St. Mary's, Bexley, Kent
FSA was Married Here
Butchers of Hertfordshire
Frederick Scott Archer (FSA) was the sixth of seven children born to Thomas Archer, a butcher of Hertford and his wife Elizabeth (nee Scott). He was born on the 30th August 1814 probably at his father’s premises in Bull Plain, Hertford; and not at Bishops Stortford contrary to the popular belief stated in all other biographies. At the time of his birth the family’s fortunes were on the slide. His father Thomas Archer was descended from a long line of Butchers and Farmers in Hertford and the neighbouring parishes of Buntingford and Westmill, and previously from the market town of Saffron Walden in Essex. When FSA was born his grandfather Thomas Wright Archer was the tenant at Priory Farm which he rented from the Lord of the Manor, Lord John Townshend. On his death in 1817, the tenancy of Priory Farm passed to his son Thomas Archer along with a thriving butchery business, with the meat from the livestock he reared at Priory Farm. When Frederick was a young boy his father’s business began to fail. In the Hertford Chronicle edition of the 20th June 1820 an advertisement appeared asking for the creditors of Thomas Archer, a bankrupt butcher of Hertford to come forward. Shortly afterwards on the 8th August, the same newspaper was advertising the sale of live and dead farming stock formerly belong to Thomas Archer. A meeting of creditors followed on the 13th February 1821 and the ultimate shame a trial at the Hertford Assizes on the 23rd July 1822. At this trial in which Thomas Archer did not appear having apparently fled the town, his creditors were in dispute with the assignees of the bankrupt butcher’s estate over ownership of certain items of farming stock. It was alleged but not proved that Thomas Archer knew he was to become bankrupt and sold the farming stock to his assignees before disappearing. It is generally believed that Frederick Scott Archer and his siblings were orphaned at a young age. This is NOT true. Although his mother, Elizabeth had died earlier in 1817, his father remarried in the February of 1830; when FSA was fifteen. For a short while they may have been brought up by relatives, probably by one of his many aunts and uncles that lived in the nearby villages of Westmill and Buntingford, although this is not definite (FSA’s Great Grandfather, James Archer of Buntingford, had at least 18 children!). Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Peter Charnock for providing us much valuable information on the Archer family, and especially for a copy of Frederick Scott Archer's Baptism Entry for All Saints, Hertford, which clearly establishes his date and place of birth.
St. Mary's Westmill, Herts.
Father of FSA Christened Here
'The Machins of Bishops Stortford
Frances Garrett Machin, the wife of FSA came from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire. Very little is known of her family apart from her father who seems to have led a very colourful life. Nathaniel Smith Machin was a well known auctioneer with premises in both Bishops Stortford and in Covent Garden London. He married three times first to Mary Debenham in 1802, then in 1810 to Susanna Debenham (possibly his first wife's sister) and finally to Anna Towne in 1818. With his three wives he fathered twenty children. He was a partner in the Auctioneering House of Debenham & Machin (later Debenham & Storr) at No. 26 King Street, Covent Garden. His eldest son Nathaniel was a very successful confectioner who ran a thriving business in Bishopsgate, London, who spent a number of years in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he mariied. Three of the his four children were born during his time in Russia. He was a Churchwarden (1810-12) and an Overseer of the Poor (1804) for the parish of St. Michael's in Bishops Stortford. He died on the 16th April 1837 and was buried in the churchyard of St. Michael's Bishops Stortford, age 64.
All Saints, Little Munden
Mother of FSA Christened Here
If you are an Archer, a Scott, a Machin or a Debenham and your family came from the Hertford and Bishops Stortford areas of Hertfordshire, then you could be a relation of FSA. Please look into your family history if you don't already know and you could be a part of the life and work of this great pioneer of early photography. If you are then let us know. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.