Who were the parents of Gabriel Archer?

+4 votes
Gabriel Archer was a key player in the first couple of years of Jamestown; a previous version of his profile attached parents with no citations, and a query from a year ago went unanswered.

Given that he went to school at Cambridge and Gray's Inn, it seems like it might be possible to find his origins, but I don't know enough about researching such records.

England? Any help? Much appreciated.
WikiTree profile: Gabriel Archer
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (905k points)

2 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

The Virginia Genealogist discusses his origins:

Simpson, William S., "The Parentage of Gabriel Archer," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 41 (1997) No. 1 pp 15-17; American Ancestors, https://www.americanancestors.org/DB285/i/12584/15/0 (subscription required)

Since the parish registers of Mountnessing for this period have not survived, manorial records (available at the Essex Record Office) were examined for evidence of Gabriel Archer's parents. The following entry from the Court Roll of the Manor of Cowbridge in Mountnessing is cited in the article:

Court of 27 Elizabeth [1584-5] ... Christopher Archer, gentleman, ... had died since the last court and that Gabriel Archer was his son and heir...

Christopher and his wife Mary/Maria made a few appearances in Court for not attending church. For example:


by Nic Donnelly G2G6 Mach 8 (80.7k points)
selected by Jillaine Smith
I have found no record of Christopher and Mary's marriage in Broomfield, Essex, in 1575

Looking at the parish register for Broomfield, available (via subscription) at Essex Archives Online, there is the following entry:

Christofer Archer was married the 25th September 1575

His wife's name is not recorded.

If this is the right Christopher, it could mean Gabriel was born in, say, 1576, which would make him about 15 years old when he went to Cambridge and 16 or 17 when he was admitted to Gray's Inn, which seems reasonable.

There are apparently no baptisms for any children of this Christopher in Broomfield or surrounding parishes, which could suggest that Broomfield was his wife's home parish and that after marrying they lived in Christopher's parish (ie Mountnessing).

However, there is this burial entry in the Broomfield parish register:

Marie Archer the daughter of Christofer Archer was buried on a Moonday beinge the xxijth of September 1595

Christopher was dead by then, so perhaps his widow had moved back home. Or perhaps daughter Marie was living with her grandparents or other relatives at Broomfield when she died.

While it's hard to be certain, based on the above it seems plausible that the Christopher Archer who married in 1575 at Broomfield is the same person as Christopher Archer, father of Gabriel.

It would be hard, under the circumstances afflicting the parish registers at the time, to count up the Christopher Archers and calculate the odds of this.

That sort of exercise could be very worthwhile, especially if it focusses on the parishes in the vicinity of Broomfield. By knowing which parishes had extant registers for that time period, we could assess the likelihood that Christopher Archer who married in 1575 was actually living undetected in a nearby parish without records.

It looks like both of Christopher’s parents left wills, in which he is mentioned. The abstracted wills have been published by the Essex Record Society in Essex Wills (England): 1558-1565. The following details have been extracted from a Google Books snippet view of the wills from this publication.

Will of WILLIAM ARCHER of [Theydon] Garnon, written 28 December 1558. He mentions:

  • wife Rose
  • daughters Anne and Joan (unmarried)
  • sons Henry (or Harry), Richard and Christopher
  • cousin Harry Archer (supervisor of will – may have been elderly and/or sick)
  • sons Harry and Richard are executors
  • Henry Clarcke (overseer if cousin Harry Archer dies before the duty is complete)
  • sister Agnes
  • sister Tyler (Tyler is surname?)
  • cousins Harry Archer (presumably same person as overseer above), Wybert and Francis Archer (all witnesses)

Will of ROSE ARCHER of Theydon Garnon, widow, written 6 February 1559/60. She mentions:

  • mother Harvye (mother or step-mother?)
  • father Lenard (father or step-father?)
  • son Christopher, executor, bequeathed houses and lands in Mountnessing
  • daughter Joan (unmarried and under 20)
  • daughter Agnes (unmarried and under 20)
  • Richard Archer’s wife
  • Alice, wife of John Wybard
  • Richard Archer (overseer of will)
  • Francis Archer and John Browne (witnesses)

Looking at the parish register of Theydon Garnon, there are two entries that appear to relate to these wills:

William Asshare buried 3 day of Januarie [1558/9]

Rose Archer widdo second wife of Wm Archer 30 of May [1560] 

So William and Rose Archer of Theydon Garnon are the parents of Christopher Archer of Mountnessing. Based on the relationships in the will, William Archer who made his will in 1558 is most likely the William Archer who is the husband of Agnis Danyell in the Archer pedigree in the Visitation of Essex, with Rose his second wife not being recorded in the pedigree.

It turns out that the Archers of Theydon Garnon have well-proven descendants who were early American immigrants, including Elizabeth (Clerke) Stacy, Susannah (Clark) Whipple and Anne (Stacie) Fitch. So while he didn’t have any descendants, Gabriel Archer will have lots of current-day US-based relatives!

Sweet!! Thanks, Nic. This is great!
I have updated Gabriel's profile and added a father and paternal grandparents.  Feel free to add details.

Thanks so much, again!
It would be great if we could figure out where grandpa William Archer fits into the Theydon Garnon tree; right now this is a floating branch; would be great to attach to The Tree. :-)
+6 votes

Archer, Gabriel  Matric pens from St John's, c. 1591.  Of Mountnessing, Essex, gent. adm at Gray's Inn, March 15, 1592/3.

I do not find him in the Visitations of Essex  https://archive.org/details/visitationsofess13metc/page/136/mode/2up?q=Archer

The parish records of Mountnessing don't go back that far.

Searching on other names from the Visitation might turn up something.
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (172k points)
edited by Lois Tilton
This gives his parents: https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/archer/2095/

Unsourced, but perhaps a starting point.
Thanks, Lois. What age is someone at typical matriculation?
16 or so is typical
Thank you, Lois.

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