READING MERCURY – 8 February 1851.

George Archer and John Scarrott were committed for trial at the next Assizes, charged with stealing a quantity of lead, on the 11th of January last, at the parish of Wadley, the property of Mr Edward James. The accused parties were members of the wandering tribe of gypsies located in this neighbourhood, and the property stolen was the result of a predatory excursion. The precaution was adopted by them of burying the lead in a field in the parish of Fyfield, where it was discovered by the shepherd of Mr Stone and Mr Kimber, and watch was kept on the hiding place for a fortnight before the prisoners made their appearance, when one afternoon they came with two sacks to remove the stolen property, and were given chase to and taken into custody by the indefatigable watchers.



James Orchard, Thomas Orchard and John Orchard, for trial, charged with stealing 30 bushels of ashes, the property of Broome Witts at Aldbourn.


John Orchard, 20, was charged with stealing a sack of sawdust, at Lambourn, the property of Henry Hippesley. Esq. – Guilty: one months imprisonment.



On Thursday evening a rough looking fellow named Alfred Archer escaped from the County Police Station here. About the middle of June the prisoner obtained some goods of a shopkeeper in the town by false pretences, and on proceedings been taken in the matter he left the town, and was only captured on Wednesday last. On the evening in question he was working in the station yard, under the care of P.C. Share, and in the temporary absence of the constable let himself out through a back door, and, descending into the gardens below, made off, and has since eluded the vigilance of the police. The prisoner is a artful young fellow, and we fear his recapture will be no easy task.

SWINDON ADVERTISER – 31 August 1868.

John Archer, Rosina Archer and Angelina Archer, were charged by Amelia Smith with having assaulted her. All parties live at Highworth. John Archer carries on the professional occupation of a “sweep.” Rosina and Angelina are his two daughters. On the 15th instant the parties were out leasing corn, when a row took place between them. Later in the day Rosina and Angelina laid in wait for Amelia as she was returning home with her “nitch,” and when she came up they knocked her down and mauled her head about.
John Ilet, a friend of Amelia, having proved that she gave the Archers’ no provocation whatever, the bench ordered each of the defendants to pay a fine of 1s. and 4s. 4d. costs, altogether 16s.

FARINGDON ADVERTISER – 16 February 1889.


A chimney sweep and ragman, named Alfred Archer, residing in Gravel Walk, Faringdon, had a lucky ‘find’ a few days since. His wife was altering a pair of old stays, which Archer had collected amongst other rag-bag articles a few weeks since, when she came across a canvas bag, sewn in the front of the stays, and on opening it she found a Bank of England £20 note wrapped in newspaper. The note was dated 1852. Archer took the note to Superintendent Butcher, who consulted with Mr R. Penson, Manager of the County of Gloucester Bank, and Mr Penson has communicated with the Bank of England in reference to the note. There is no doubt but that the note will speedily bring Archer its value in solid gold, the jingling of which he is longing to hear. Archer’s memory is defective as to where the stays were obtained.



John Archer, chimney sweep, of Highworth, was charged with stealing several stakes, valued 6d., the property of Mr William Pedley, of Highworth. William Walgrove, a carter, who gave his evidence with considerable acumen, testified that about ten minutes past four on Friday morning, while he was dressing himself in his bedroom, he saw, through the window, the prisoner go across Mr. Pedley’s orchard, having nothing in his arms. About three minutes after the prisoner came back carrying about half a dozen straight stakes like those produced in court. William Williams, a labourer, in the employ of Mr. Pedley, deposed that on account of information received from the previous witness he examined Mr. Pedley’s premises and missed the stakes alleged to have been stolen. On the Thursday night previous the stakes were alright in the orchard. Sergeant E. Jones stated that he searched the prisoners house and found no stakes there. The prisoner said in defence the stakes Walgrove saw him with were the rods of his machine, which he placed opposite his house on Thursday evening. He denied having entered the orchard at all. The Bench, after a prolonged private consultation, said that though there could be no moral doubt of the prisoner having stolen the stakes, there was a legal doubt, and they would give him the benefit of the doubt, and discharge him. The prisoner was then released from custody.

