. The estate was gradually enlarged during the 16th and 17th centuries, and it seems likely that Andrew Archer (1554-1629) would have improved the house, but there is no direct evidence of this. In 1693-98 Andrew Archer MP demolished the old house and built a new one of the local sandstone. His accounts for the period survive and include payments for digging the foundations and 'hewing smooth ashlar' in 1693; for laying floors in 1694-95, to the carpenter, John Salter for building the back stairs in 1696, and for 'hanging the gate in the best garden' in 1698. The house was financed out of current income, and the account books show how the resources of the estate were marshalled to support the enterprise through brick making, timber-felling, and ironwork from Archer's own mill near Stratford. As the surveyor Edward Ladkin remarked when building was about to begin, "Mr. Archer... will have an Extraordinary ease in the charge of Building, as well as the quick despatch of it".
|Umberslade Hall: engraving from Vitruvius Britannicus, 1731.|
The new Umberslade Hall is a plain two-and-a-half storey house with a recessed five-bay centre and slightly projecting two-bay wings. The fenestration of the centre is more closely-spaced than the wings, and the whole house has a low-pitched roof concealed behind a balustraded parapet, giving it the solid, box-like appearance which became common in the early 18th century. The angles of the wings are emphasized by quoins of vermiculated rustication, and there are simple moulded window surrounds. The house apparently had a central cupola when first built, but this does not survive and was not recorded when the design was published in the third volume of Vitruvius Britannicus in 1731. It is perhaps not surprising that Horace Walpole found it "an odious place" as its solid dignity was a world away from the charming fripperies of Strawberry Hill. The approach to the house was flanked by lower service blocks, as was fashionable, but there was also a formal parterre bounded by walls and iron railings, between the house and the service ranges, with an obelisk either side of the central pathway. The ground plan of the house is almost completely symmetrical, with the centre taken up entirely by the hall and saloon. The staircases and other reception rooms are in the wings.
|Van Nost's Crouching Venus, 1702|
The architect of Umberslade remains tantalisingly uncertain. The obvious assumption is that it was Andrew Archer's younger brother, Thomas Archer, who went on to become one of Britain's most Baroque architects and to design - among much else - Birmingham Cathedral. But he was abroad when work on the house started, and nothing in his known works is remotely like Umberslade. The other obvious names are William and Francis Smith of Warwick, with whose other work the design has much in common. There is also a tradition, reported in Field's History of Warwick, that the house was 'built by John Smith', who he identifies as the architect of buildings known to be by Francis and William Smith, but if so it was the Smiths' first house in Warwickshire and predates less innovative houses which they designed later, such as Stanford Hall (Leics). Perhaps the most likely reading is that the Smiths built it, but either executed or adapted designs supplied by another architect such as William Talman. Sadly the accounts throw no light on this, as they only show payments to minor craftsmen.
The interiors of the house were updated in the 1750s for Thomas Archer, 1st Baron Archer, and there are payments in the family accounts to the plasterer Robert Moore, 1755-56, the carver Benjamin King of Warwick, 1758-59, and 'Eborall the smith' for ironwork in 1759. Some of Moore's excellent Rococo plasterwork survives in the house among much Victorian work, including the musical trophies in the former saloon and the elegant Rococo scrolls on the ceilings of two rooms on the west front. Thomas Ward later described the drawing room as being 'elegantly furnished in rich crimson brocade' and a breakfast room as being decorated with prints.
|Umberslade Park: the obelisk built in 1749 by William Hiorn as an eyecatcher from the house. Image: Robin Stott. Licenced under this Creative Commons licence.|
At much the same time as these changes were being made, the formal gardens shown in Vitruvius Britannicus were swept away and replaced by a more Rococo layout. Garden buildings including a summer house and a 'portico' were built in 1744-45 and the summer house was decorated in 1747 by John Wright of Worcester. In 1749 Lord Archer employed William Hiorn of Warwick to build an obelisk as an eyecatcher from the house; it is no longer visible from the house, but now performs a similar function for travellers on the M40! The poet and gardener William Shenstone thought "the Park itself seems as improveable as any Place I ever saw... My Lord has a delightfull Valley, that runs crosswise betwixt his House and his Obelisk, with Water enough to be thrown into what shape he pleases". The improvements must have included the creation of a new approach from the north-east, through an impressive arched lodge of stone.
