Saturday 16 May 2015

(167) Archer of Mount John

Archer family
of Wicklow and Kilkenny
The family were in Ireland from medieval times and apparently had a castle at Archerstown (Tipperary) in the middle ages, part of which is said to survive in the wall of the deer park surrounding the present small house. Later they were in Kilkenny, but the Archers of Co. Wicklow have not been traced back further than the late 17th century, and by the time they enter the historical record they were already occupying a number of farming estates in the county.  Tentatively, it may be suggested that Patrick Archer (c.1615-86) came from the Kilkenny family; in 1670 he brought an action in the Irish Court of Chancery for the recovery of lands at Riverstown and Castletown (Meath). He is known to have had a son John, who subsequently settled at Riverstown, and Edward Archer of Kiltymon who heads the genealogy below may have been another son. Kiltymon (at Newcastle) was their first house in Wicklow, and had a 16th century tower house which perhaps remained in use into the 18th century. At some point in the early 18th century, however, Edward Archer (1700-77) built a new house called Mount John a few miles away, presumably named after his father. His son, Thomas Archer (1748-1830) built a new front block at Mount John in about 1800, and it remained in the family until it was sold by Graves Chamney Archer (1778-1848) shortly before his death. The original house at Kiltymon descended to Joseph Archer (d. 1835), who sold it in 1808/9 to William Eccles, who built a new house and turned the old castle into a folly in the gardens.

The family seem also to have owned Prospect House, near Newtownmountkennedy, which was occupied by Richard Archer (d. 1741) and passed to his daughter and heiress, Mary, who married Edward Archer (1701-77) of Mount John. It seems to have been sold thereafter, and the present house is believed to date from the 1760s.  Margaret, the daughter of William Lamb of Prospect House, married Thomas Archer of Mount John in 1778, and may have brought the house back into the family, but it was let in 1782 to Richard Smith (d. 1804), a Leicestershire grazier, and later sold. A directory of Irish seats and estates of 1814 also mentions an H. Archer at Ballinastow, Newtownmountkennedy and Thomas Archer at Ballyseskin (Wexford), but their relationships to the main line of the family have not been established. I have reserved accounts of Kiltymon and Prospect House to future posts as the present buildings date from after their ownership by the Archer family.

Mount John, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow

Mount John, showing the entrance front of c.1800 and the possibly older rear block.

A modest but attractive five bay two storey house with a painted slate-hung entrance front with fine central fanlighted doorcase, built about 1800 for Thomas Archer, although it is believed that the rear part of the house is earlier and a survivor of the previous smaller building.  To Thomas Archer's house, semicircular bows were later added on either end. Inside, the house has a narrow central hall with a drawing room on one side and a dining room on the other, which open into the bows on either end of the house; the principal bedroom also has a bow. 
Mount John: central doorcase. The photograph also shows
the unusual painted slate hanging of the entrance front.

The house is well-sited in its landscape setting, which was described as "a beautifully situated little demesne, enjoying great advantages from its vicinity to the hills and woods of Dunran, which appear to be part of [the] grounds" in 1824. 

In the early 20th century, Mount John was the childhood home of the novelist Elizabeth Hamilton, who recorded her fond memories of the place in her memoir, An Irish Childhood, and extracts from the books, together with some evocative photographs, are available on The Irish Aesthete blog. The house is now in a fairly run-down condition and needs careful restoration, and is currently for sale.

Descent: Edward Archer (1701-77); to son, Thomas Archer (1748-1830); to son, Graves Chamney Archer (1779-1848), who probably sold it to John Walker; sold again 1852...Luke White (fl. 1860-67)....John Douglas Hamilton (fl. 1910-14)... Joan Kennedy-Kisch (d. c.2000)...