BERKSHIRE CHRONICLE – 29 December 1855.

James Orchard of Faringdon, chimney sweep, was fined 1l., including costs, for cutting underwood in Lyde coppice, the property of the Earl of Radnor.


Ernest Archer, a military man, of Highworth, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly at that place on Feb. 26. P.S. Pepler stated the facts, and the defendant pleaded for leniency on the grounds that he had just come back from South Africa, and fallen in with a number of friends, who had treated him. Fined 2s. 6d. and costs.

OXFORD JOURNAL – 12 May 1883.

Richard Archer, a gipsy, was charged with sleeping out in a tent at the parish of St Helen’s, within the Borough of Abingdon, without visible means of subsistence. Pleaded guilty, and was committed for seven day’s imprisonment.


Alfred Archer, of Faringdon, chimney sweep, was charged with stealing a quantity of bones, the property of T. M. Goodlake, Esq. The bones were missed from a large heap in the yard at Wadley Farm, and were traced to a marine store dealer’s, where they appeared to have been taken by the prisoner. Committed for trial at the Assizes.


John Archer, of Highworth, sweep, was charged with stealing five cabbages, the property of George Smith, of Highworth. This case presented more than one remarkable feature. Archer was summoned to appear last Thursday and answer to a charge of stealing five cabbages, but in the summons it did not say to whom the cabbages belonged, and this extraordinary omission having been pointed out by Mr. Tombs, who appeared for Archer, the case was dismissed. Then again, whilst some men gain fame by leaving their mark on the sands of time, this case showed that other men come to grief by leaving their mark on cabbage stumps. On the morning of the 16th inst. prosecutor missed five cabbages from his garden, and having given information to P. S. Jones of his loss, that active police officer having inspected the standing “stumps” in the garden, thought he could discern the imprint of some sooty fingers thereon. This led him to pay a visit to Archer’s house, where he saw Mrs. Archer, who, on being questioned, denied all knowledge of cabbage. P. S. Jones, however, not to be done, made an inspection of a hovel at the back of the premises, and there in a hole, covered over by an old sack, he came upon five cabbages, with the dew still upon them. Those cabbages were then taken by P. S. Jones to prosecutors garden, and by means of pieces of wire were affixed to the stumps, and the fit was so complete that the cut could scarcely be seen. Afterwards, when Jones, meeting Archer, spoke to him about the cabbages found in his yard, Archer said the cabbages were given to him two days previously by a man from Swindon. Mr. Tombs, who again appeared for Archer, pleaded that his client was being persecuted, and not punished for this offence, in being brought up a second time, when the first charge had fallen through inconsequence of an informality. He also contended that Archer did not take the cabbages with a felonious intent. The parties were neighbours, and he intended replacing the cabbage when his own were fit to cut.

Magistrate to the defendant – The Bench find you guilty of this offence, and order you to pay a fine of 20s and costs. Another time, should you come here, we will send you to gaol without the option of paying a fine, for we are determined to put a stop to such mean and dirty things.

READING MERCURY – 3 July 1869.


