Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Archer, Symon

ARCHER, Sir SYMON (1581–1662), an industrious and learned antiquary, who laid the foundation of Dugdale's 'History of Warwickshire,' was born at Umberslade, near Tanworth, in that county, 21 Sept. 1581, being descended from an old family of that name seated there in the time of Henry III. His life was uneventful. He was knighted on 21 Aug. 1624; sheriff of his county in 1628; and M.P. 1640.[1] He married Ann, daughter of Sir John Ferrars, of Tamworth Castle. He formed one of a body of enthusiastic antiquaries who devoted themselves to the elucidation of the history of their country in its minor details. He was the friend of Burton, Spelman, Cotton, Dodsworth, and others. The first letter of Dugdale to Archer in the published correspondence of that herald is dated 16 Nov. 1635; and the last is 9 Sept. 1657. Very early in the letters a history of Warwickshire was under discussion; it was first intended to be Archer's book, who had collected the materials: it was next arranged that the two friends were to be partners in the undertaking; but it was ultimately published as Dugdale's, who said that he had made special use of Archer's manuscripts on every page of the book.

Sir Symon amassed a large quantity of choice manuscripts and other rarities, which he freely imparted to the younger race of antiquaries, including Fuller, the author of the ‘Church History,’ and Webb, the editor of ‘Vale Royal.’ In 1658 he was at the expense of engraving Dean Nowell's monument for his friend's ‘History of St. Paul's.’ Fuller, in the ‘Worthies,’ refers to his great age. He died in June 1662, and was buried at Tamworth on the 4th of that month. He had two sons who had the same affection for antiquarian pursuits as distinguished himself.

[Hamper's Life of Dugdale, 1827; Visitation of Warwickshire, 1619 (Harl. Soc.); Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire, 1870.]

J. E. B.

  1. Adhered onto the page of the work is the typed correction reading "Archer, Sir Symon. i. 545a, l. 16. For 'M.P. 1640' read 'M.P. for Tamworth in the Short Parliament, 1640.'" (Wikisource contributor note)