Archer family of Mount John

Archer, Edward, of Kiltymon (Co. Wicklow). Possibly a son of Patrick Archer (d. 1686) of Riverstown (Meath). He married Mary, daughter of Sankey Sylliard of Dublin, apothecary, and had issue (perhaps among others):
(1) Jonas Archer; married Mary [surname unknown] and had issue including a son (Richard Archer (d. 1741) of Prospect House, whose daughter Mary later married Edward Archer of Mount John);
(2) John Archer (fl. 1728) (q.v.);
(3) Anthony Archer (d. 1707) of Killogue;
(4) Margaret Archer; married John Archer[?] of Riverstown (Meath);
(5) Anne Archer; married George Carr;
(6) Elizabeth Archer (d. 1707); married 7 January 1694/5 at Delgany, George White;
(7) Rose Archer (c.1681-92); died young and was buried 1 May 1692 at Newcastle (Wicklow).
His date of death is unknown.

Archer, John (b. c.1670; fl. 1738) of Kiltymon. Second son of Edward Archer of Kiltymon (Wicklow) and his wife Mary, daughter of Sankey Sylliard of Dublin, born about 1670. He married 1st, 23 January 1696/7 at Delgany (Wicklow), Catherine Paine (fl. 1705) of Clamanning and 2nd, Anne (d. 1743), third daughter of John Chamney of Bullard (Wicklow) and Ballynellot (Wexford) and had issue (the mother of his three younger sons being likely but uncertain):
(1.1) Edward Archer (1701-77) (q.v.);
(1.2) Jonas Archer (b. 1703; fl. 1762); married, 19 January 1733 at St Michan, Dublin, Frances, youngest daughter of John Abbott of Dublin, brewer and steward of Kings Inn, and had issue two daughters;
(1.3) Richard Archer, of Killogue or Keelogue (Co. Wicklow); married 1728 (settlement 25 April), Elizabeth Johnston;
(1.4) Anthony Archer;
(1.5) Joseph Archer (fl. 1757) (q.v.) [this relationship is uncertain].
His date of death is unknown. His first wife was living in 1705. His second wife died in 1743.

Archer, Edward (1700-77) of Mount John and Prospect House. Eldest son of John Archer (b. c.1670), baptised 19 May 1700. He married 1st, 1729, his first cousin Mary Archer (b. 1711; fl. 1738) of Prospect House, and 2nd, 9 October 1746 at St Peter & St Kevin, Dublin, Elizabeth (1717-77), daughter of Graves or Thomas Chamney of Platten (Meath) and Ballyshanogue (Wexford), and had issue:
(1.1) Anthony Archer (b. 1735); 
(1.2) John Archer (1736-1811?); possibly to be identified with the person of this name who was a prominent bookseller and binder and auctioneer in Dublin between 1782 and 1809 and who married twice and had issue, and died July 1811;
(1.3) Edward Archer (1739-42);
(1.4) Joseph Archer (b. & d. 1741);
(1.5) Margaret Archer; married, 1774, William Edwards of Meath St., Dublin, clockmaker;
(1.6) Harriet Archer;
(2.1) Thomas Archer (1748-1830) (q.v.);
(2.2) Anne Archer;
(2.3) Edward Archer (1754-93), born 6 May 1754; merchant in Henrietta St., Covent Garden, London; died unmarried at Heston (Middx), March 1793;
(2.4) Jane Archer; married, 1781, Dr. John Haughton of Dublin, physician and had issue several sons;.
He either built Mount John or inherited it from his father.
He died in 1777. His widow died December 1777.