Alfred Archer (alias Orchard), 21, sweep, was charged with stealing a quantity of bones, value 5s., the property of Thomas Mills Goodlake, Esq., at Faringdon. Mr Bros appeared for the prosecution; prisoner was undefended. Stephen Goddard said he was farm bailiff to Mr. Goodlake at Faringdon. Mr. Goodlake had a quantity of bones in his yard. They were in a heap, and were covered with a little hay. Witness went to the heap on the 28th May and missed some of the bones. The same day he was shown some bones in Mr. Farrell’s yard, Faringdon. They were like those that had been in his master’s yard. There were some of all sorts. Witness knew them by the hay seeds on them. Witness had lost nearly a hundred weight. Mr. Goodlake sells these bones occasionally, but had never given any away. Police-constable Burgess said on Friday, the 28th May, he received information about the loss of some bones, and in the evening of that day went with the last witness to Farrell’s yard, and there saw some bones. Prisoner was brought to the Faringdon-station on the Monday following. The bones had some short pieces of hay and straw on them. On the Saturday he took a sample from Mr. Goodlake’s yard and found them to be similar. They were horses’ bones chiefly. James Long said he was schoolmaster at Faringdon. On the morning of the 28th, about half-past 8, he saw the prisoner pass along through Faringdon with a two-bushel bag over his shoulder. It appeared bulky, and witness thought the bag contained chips, as the prisoner held in one hand a piece of a tree. Prisoner was going in the direction of Farrell’s yard. The bones produced in the bag would be very much like what the prisoner was carrying. Michael Farrell, a dealer in rags and bones, at Faringdon, said the prisoner came a little before 9, with some bones in a bag to sell. Witness found them to weigh about 52lbs. The bones the policeman took from the yard are the same. P. C. Harris said he apprehended the prisoner, who said, “I never stole the bones. I bought them from a man at Buckland.” In defence the prisoner repeated this statement. The Deputy-Chairman having carefully summed up, the jury found the prisoner guilty. The prisoner had been four times previously convicted, and was now sentenced to six months’ hard labour.



Arthur Archer, chimney sweep, was charged with allowing his horse to stray at Swindon. P. C. Bridle proved the case. Fined 6s. and 9s. 6d. costs.

OXFORD JOURNAL – 3 April 1869.

Aaron Bland, John Bland, George Archer, James Archer, and George Smith, of the gypsy tribe, were brought up in custody, charged with being found sleeping in the open air on Steventon Common, on the night of the 24th of March, without visible means of subsistence. It appeared from the statements of the police that the farmers of the neighbourhood had complained of their fences and hedges being damaged, and the defendants being suspected, two constables dropped upon them, huddled all together with their wives and children under some straw, and without any tent covering. Smith who was very abusive to the police, was committed for 21 days, the others for 10 days each.

OXFORD JOURNAL – 1 August 1863.



Considerable damage having been done to corn and grass in the parish by parties setting their horses and donkeys at liberty during the night, two of our village constables, who were on the look out, on Sunday morning last observed three persons stealing peas, the property of Mrs. Perkins. Two of them escaped, but the third, a youth named Richard Archer, belonging to a travelling tinker, was captured. While being marched to the police station at Wallingford, he complained that his boots hurt his feet, and the constable, Baldwin, allowed him to take them off, but he had no sooner done so than he set of at full speed, with the handcuffs on, passed through corn fields to the banks of the Thames, took the meadows till opposite the Wallingford station, and then made for the downs. The constable was a few hundred yards behind, and Archer would probably have escaped, had not another officer, Milier, espied him, when, after running nearly twelve miles, he was recaptured while on the point of entering Unhill woods. On Monday he was taken before J. Dalzell, Esq., and committed to gaol for a month.

READING MERCURY – 5 July 1851.

James Orchard, 43, and Thomas Orchard, 21, two tramps, were indicted for having on the 1st of January last, stolen four bushels of sawdust, the property of Henry Hippisley, Esq., of Lambourn-place. Mr. Carrington for the prosecution, and Mr. Williams defended the prisoners. The learned Counsel said it might seem strange to the jury that the prisoners should have stolen sawdust, but the explanation given to him was, that latterly the chimney sweeps had got somewhat into the habit of mixing it with soot, and selling it to the farmers as an “unadulterated soot” (a laugh), at a tolerably high price. The witnesses called, stated that a great quantity of sawdust having been stolen from time to time, they were set to watch on the night of the 31st of December last, and between four and five o’clock in the morning three men came to the pit, filled a sack with sawdust, and were about to march off, when they went towards the party, and caught John Orchard (a brother, who was convicted of the felony at the last assizes, and sentenced to six months imprisonment), with a sackful in his possession. The others got away, and were not captured till April last. Mr Williams contended that nothing was more difficult than to speak to the identity of a person, especially when seen at so early an hour on a dark winter’s morning, and suggested the probability of the witnesses being mistaken in the parties. The Chairman summed up, and the jury acquitted the prisoners.