|Umberslade Hall park, from the Ordnance Survey 6" map of 1886.|
After the 2nd Baron died in 1778 the Hall was largely unoccupied and by 1815 the long neglected interior was 'entirely unfurnished and forsaken' and the park had been turned over to agriculture. The house was repaired after 1826 by Edward Bolton King, who later let it to Dr. Edward Johnson for use as a hydrotherapy treatment centre. It was more thoroughly remodelled for the Birmingham metal manufacturer and MP, George Frederick Muntz, who leased it from 1855, or his son, who bought the freehold in 1858. This involved making the original saloon the entrance hall and building a substantial porte cochere on the east front to provide access to it; and building an Ionic colonnade in front of the former entrance hall on the west front, which was in place by 1863. At the end of the 19th century, W.H. Bidlake and Richard Phené Spiers made modest single-storey additions on either end of the west front, one of which contained a conservatory. The interiors were much altered in these campaigns, and the heavy ceiling of the saloon, for example, must date from c.1900.
|Umberslade Hall: former saloon, with panelling of c.1700 and a ceiling of c.1900.|
In the 1960s the house was converted into offices, becoming the research & development headquarters for BSA-Triumph Motorcycles. The larger rooms were temporarily subdivided, but in 1972 BSA moved out and the house was subsequently sold and converted into flats in 1978. The much reduced park and estate still belong to the Muntz family, who have recently created a Farm Park and adventure playground for children.
Descent: Henry de Villiers; to daughter, Sebit, wife of Robert L'Archer, tutor of King Henry I; to son, William L'Archer; ...to John L'Archer (d. 1250); to son, John Archer; ...to John Archer (d. 1348); to son, Thomas Archer (d. 1372); to son, Thomas Archer (c.1341-1425); to son, Richard Archer (c.1387-1471); to grandson, John Archer (1449-1519); to son, John Archer (d. 1520); to son, Richard Archer (d. 1544); to son, Humphrey Archer (1527-62); to Andrew Archer (d. 1629); to son, Sir Simon Archer (1581-1662); to son, Thomas Archer (1619-85); to son, Andrew Archer (1659-1741); to son, Thomas Archer (1695-1768), 1st Baron Archer; to son, Andrew Archer (1736-78), 2nd Baron Archer; to daughter, Sarah (1762-1838), wife of Other Hickman Windsor (1751-99), 5th Earl of Plymouth and later Rt. Hon. William Pitt Amherst (1773-1857), 2nd Baron & 1st Earl Amherst, who sold 1826 to Edward Bolton King (1801-78); leased to Dr. Edward Johnson (fl. 1846-55) and George Frederick Muntz (1794-1857) from 1855; sold to his son, George Frederick Muntz (1822-98); to son, Frederick Ernest Muntz (1845-1920); to son, Gerald Douglas Ernest Muntz (1876-1947); to Dorridge Estates Ltd (fd. 1936), which sold Umberslade Hall in 1978 while retaining the estate.
Hale Park, Hampshire
|Hale church: designed by Inigo Jones in 1631-32 and given transepts by Thomas Archer in 1717.|
Image: Mike Searle. Licenced under this Creative Commons licence.
The parish church was rebuilt in 1631-32, largely at the expense of Sir Thomas Penruddock, and apparently to a design by Inigo Jones, although a certain rusticity suggests he may not have supervised the execution. The attribution to Jones has long been disputed, but proof of it was recently discovered in a manuscript in the Bodleian Library in the hand of John Penruddock. This records contemporary Latin verses by the poet Hugh Holland - one of the circle around Inigo Jones - which attribute the church to him, and must be regarded as fairly conclusive.
|Plan and elevation for Hale Lodge from an engraving |
by William Kent based on one of John Webb's designs.
A close connection with Jones is certain, as his assistant John Webb designed a 'lodge' or villa in 1638 for John Penruddock, who had inherited the Hale estate the previous year. The designs for the villa are Webb's first independent architectural designs, and show the strong influence of both Jones's Queen's House at Greenwich and of Palladio's Villa Saraceno. Although there is no evidence that any of the designs was ever built, their seminal importance for English Palladianism was recognised by Lord Burlington and William Kent in the early 18th century when they were published as one of the Designs of Inigo Jones.
After Thomas Archer bought the estate in 1715, he rebuilt the church in 1717, adding transepts to the 17th century nave and chancel. The Victorians altered some of the windows and replaced the roof, but externally at least there is a good deal of Archer's work left.
