Elizabeth Archer 1772-1854
Parents: illegitimate child of Mary Archer (1)
Born: 19th April 1772 in Shudy Camps. (1)
Baptised: 26 April 1772 at St Mary's Church, Shudy Camps. (1)
Married: Daniel Whiting, batchelor, of Burton End, Haverhill on 13th April 1803 at St Mary's Church, Shudy Camps, Cambridgeshire. Witnessed by Daniel Redhouse and Lydia Halls. Banns were on 6th March 1803 at the same church. (2)
Children: Mary Archer b.1794, James Archer b.1797 died in infancy, Sarah Whiting b.1803, Elizabeth Whiting b.1806, Charlotte Whiting b.1808, Henry Whiting b.1810, Harriet Whiting b.1813 and Daniel Whiting b.1816
Died: May 1854. Buried on 17th May 1854 aged 87 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(3,4)
Bio: Elizabeth Archer was baptised on 26th April 1772 at St Mary's church, Shudy Camps, Cambridgeshire, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Archer. She had a brother, also illegitimate, called Jeremiah Archer, who was born 1st November 1774 and baptised on the 6th November at the same church(1).
Unfortunately, Jeremiah Archer is notable for being one of the relatively few people executed by sentence of Capital Punishment in Cambridgeshire around this time. Between 1735 and 1799, 105 death sentences led to 34 executions in this county(7).
As the Bury and Norwich Post of 21st March 1792 reports: "At Cambridge assizes, Jeremiah Archer, about 18 years of age, for setting fire to a haulm stack [haulm is the collective name for the stalks or stems of peas, beans or potatoes, and it was often used for animal bedding] at Shudy Camps... received sentence of death". After the sentence of hanging(7) was carried out, a later report in the same newspaper captures the feeling of distaste that a crime like this could lead to such an extreme form of punishment: "Cambridge. April 2nd. Saturday last, Jeremiah Archer, a poor illiterate youth, about 18 years of age, was executed here, pursuant to his sentence, for setting fire to a haulm stack at Shudy Camps, belonging to William Stubbing, with whom he lived as servant; he acknowledged the fact for which he suffered, and his behaviour was truly becoming his unhappy situation"(5). Jeremiah Archer, 17, bachelor, was buried at Shudy Camps church on 3rd April 1792(6). It seems William Stubbing, farmer, died some eight years later aged around 48.
Elizabeth had two other illegitimate siblings; Henry Archer, baptised at Shudy Camps on 16th March 1777 and Ann Archer, baptised on 16th April 1780(1). It is quite likely that her mother Mary was the Mary Archer, spinster, who married William Cole, widower, on 2nd September 1793 in Shudy Camps(2).
It seems that Elizabeth also had illegitimate children herself. Mary, baseborn child of Elizabeth Archer, was baptised at Shudy Camps church on 18th May 1794. Elizabeth would have been 22 at this time. James Archer, another illegitimate child of Elizabeth Archer, was baptised at Shudy Camps on Christmas Day 1797. He died in infancy the next year.
After marrying Daniel Whiting at the relatively late age of 31, Elizabeth must have lived in Shudy Camps until around 1810 as her first three children were born there. She is listed on 1841 census as a labourer aged 70 living in Burton End with husband Daniel, son Henry and Henry's children Daniel and Emily Whiting. On the 1851 Census she is still living in Burton End, with wife husband Daniel and grandchildren Daniel, Emily and Ann Piper, the offspring of her daughter Charlotte and John Piper.
(1) Cambridge Family History Society, Transcriptions of the Parish Registers of Shudy Camps. Baptisms at St Mary's Church.
(2) Cambridge Family History Society, Transcriptions of the Parish Registers of Shudy Camps. Banns & Marriages at St Mary's Church.
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p35 of 37
(4) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1854, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 236
(5) Bury and Norwich Post, 4 April 1792, p.2, Findmypast.co.uk
(6) Cambridge Family History Society, Transcriptions of the Parish Registers of Shudy Camps. Burials at St Mary's Church