NORTH WILTS HERALD – 11 July 1884.


On Tuesday last some lads from this town (Highworth), Joseph Pipkin, Charles Archer and Ardrest Archer were at work, haymaking, in a field near Hannington Wick, on the farm of Mr. Archard, of Stert’s Farm. During the dinner hour they went to bathe in the river, near to where there is a well known hole supposed to be sixteen or seventeen feet deep. They got into the shallow water, and Ardrest Archer went over to the Gloucestershire side of the river to get some rushes to form a buoy to enable him to swim over the above deep hole. While there he was seen to be struggling and going round and round among the rushes, there being a strong whirlpool there. Charles Archer tried to go to his assistance, but being unable he called for Pipkin to go into the field and get a prong, but when it was brought it was too late for Ardrest Archer, who had already sunk and risen several times and was now ledged among the rushes apparently dead. With the assistance of other work people deceased was got out (but not without difficulty), and conveyed to the house of Mr. H. Snook. Charles Archer went to Highworth as quickly as possible and told the parents of the unfortunate affair, and they in company with the policeman were soon on the spot, but nothing could be done. On Wednesday the body was brought home, and an inquest was held at the Plough Inn, by Mr. Coroner Baker and a respectable jury of whom Mr. J. S. Baker was foreman. The above evidence was given and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally Drowned.” The deceased was about 18 or 19 years of age.

READING MERCURY – 7 August 1880.

WANTED, by a respectable young man, a situation as GROOM. Can ride and drive well. No objection to attend to small garden. Address, A. Archer, Westrop, Highworth, Wilts.

READING MERCURY – 12 June 1869.

George Archer, Richard Archer, and George Jackson were charged with stealing twelve bolts of bullrushes, the property of Joseph Rose, of Tadpole Wharf. They appeared to have carried the rushes away from a stack in prosecutors yard, and to have gone in the direction of Lamborne, near which place Supt. Harfield discovered them in a lane, making the rushes into baskets, and they stated to him they had purchased them at Wallingford. Richard Archer was discharged, the other prisoners were committed for two months’ hard labour each.

OXFORD CHRONICLE – 9 December 1854.


Ellen and Jonathan Orchard, two children of the respective ages of 14 and 12 years, belonging to a man named Orchard, a chimney sweeper of this town, were brought up under the Juvenile Offenders’ Act for stealing swedes, on the 26th of November from a field belonging to Mr. Thomas Luker, of Great Coxwell, they were fined 10s. each, which the father paid, and received from the bench a severe reprimand for encouraging his children to steal.

READING MERCURY – 7 March 1868.



On Thursday, James Archer, Jun., and Rosa Moore, alias Nash, were charged before D. Bennett and T. L. Goodlake, Esqrs., with taking rabbits in the night time, on the 3rd Feb., on the land of Mr. James Heading, of the Lodge Farm. They pleaded guilty, and Archer was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment with hard labour, and at the end of that time to find sureties to be of good behaviour for six months. The woman was discharged.

READING MERCURY – 16 March 1872.

James Archer of Faringdon, chimney sweeper, pleaded guilty to a charge of drunkenness, and was fined 5s. and 7s. 6d. costs.

BERKSHIRE CHRONICLE – 10 December 1859.

James Archer and William Skerry, both of Faringdon, chimney sweeps, were brought up in custody, charged with stealing a tame rabbit, the property of Isaac Cove. The skin of the animal had been sold by the prisoners to a marine store dealer, named Fowler, of Bishopstone, in whose possession it was found by the police. The prisoners were convicted and each sentenced to three months imprisonment.


William Brown and George Archer, gipsies, were charged with lodging in an outhouse of Mr. Brown, in the parish of Ardington, having no visible means of subsistence, and not giving a good account of themselves. Mr. Brown has been a considerable sufferer from the depredations committed by persons lodging in his outhouses, as well as having his cattle disturbed. Brown, having been previously warned against lodging there, was committed to Reading Gaol for a month; but Archer, not having been so cautioned, was discharged with an admonition.