At much the same time, Archer built himself a new house of brick with stone dressings; the clock tower of his building survives and is dated 1718. An undated late 18th century drawing records the house before it was rendered, and shows a simple pedimented brick building with a staircase leading down to the garden. Even this drawing, however, seems likely to depict a house altered from Archer's first design, as it does not show the giant pilasters for which there is surviving evidence between the area windows on the entrance front (evidence which also shows that the Archer stood on a lower ground level). The house is now a seven by five bay block with a broad pedimented portico on the entrance front and a canted bay window on the rear elevation. The present entrance front dates largely from a remodelling of 1792-1800 by Popes of Poole, who raised the ground level of the forecourt. The canted bay on the garden front was built in 1770 to the designs of Henry Holland who may have made other changes at the same time for Lady Elizabeth Archer; the doorway in the bay is reached by a staircase that starts in two arms and turns at right angles into a single flight to the door.
|Hale Park in 2009. Image: Graham Horn. Licenced under this Creative Commons licence.|
|Hale Park, from the Ordnance Survey 6" map surveyed in 1871.|
Thomas Archer most probably planted the avenues through the park and laid out the surrounding formal gardens and wooded pleasure grounds to the south-west and north-west of the house, as shown on a survey of Hale made by Thomas Richardson in 1789. The grounds were altered soon afterwards, no doubt as part of the changes of 1792-1800, and a detailed description of their later development can be found here. The Hatchett Green Lodge has a Delos-type Doric portico and probably dates from the early 19th century, although it has also been attributed to Nicholas Revett (1720-1804), who used this order at Trafalgar House not far away in about 1770.
Descent: Thomas, Lord Paulet (d. 1586/7) leased to Robert Penruddock (d. 1583) and his daughter Elizabeth Hoby sold to Sir John Penruddock, kt. (d. 1600/1); to son, Sir Thomas Penruddock (d. 1637), kt.; to son, John Penruddock (fl. 1638); to sons Charles Penruddock; Edward Penruddock and George Penruddock in turn; to George's daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Gage of Firle (Sussex); to son, Thomas Gage, 1st Viscount Gage, who sold 1715 to Thomas Archer (c.1668-1743); to his widow Anne (d. 1745), and then to his nephew, Henry Archer (1700-68); to widow, Lady Elizabeth Archer (d. 1789); to daughters of Andrew Archer, 2nd Baron Archer, who sold 1789 to Joseph May (d. 1796)... Joseph May (fl. 1831) who sold 1836/37 to Joseph Goff; to son, Joseph Goff; to widow, Lady Adelaide Henrietta Goff (fl. 1911); sold 1920 to Major Wright; sold to Booth-Jones family (fl. 1953)... sold 1973 to Patrick Hickman.
Archer family of Umberslade, Barons Archer
Archer, Richard (c.1387-1471) of Umberslade and Stotfold (Staffs). Second but eldest surviving son of Thomas Archer (c.1341-1425) of Umberslade and his wife Agnes, daughter of Sir Walter Cokesey of Cooksey (Worcs). Received a personal summons for military service, 1419/20, being "one that did bear ancient arms from his ancestors", and attended the coronation of King Henry VI in France. 1428/9. High Sheriff of Shropshire, 1440-41 and of Staffordshire, 1441-42. He married 1st, 1415, Alice (d. 1420), daughter of William Hugford of Hugford and Middleton (Salop), heiress of her brother, William Hugford, and widow of Sir Thomas Lucy (d. 1415), kt., of Charlecote (Warks); 2nd, Margaret, widow of Thomas Newport of Ercall (Shropshire); and 3rd, Joan (fl. 1471), daughter and heiress of William Ley of Stotfold (Staffs), and had issue:
(1.1) John Archer (d. 1463) (q.v.).
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate from his father in 1425.
He died in 1471, aged 84, and was buried at Tanworth; his will was proved 21 June 1471. His first wife died in 1420. His widow's date of death is unknown.
Archer, John (d. 1463) of Umberslade. Only son of Richard Archer (d. 1471) and his first wife, Alice, daughter of William Hugford of Hugford and Middleton (Salop), heiress of her brother, William Hugford, and widow of Sir Thomas Lucy, kt., of Charlecote (Warks). He won the contract to supply provisions by sea to Calais, 1430. He married, 1446/7, Christian, daughter and heiress of Ralph Blacklow of London and widow of Henry Sewal of London, and had issue including:
(1) John Archer (1449-1519) (q.v.).
He died in battle in 1463, fighting for the Earl of Warwick against King Edward IV. His widow married 3rd, 1463/4, Henry Beech esq.
Archer, John (1449-1519), of Umberslade. Only son of John Archer (d. 1463) and his wife Christian, daughter and heiress of Ralph Blacklow of London and widow of Henry Sewal of London, born 1449. He married Alice, daughter of Sir Baldwin Mountfort of Coleshill (Warks) and had issue including:
(1) John Archer (d. 1521) (q.v.).
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate as well as property in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Bedfordshire from his grandfather in 1471.
He died 24 December 1519 at Umberslade.
