The diary is concerned primarily with Issac Archer's student life and his next twenty years as a clergyman. There is a wide range of subject matter, but the focus is on family relationships, ministerial duties, and Archer's spiritual concerns, particularly his decision to conform to the Anglican Church against the wishes of his father. There are 228 numbered pages, of which 95 pages cover Archer's parochial ministry, but only 16 describe the last 12 years of his life. The volume was not started until 1659, and may be a later version of earlier drafts. Many events are described some time after they took place. There is a family tree inside the back cover, notes relating to Archer's children, and a valediction to his grandfather. Only around half the entries are dated clearly and the number of date entries decreases after 1688.
Isaac Archer: Diary
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Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Isaac Archer (1641-1700), the son of William (1609-1670) and Mary Archer (d. 1649), was born in north Suffolk, but moved to Essex early in his life. In 1653 he was sent to board at Halstead school. At first William Archer opposed Isaac's receiving a university education, probably on the grounds of cost. As a result, he was apprenticed to a linen draper in London, before his father terminated the apprenticeship because of the expense. The intervention of Henry Dearsly, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, persuaded William Archer to allow his son to enter Trinity. Dearsly helped Isaac when his father later refused to provide him with further maintenance. After his studies Archer took holy orders in the Church of England and served as a minister in Cambridgeshire and later Suffolk. In 1667 he married Anne Peachy (1643-1698), daughter of Roger Peachy, Vicar of Isleham. He married his second wife Elizabeth (d. 1700) in 1699.
Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.
Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, with reference to Matthew Storey, ed., Two East Anglian diaries, 1641-1729: Isaac Archer and William Coe (The Boydell Press, Suffolk Records Society Volume 36, 1994).
Other Finding Aids
Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.
The diary was previously in the possession of the Essex historian Dr F.G. Emmison.
A transcript and supporting information can be found in Matthew Storey, ed., Two East Anglian diaries, 1641-1729: Isaac Archer and William Coe (The Boydell Press, Suffolk Records Society Volume 36, 1994).