NORTH WILTS HERALD – 12 June 1869.


Matilda Archer, and Sarah Ann Archer, mother and daughter, and Mary Ann Hunt, of Queen’s Arms Yard, Coxwell Street, were brought up under a remand from Friday last, and charged with stealing a quantity of wood of the value of 2d, the property of Robert Campbell Esq, from a field in his occupation at Eaton Hastings. Henry Burgess, Police Constable, said having heard that some wood had been stolen at Eaton, he went there on the 3rd inst. Having visited the spot from where the wood was missed he went across to a field in the occupation of Mr. Webb; here he hid himself behind a hedge. He saw the three prisoners come into the adjoining field in Mr. Campbells occupation, leave the footpath, go about 100 yards through the growing oats, to where some faggots and loose wood were lying, and pick some of the wood up. They then got into the highway, and witness followed them, and charged them with the robbery. The prisoner Matilda Archer was saucy and swore at witness. He took the wood from them. Daniel Bowyer said he was storekeeper to Mr. Campbell; they had recently had a good deal of wood stolen, and property damaged; he valued the wood produced at 2d. Supt. Johnson gave the prisoner, Matilda Archer, who had been before convicted of pilfering, and the girl Hunt, a very indifferent character, but he knew nothing against the young women Sarah Ann Archer. The Bench found all the three guilty, but on account of the comparatively good character of the girl, Sarah Ann Archer, they discharged her, and sentenced each of the other two prisoners to one calender month with hard labor. There was the usual crying and sobbing by the relatives when the two women were removed.

NORTH WILTS HERALD – 6 April 1867.


Matilda Archer, wife of James Archer, appeared to a summons charged with stealing a quantity of turnip greens, the property of T. M. Goodlake, Esq. (During the hearing of this case Mr. Goodlake retired from the bench). Prosecutor’s gardener deposed to having seen the defendant gathering the greens; she put them in a sack, and was taking them away, when he interfered and took the sack from her. The value of the greens was 6d. The defendant did not deny the charge, and the magistrates fined her 16s. 6d., including costs, or a month’s imprisonment.

NORTH WILTS HERALD – 9 February 1912.


Phineas Archer, of Swindon, was charged with sleeping ”rough” in Henry Street on February 8th. P. C. McGrath stated that at 12.45 that morning he found defendant sleeping with his jacket off near a bakehouse in Henry Street. He was using his jacket as a pillow. Witness had to wake him before he would wake up, and he then said he had been there since seven o’ clock. He had no money on him, but he had two tickets for the casual ward. Supt. Robinson said the man was too lazy to walk to Stratton. Defendant’s record, a long one, was produced, and the Mayor told him he was undoubtedly a lazy rogue. He was sentenced to three months’ hard labor as a rogue and vagabond, and was warned that on the next occasion he appeared on the same charge he would be sent to the Quarter Sessions.

BERKSHIRE CHRONICLE – 18 January 1862.

James Archer and Susan Cox were brought up in custody, charged with stealing a quantity of bones, the property of R. Campbell, Esq., of Buscot Park. The prisoners were detected in the act by P.C. Gregory, who stationed himself in a shed near the door of a barn in Mr. Campbell’s occupation, and in which were from 60 to 70 tons of bones, and from which position he saw the prisoners enter the barn, which they remained nearly half an hour, and then left, each carrying a bag, which he afterwards found to contain bones. He then followed the thieves, but on his coming near them they dropped their booty, the bag carried by Archer falling with such force against the officer as to knock him down. This gave them an opportunity of escape for the time, but they were subsequently pursued, and although they evaded detection till the 9th instant, they were then given into the custody of Supt. Coleman, at Swindon. They were committed for trial.


Matilda Archer and Sarah Ann Archer were charged by Sophia Warner with assaulting her. The parties live in Queen’s Arms Yard, Faringdon, but as it appeared the complainant commenced the affray by spitting in Matilda Archer’s face, the case was dismissed.