Archer, John (d. 1521), of Umberslade. Son of John Archer (1449-1519) and his wife Alice, daughter of Sir Baldwin Mountfort of Coleshill (Warks). He married Margaret, daughter of Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke (Northants) and had issue, with three other sons and a daughter:
(1) Richard Archer (1505-44) (q.v.).
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate from his father in 1519.
He died 16 April 1521; his will was proved 28 June 1521. His widow married 2nd, Simon Hyett (fl. 1544)
Archer, Richard (1505-44) of Umberslade. Eldest son of John Archer (d. 1521) of Umberslade and his wife Margaret, daughter of Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke (Northants), born January 1505. Escheator of Warwickshire, 1531; JP for Warwickshire. An esquire of the King's body; appointed steward of the manor of Knowle (Warks), 1540; ordered to take musters for the Scottish wars among his servants and tenants, 1543; he was attainted for murder and condemned to death and his lands seized later that year, but his widow successfully petitioned the King to redeem her jointure lands and later recovered all the estates. He married, April-June 1525, Maud alias Matilda (c.1496-1558), second daughter of Nicholas Delamere of Little Hereford (Herefs) and co-heiress of her brother, Edmund Delamere (d. 1522), and had issue:
(1) Anne Archer (b. 1526), born at Reading (Berks), 9 May or 14 August 1526; unmarried in 1559;
(2) Humphrey Archer (1528-62) (q.v.);
(3) Miles Archer (b. 1530), born 20 June or 5 September 1530;
(4) Fulke Archer (c.1532-94), born 14 April 1531 or 1532; buried 30 August 1594;
(5) Edward Archer (c.1533-93), born 13 July 1532 or 23 March 1533; died unmarried and was buried at Tanworth, 18 February 1592/3;
(6) Francis Archer (1534-1612), born 21 September 1534; buried at Tanworth, 29 July 1612;
(7) Winifred Archer (b. 1536?), born 25 April 1536?; unmarried in 1559.
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate from his father in 1520; he was attainted and his lands seized c.1543 but his widow recovered them shortly after his death.
He was executed, 5 October 1544 and was buried at Tanworth. His widow died 24 August 1558 and was buried with her husband; an inquisition post mortem was held into her lands, 5 April 1559.
Archer, Humphrey (1528-62) of Umberslade. Eldest son of Richard Archer (1505-44) and his wife Maud alias Matilda, daughter of Nicholas Delamere of Little Hereford (Herefs), born 3 May 1528. He married, 6 October 1550 (settlement 24 October 1550) at Ludlow (Shropshire), Alice alias Anne alias Agnes (d. 1607), daughter of Sir Robert Townshend, kt., Chief Justice of the Marches of Wales and Chester and grand-daughter of Sir Roger Townshend, kt., of Raynham (Norfolk), and had issue:
(1) Humphrey Archer; died aged 8 years;
(2) Bridget Archer; married, 21 December 1574 at Leigh (Worcs), John Colles and had issue;
(3) Andrew Archer (1554-1629) (q.v.);
(4) Arthur Archer; died in infancy;
(5) Margery Archer; married, 1 June 1579 at Leigh (Worcs), John Barcroft of Hanbury (Worcs);
(6) Elizabeth Archer (d. 1641); married, 20 May 1580 at Leigh (Worcs) as his second wife, John Hereford (1558-1614) of Sufton (Herefs) and had issue four sons and one daughter; died at Priors Court (Herefs), 1641;
(7) John Archer (d. 1640) of Welland (Worcs); married 1583, Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Richard Frewin esq. of Hanley Castle (Worcs); died 29 March 1640;
(8) A daughter; died in infancy.
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate from his father in 1544.
He died at Umberslade, 24 October 1562; administration of his goods was granted at Worcester to his widow, 3 November 1562. His widow married 2nd, 1577 at Ludlow, Edward Colles and died 28 November 1607 at Ludlow; her will was proved 15 June 1607.
Archer, Andrew (1554-1630) of Umberslade. Son of Humphrey Archer (1527-62) and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Townshend, kt., Chief Justice of the Marches of Wales and Chester, born about August 1554. After his father's death, his wardship was granted to his mother, 1563/4, but apparently reverted to the Crown by 1566; he came of age in 1575. High Sheriff of Warwickshire, 1608. He married, November 1580 at Farnborough (Warks), Margaret (d. 1614), daughter of Simon Raleigh of Farnborough (Warks) and had issue:
(1) Sir Simon Archer (1581-1662) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Archer (1582-1612), baptised 9 September 1582; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1602); under-sheriff of Warwickshire, 1609; died 26 July 1612;
(3) Richard Archer (1583-1643), baptised 6 October 1583; intended for a career in trade and found lodgings with a London grocer called Rouse; married, 30 June 1618 at Epwell (Oxon), Mary (d. 1652), daughter and sole heiress of Rowland Bull (d. 1623) of Neithrop, Banbury (Oxon), with whom he acquired that estate, and had issue a son [Rowland Archer] and two daughters; buried at Banbury, 25 October 1643.
