Bull Plain, Hertford - True Birthplace of Frederick Scott Archer
It is generally believed that Frederick Scott Archer was born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire around 1813; the son of a Butcher.
However there is no extant or primary documentary or indeed other evidence to support this view. It has just been ‘passed off’ as being the ‘truth’.
The 1841 Census record relating to Frederick Scott Archer states somewhat confusingly that he was born in Scotland; whilst the 1851 Census states that he was born in Hertford, Hertfordshire around 1814.
The family headstone in Kensal Green Cemetery adds weight to the theory that he actually came from Hertford, stating that his father was THOs ARCHER FORMERLY of HERTFORD ...’.
No record of a Thomas Archer butcher of Bishops Stortford can be found in the surviving documents of the Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies Office (HALSO), at Hertford. However records relating to Thomas Archer, Butcher of Hertford and his ancestors are to be found in abundance at the HALSO.
Furthermore, Frederick Scott Archer, his brother James and his sister Sarah were all baptized in All Saints Church, Hertford on the same day – 21st April 1822. The baptismal record clearly states that FSA was born on the 30th August 1814. In his monumental work on British Sculptors, Rupert Gunnis gives the true year of Archer’s Birth as 1814.
Frederick Scott Archer's Baptism Entry, All Saints Hertford, 21st April 1822
Furthermore, the above documents states that the family abode was at Bull Plain, Hertford in 1822. FSA had an older brother, Joseph, who was born on the 16th of July 1809, and buried on the 12th of December 1814. His burial entry shows that the family were resident in Bull Plain, where Thomas Archer had his butchery premises.
It is therefore almost certain that FSA was born in Bull Plain, Hertford and not Bishops Stortford. The only certain connection of Frederick Scott Archer to Bishops Stortford is that his wife Frances Garrett Machin was born there, the daughter of Nathaniel Smith Machin, an auctioneer of Bishops Stortford and No. 26 King Street, Covent Garden, London.
Even the date of his death is often given incorrectly as 2nd May 1857; his death certificate clearly shows he died a day earlier on the 1st May 1857.
The Archer Family Headstone, Kensal Green Cemetery: Photograph courtesy of Sean Mackenna
Tags: Frederick Scott ArcherPhotographic History