SWINDON ADVERTISER – 14 October 1876.


Edwin Gorton, a youth, of Highworth, appeared to answer a charge of stealing a fancy flower pot containing a fern, of the value 1s, the property of John Archer, of Highworth, on June 27th. Sarah Ann Archer, wife of John Archer, proved missing the fern, and said it was afterwards brought to her by the police. P.S. Evans, stationed at Highworth, stated that on June 27th, he received complaint from Mrs. Archer of the loss of the fern and pot from outside her house. From further information received he went to Gorse Hill, where prisoner’s father lived, and there saw the fern and pot in his garden. He showed it to defendant, who said it was the fern he took to Gorse Hill from Highworth. Fredk. Kilminster, a youth, of Eastrop, Highworth, also gave evidence. Defendant pleaded not guilty, and asked the Bench to settle the case. He said he found the fern in Mr. Whiteman’s field, where he pulled it out of the ground with his hands. The Bench adjourned for some time to consider their verdict, and on returning the Chairman said the Bench were willing not to convict if defendant paid the costs, which amounted 10s. Defendants father paid the money.


FOR SALE, 250 bushels of SOOT. Apply Joseph Archer, Chimney Sweep, 7. Belle Vue Road, Swindon.


John Archer, a chimney sweep, was charged with stealing four cabbages, value 2d., the property of John Smith, publican, Highworth. Mr. Tombs, who appeared for defendant, admitted the charge, but urged in defence that Archer and Smith had known each other for years and great familiarity existed between them. Their places of abode were only forty yards apart, and that defendant took the cabbages in the morning with the intention of telling Smith of it when he went to have his customary glass of beer at Smith’s house in the evening. The Bench retired, and on entering the Chairman said they should fine Archer £1 and costs, in default of payment 21 days imprisonment.



The funeral of Mr. Ernest Archer, of Bryntaff, took place on Friday at Aberfan Cemetery. Mr. Archer, who was aged 75, served during the South African War and the Great War. Mr. S. E. Turner officiated at the house and graveside. Members of the British Legion were present with the Bugler, Mr. Cyril Jones, Aberfan.

MERTHYR EXPRESS – 7 March 1914.


Ernest Archer, of Aberfan, borrowed £1 2s. from the Board of Guardians during the 1912 strike which he had not repaid, and he was summoned. He did not appear, and was ordered to pay.

THE CITIZEN – 5 December 1911.


Phineas Archer, a ne’er-do-well, whose appearances in the dock are of frequent occurrence, was sent to prison for a month for sleeping rough. It was said by the police that Archer never attempted to do any work from the time he came out of gaol till his next committal. He was too indolent even to clean himself!



About three weeks since we reported the escape of a young man named Alfred Archer from the police station here, and intimated that his re-capture would not be an easy task. Our prediction, unluckily for the police, proved too true, for the “extra duty” since has been somewhat irksome. When Archer gained his liberty he “took unto himself the habits of a fox,” lying about in the various coverts surrounding the town, and also ventured on excursions during the night. This left the policemen no alternative but to “take unto themselves the habits of fox-hounds.” The “blue-coated pack,” (kept up by the county rate) accordingly had their meets, but the sport was not over exciting, Coxwell Farm, Cole’s Pit, Badbury Hill and other well known coverts being all drawn blank. Archer in time got tired of these “close quarters,” and went to the “waterside,” near Radcot, for a “change of air.” This is a favourite place for angling, and on Saturday last P. C. Gregory went to the river with rod and line to try his luck at “catching.” Perceiving Archer some distance up the river he coolly fished on, moving by degrees towards the object of his mission, and this bit of stratagem proved successful. We presume the fisherman’s eye was not only intently watching the float, but rather the line of the prisoner’s conduct. Archer recognised the policeman a few yards off, and “hooked” it, but, like the pike when he takes the treacherous bait, only ran to be caught. On Monday the prisoner was taken before T. L. Goodlake, Esq. 

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