He inherited the Umberslade estate from his father in 1562 and extended it greatly through purchases in the early 17th century.
He died 23 April 1629; his will was proved 25 June 1629 and an inquisition post mortem was held at Warwick, 24 March 1629/30. His wife died 13 August 1614 and was buried at Tanworth, where she is commemorated by a brass plaque.
Archer, Sir Simon (1581-1662), kt., of Umberslade. Second but oldest surviving son of Andrew Archer (d. 1629) of Umberslade and his wife Margaret, daughter of Simon Raleigh of Farnborough (Warks), born 21 September 1581. Educated at Grays Inn, London (admitted 1602). JP for Warwickshire, being probably the most industrious justice in Warwickshire during the 1620s and 1630s; he was an influential proponent of moderation and continuity in local politics; knighted by King James I at Warwick Castle, 24 August 1624. Sheriff of Warwickshire, 1628; MP for Tamworth, 1640-44. He is believed to have been a staunch Calvinist, but at the outbreak of the Civil War remained neutral; however after 1644 he served on the parliamentarian subcommittee for accounts in Warwickshire, which operated to curb the activities of the more militant members of the county committee. A distinguished antiquary and man of letters, he began the task of preparing a county history of Warwickshire which was completed by his assistant, Sir William Dugdale, to whom he supplied much local information. He married, 13 October 1614 at Tamworth, Anne (1591-1661), daughter of Sir John Ferrers, kt., of Tamworth Castle (Warks) and had issue:
(1) John Archer (1616-43), baptised 22 December 1616; died 1643;
(2) Thomas Archer (1619-85) (q.v.);
(3) Anne Archer (b. 1623), baptised 28 October 1623; married, c.1645, Philip Young of Caynton (Salop);
(4) Humphrey Archer (1625-55), baptised 29 June 1625; married Anne Clark (b. 1630) and had issue; buried 9 December 1655 at Warwick;
(5) Constance Archer (b. & d. 1628), baptised 1 April and buried 16 April 1628;
(6) Penelope Archer (b. 1631), baptised 4 August 1631; married, 6 October 1651 at St Mary, Warwick, Erasmus de Ligne (1623-83) of Harlaxton (Lincs) and had issue one son and two daughters;
(7) Elizabeth Archer (b. 1633), baptised 21 February 1632/3.
He purchased the manor of Codbarrow in Tamworth in 1611 and the manors of Flecknoe (Warks) and Botley in Wootton Wawen (Warks) were settled on him at his marriage. He inherited the Umberslade estate from his father in 1630, and continued to expand the family's landholdings, acquiring the manor of Solihull by 1640 and a town house in Warwick in 1654.
He was buried at Tanworth-in-Arden, 4 June 1662. His wife died in 1661.
Archer, Col. Thomas (1619-85) of Umberslade. Only son of Sir Simon Archer (1581-1662) of Umberslade and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir John Ferrers, kt. of Tamworth Castle (Warks), baptised 19 January 1618/9. A Colonel in the Parliamentary army c.1642-46, who raised a troop of horse at his own expense, but reputedly 'so soon as he discovered the designs of the parliamentarians, he threw up his commission, and emigrating, remained abroad until the restoration of the monarchy'; however he must have returned to England by the early 1650s as he served as assessment commissioner, Warks, 1647-52, 1657, 1660-79, militia commssioner, 1648, 1659, 1660; JP for Warwickshire, 1659-80; MP for Warwick, 1659-60. He married, 26 February 1649/50 at St Peter-le-Poer, London (settlement 13 November 1649), Anne (1632-85), daughter of Richard Leigh esq. of London, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Archer (1655-1709), born 2 August and baptised 7 August 1655; married, c.1677, Sir Herbert Croft (c.1652-1720), 1st bt., of Croft Castle (Herefs) and had issue six sons and three daughters; died 9 January 1709;
(2) Frances Archer (1657-1715), born 2 May 1657; married 1st, about August 1682, Sir Francis Rous (d. 1687), 3rd bt. of Rous Lench (Worcs) but had no issue; married 2nd, 3 February 1691/2 at All Hallows Staining, London, John Chaplin (d. 1714) of Tathwell (Lincs); died 4 August 1715 and was buried at Rous Lench where she and her husband are commemorated by a monument erected in 1719 and attributed to Richard Crutcher but possibly designed by her brother, Thomas Archer;
(3) Andrew Archer (1659-1741) (q.v.);
(4) Leigh Archer (b. 1662), baptised 14 May 1662; educated at Inner Temple (admitted 1678) and Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1679); died unmarried, possibly c.1680;
|Thomas Archer, architect|
He inherited the Umberslade estate from his father in 1662 and purchased the manors of Henley-in-Arden and Beaudesert in 1672. In 1674 he established an iron forge at Clifford on the R. Stour near Stratford. By 1685 his annual income was estimated at about £2,000.
He was buried at Tanworth, 24 October 1685, where he is commemorated by a monument presumably designed by his son, Thomas; his will was proved 28 May 1686. His wife died in 1685.
Archer, Andrew (1659-1741) of Umberslade. Eldest son of Thomas Archer (1619-85) and his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Leigh esq., of London, baptised 2 August 1659. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1678) and Inner Temple (admitted 1680). Freeman of Bath, 1696. MP for Warwickshire, 1690-98, 1705-10, 1713-22. Appointed to the Commissions for the rebuilding of Warwick, 1695 and to inquire into the numbers and quality of Her Majesty's Forces in Portugal, 1711, in connection with which he travelled to Milan, Turin and Genoa, 1712; he also spent much of 1710 in Amsterdam. After 1716 he became increasingly indebted as a result of investment in land which failed to produce the expected return, and seems to have devoted himself to building up his library, which was bequeathed to his eldest son. He married, June 1693 (licence 15 June) at St James the Less, Thorndike St., Westminster (Middx), Elizabeth (1674-1703), daughter of Sir Samuel Dashwood, Lord Mayor of London in 1702, and had issue:
(1) Anne Archer (1694-1762), baptised 6 March 1693/4; died unmarried and was buried at Tanworth, 25 June 1762; will proved 18 August 1762;
(2) Thomas Archer (1695-1768), 1st Baron Archer (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Archer (b. 1696), baptised 18 December 1696; probably died young;
(4) Sarah Archer (1698-1765), born 1 February and baptised 8 February 1697/8; died unmarried and was buried at Tanworth, 16 May 1765; will proved 13 May 1765;
(5) Diana Archer (1699-1765), baptised 30 March 1699; married, 8 July 1720 in the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, London, Thomas Chaplin (1684-1747) of Blankney Hall (Lincs) and had issue two sons and one daughter; died Nov-Dec 1765; will proved 16 December 1765;
(6) Henry Archer (1700-68) of Hale House (Hants), born 8 June and baptised 4 July 1700; educated at Eton, Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1718), Middle Temple (admitted 1718); Inner Temple (admitted 1723; called to bar, 1726); MP for Warwick, 1735-68; an active member of the board of trustees set up to administer the new colony of Georgia (USA), 1732-52; married, 22 December 1743, Lady Elizabeth Montagu (d. 1789), sister of George Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax; inherited the estate at Hale (Hants) of his uncle, Thomas Archer, and a fortune of about £100,000 in 1743; died 16 March 1768 and was buried at Hale, where he is commemorated by a monument designed by Joseph Wilton; will proved 31 March 1768;
(7) Daniel Archer (b. 1702), born 31 October and baptised 14 November 1702; according to his father's will, he was mentally incapacitated and unable to take care of himself; unmarried in 1741; died before 1761.
He inherited the Umberslade Hall estate from his father in 1685 and rebuilt the house in 1693-98. He extended his estate through the purchase of the manor of Claverdon (Warks), c.1716.
He died 30/31 December 1741 and was buried 8 January 1741/2 at Tanworth; his will was proved 3 April 1742. His wife was buried at Tanworth, 4 March 1703.
Archer, Thomas (1695-1768), 1st Baron Archer, of Umberslade. Elder son of Andrew Archer (d. 1741) of Umberslade Hall, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Samuel Dashwood, born 21 July 1695. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1712); travelled to Florence and Naples with his wife, 1732-33. His wife's fortune enabled him to control one of the Parliamentary seats at both Warwick and Coventry, and later to lease both seats for the rotten borough of Bramber from the Gough family. Whig MP for Warwick, 1735-41 and Bramber, 1741-47. He was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Archer of Umberslade, 14 July 1747, in return for allowing the Government to nominate the members for Bramber at the general election of that year. Custos Rotulorum of Flintshire, 1750-53; Recorder of Coventry, 1757-68. He was noted for his hospitality in London, and was the first recorded Chairman of the Society of Dilettanti, 1736. He married, 11 August 1726 in the Chapel Royal, London, the heiress Catherine (d. 1754), daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Tipping, 1st bt. of Wheatfield (Oxon) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Cheek Archer (b. 1729), baptised 11 August 1729; probably died young;
(2) Hon. Catherine Archer (1732-90), baptised 20 February 1731/2; married, 11 August 1750, Other Lewis Windsor (1731-71), 4th Earl of Plymouth and had issue four sons and four daughters; died 12 August 1790;
(3) Hon. Anne Archer (1734-75), baptised 5 July 1734; married, 15 March 1756, Edward Garth Turnour (1734-88) of Shillinglee Park (Sussex), later 1st Baron and 1st Earl Winterton (who m2, 18 February 1778, Elizabeth Armstrong and had further issue two sons and two daughters), and had issue six sons and eight daughters; died 20 June 1775;
(4) Andrew Archer (1736-78), 2nd Baron Archer (q.v.);
(5) Letitia Archer (b. 1739), baptised 26 January 1739; probably died young.
He inherited the Umberslade estate from his father in 1741, laid out the park in the 1740s and made major internal alterations to the house in the 1750s. Through his wife he inherited her maternal family's Pyrgo Park estate at Havering (Essex) and a house at 43 King St., Covent Garden in 1728. The King St. house is believed to have been designed by his uncle, Thomas Archer. In 1746 he purchased the lordship of the manor of Birmingham, which later passed to his grand-daughter, Ann Elizabeth Musgrave and her descendants.
He died at Pyrgo (Essex), 19 October, and was buried at Tanworth (Warks), 3 November 1768; his will was proved 29 October 1768. His wife died 20 July 1754 and was buried at Tanworth.
Archer, Andrew (1736-78), 2nd Baron Archer, of Umberslade. Only son of Thomas Archer (1695-1768), 1st Baron Archer, of Umberslade Hall, and his wife Catherine, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Tipping, bt. of Wheatfield (Oxon), born 29 July and baptised 31 August 1736. Educated at Eton, 1747-53 and Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1754); travelled to Rome and Venice, 1756-57, where he suffered an injury to his hands from the explosion of a blunderbuss, and returned home via Germany. MP for Coventry, 1761-68; Recorder of Coventry, 1769-78. He married, 23 July 1761 at Pyrgo (Essex), Sarah (1741-1801), eldest daughter of James West MP, of Alscot Park (Warks) and had issue:
(1) Hon. Sarah Archer (1762-1838) (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Ann Elizabeth Archer (1763-1847) of 76 Harley St., London, born 16 August and baptised 22 September 1763; married, 12 October 1790 at Edith Weston (Rutland), Christopher (1759-1833), son of Sir Philip Musgrave, 6th bt. of Edenhall (Cumbld) and had issue three sons and three daughters; buried at Sunbury (Middx), 14 August 1847 aged 84;
(3) Hon. Maria Archer (1765-89), born 4 and baptised 31 January 1765; married, 4 November 1788 at Glaston (Rutland), Henry Howard (1757-1842) of Corby Castle (Cumbld) (who m2, 18 March 1793, Catherine Mary (d. 1849), daughter of Sir Richard Neave, 1st bt. of Dagnam Park (Essex) and had issue two sons and three daughters) and had issue a daughter; died 9 November 1789 and was buried at Wetheral (Cumbld), where she is commemorated by a monument designed by Joseph Nollekens and erected in 1803;
(4) Hon. Harriet Archer (1769-1816), born 25 November and baptised 24 December 1769; married, about 5 December 1790 at Lord Plymouth's house in Bruton St., London, Edward Bolton Clive (1765-1845) of Whitfield (Herefs) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 21 June 1816;
(5) An unnamed son (b. & d. 1771), born 27 November 1771; died in infancy.
He inherited Umberslade Hall and Pyrgo Park from his father in 1768 but demolished the chapel and wings of the latter between 1771 and 1778. After his death, Umberslade passed to his eldest daughter; his trustees sold Pyrgo to Edward R. Howe in 1790. His widow lived at St. Anne's House, Barnes (Surrey) which was decorated in the Chinese style and altered by the amateur architect and artist, John Astley
He died 18 or 25 April 1778, and was buried at Tanworth, where he is commemorated by a monument designed by John Hickey. He died intestate and a grant of administration of his estate was issued, 12 May 1778. On his death, the title became extinct. After his death, his widow moved in fashionable circles in London, where she was much caricatured for tyrannizing her daughters, illegal gambling (she ran a faro-table), and her excessive use of cosmetics. She died in London, 18 February and was buried 27 February 1801 at Tanworth (Warks); her will was proved 16 June 1801.
|Sarah Archer, Countess Amherst|
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
(1.1) Other Archer Windsor (1789-1833), 6th Earl of Plymouth, born 2 July 1789; married, 5 August 1811, Lady Mary Sackville, daughter of 3rd Duke of Dorset but had no issue; died 20 July 1833;
(1.2) Lady Maria Windsor (1790-1855); married, 25 October 1811, Arthur Blundell Sandys Trumbull Hill (1788-1845), 3rd Marquess of Downshire and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 7 April 1855;
(1.3) Lady Harriet Windsor (1797-1869), 13th Baroness Windsor, born 30 July 1797; married, 19 June 1819, Hon. Robert Henry Clive (later Windsor-Clive) (d. 1854) and had issue four sons and five daughters; the abeyance of the barony of Windsor was terminated in her favour in 1855; died 9 November 1869;
(2.1) Lady Sarah Elizabeth Pitt Amherst (1801-76), born 9 July 1801; married, 8 September 1842, Sir John Hay-Williams (1794-1859), 2nd bt. of Bodelwyddan (Flints); died at Rhianva (Anglesey), 8 August 1876; will proved 28 October 1876 (estate under £8,000);
(2.2) The Hon. Jeffery Amherst (1802-26), born 29 August and baptised 16 October 1802; died unmarried 2 August and was buried at Barrackpore, 3 August 1826;
(2.3) William Pitt Amherst (1805-86), 2nd Earl Amherst, born 3 September 1805 and baptised 2 November 1805; educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1824; BA 1828); MP for East Grinstead, 1829-32; married, 12 July 1834 at Syon Park (Middx), Gertrude (1814-90), sixth daughter of the Hon. & Rt. Rev. Hugh Percy, bishop of Carlisle, and had issue six sons and six daughters; died 26 March 1886 and was buried at Riverhead; his will was proved 23 July 1886 (estate £109,128);
(2.4) The Hon. Frederick Campbell Amherst (1807-29), born 10 March and baptised 4 May 1807; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1824; BA 1828); died unmarried, 12 October and was buried in Worcester, 19 October 1829.
She inherited Umberslade Hall from her father in 1778 but she and her husbands used the house very little and it fell into decay and was eventually sold in 1826.
She died 27 May 1838 and was buried at Riverhead, Sevenoaks (Kent), 5 June 1838. Her first husband died 12 June 1799. Her widower died 13 March and was buried at Sevenoaks, 21 March 1857; his will was proved 11 May 1857.
Sir W. Dugdale, Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1656, pp. 579-81; W. Field, History of Warwick, 1815, p. 374; Anon, Memorials of families of the surname Archer, 1861; P. Styles, Sir Simon Archer, Dugdale Soc. Occ. Paper, 1946; M. Whiffen, Thomas Archer, 1950; A. Mimardiere, 'The finances of a Warwickshire gentry family', University of Birmingham Historical Journal, ix(2), 1964, pp. 130-43; M. Williams (ed.), Letters of William Shenstone, 1939, pp. 218-19; N. Pevsner & A. Wedgwood, The buildings of England: Warwickshire, 1966, pp. 437-38; J. Bold, John Webb, 1989, p. 161; M. Farr (ed.), The Great Fire of Warwick 1694, Dugdale Soc., 1992; G. Tyack, Warwickshire Country Houses, 1994, pp. 189-91; C. Day, 'Warwickshire', in C.R.J. Currie & C.P. Lewis, English County Histories: a guide, 1994, pp. 396-410; A. Gomme, Smith of Warwick, 2000, pp. 94-97; H. Lawrence, ‘New light on Thomas Archer as garden-maker’, Garden History, (38:1), 2010, pp. 50-65; H. Lawrence, ‘The travels of Thomas Archer: new discoveries’, Georgian Group Journal, 2010, pp. 35-48; T. Mowl & D. James, The historic gardens of Warwickshire, 2011, pp. 94-96; Kate Bennett, "Eureka! Keeping up with Jones", Country Life, 12 February 2014.
Location of archives
Archer family of Umberslade, Barons Archer: deeds, estate and family papers, 12th cent-1899 [Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office, Stratford-on-Avon, DR37, DR437]; deeds, manorial records and some misc. papers, including some relating to Jamaica, 13th-19th cents [British Library, Add. Ch. 17755-819; Add MS. 27969-75].
Archer, Sir Simon (1581-1662), antiquary: corresp with Sir William Dugdale relating to Warwickshire; antiquarian collections [Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. lett. b.1 and MS. Dugdale]; antiquarian notebooks, c.1640-50 [Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office, Stratford-on-Avon, DR473/293-294]; antiquarian notebooks, c.1634-56 [Warwickshire Record Office CR1059]; further antiquarian papers of Sir Simon Archer were among the collections destroyed in the Birmingham Library fire of 1879.
Coat of arms
Azure, three arrows or.