Archer, Thomas (1748-1830) of Mount John. Only son of Edward Archer (1700-77) and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Graves Chamney. High Sheriff of Co. Wicklow, 1798-1800. Commander of a Corps of Yeomanry, who was "most active in assisting to suppress the Rebellion" of 1798. Long celebrated as a skilled agriculturalist and an improving proprietor. He married, May 1778, Margaret (1750-1824), daughter of William Lamb of Prospect, and had issue including:
(1) Graves Chamney Archer (1779-1848) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Archer (1781-1861); farmed at Keelogue (Co. Wicklow), which was presumably sold with Mount John before 1848, as the two properties were sold together in the Incumbered Estates Court in 1852; lived later at Sion House, Dublin; married, about October 1802, Susannah Gilbert, and had issue; died in Dublin, 26 November 1861;
(3) Rev. William Archer (1782-1870); educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1799; BA 1804; MA 1832); rector of Newcastle (Wicklow) and later of Croagh (Limerick); prebendary of Limerick Cathedral; married 1st, 1813, Olivia (1794-1829), daughter of Rev. Hosea Guinness and had issue including three sons and one daughter; married 2nd, November 1829, Elizabeth, daughter of George Thompson, and had further issue four sons and four daughters; died 13 September 1870 and was buried at Limerick;
(4) Cmdr. Thomas Archer (1784-1853); an officer in the Royal Navy, 1801-15 (Lt., 1808; Cmdr.), who 'distinguished himself at the siege of Gluckstadt and the reduction of Curacao, for which he received a medal in acknowledgement of his meritorious services' from the King of Sweden; married, 9 May 1815 at St Marylebone (Middx), Mary Meynell (1783-1865); lived at Bradley rectory (Derbys), where he died, 24 March 1853; buried at Bradley, 1 April 1853, where he is commemorated by a monument designed by M.W. Johnson of London; his will was proved 15 June 1853;
(5) Eliza Archer (c.1789-1855); died unmarried in Dublin, 2 April 1855, aged 65;
(6) Charles Palmer Archer (1790-1865) of Killadreenan; took over the failing bookshop of his uncle, John Archer, in 1810; Sheriff of Dublin, 1815-16; Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1832-33; author of a volume of law reports from the Irish courts in 1842; married, 23 April 1810, Caroline Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Peter Montfort and had issue five sons; died 11 December 1865;
(7) Clement Archer (c.1793-1817); Lieutenant in Royal West India Rangers; died of a fever at Trinidad, 1817, aged 24.
He either inherited Mount John from his father in 1777 or from his elder brother. He rebuilt the house c.1790-1810.
He died as a result of a fall from his gig, 21 September 1830. His wife died 19 February 1824.

Archer, Graves Chamney (1779-1848) of Mount John. Son of Thomas Archer (1748-1830) and his wife Margaret Lamb, born 1779. An amateur artist, who exhibited landscapes and portraits in Dublin, 1811-26. He married, 20 November 1833 at Bradbourne (Derbys), Catherine Anne (1801-83), daughter of Rev. George Buckston of Bradbourn Hall, rector of Shirland, and had issue:
(1) Graves Thomas Archer (1836-72) (q.v.);
(2) Lucy Archer.
He inherited the Mount John estate from his father, but probably sold it before his death to John Walker, who sold it through the Incumbered Estates Court in 1852. G.C. Archer also had a house in Eaton Place, London.
He died of a bilious fever at Stillorgan Park (Dublin), 31 October 1848. His widow married 2nd, 4 April 1854 at St Georges, Hanover Square, London, Robert Aglionby Slaney MP (1791-1862) of Walford Manor (Salop) and Bolton Row, Mayfair, and died 10 April 1883.

Archer, Graves Thomas (1836-72). Son of Graves Chamney Archer (d. 1848), born 2 December 1836. Educated at Trinity and Emmanuel Colleges, Cambridge (admitted 1856) and Middle Temple (admitted 1859; called to bar, 1862); barrister-at-law. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Married, 8 September 1868, Lucy (1837-1913), daughter of Phipps Francis Onslow of Broadwas Court (Worcs), and had issue:
(1) Capt. Hubert Graves Archer (1869-1940), born 16 November 1869; Lt. in 3rd Battn., Sherwood Foresters; married, 9 June 1906, Louise Christina (1879-1937), sixth and youngest daughter of Hon. Leopold William Henry Fox-Powys, and had issue five sons; died 23 September 1940 at Seaton (Devon);
(2) Constance Harriet Archer (b. 1870); married, 9 February 1904 at Wrockwardine (Shropshire), Col. Walter Francis Hawkins (1857-1936) of Stone (Glos), son of Gen. Sir John Hawkins, and had issue; 
(3) Alfred German Archer (1871-1935), born 6 December 1871; educated at Haileybury; played cricket for Worcestershire, 1900-01 and Shropshire; married, 1905, Elsie Georgina Constance (1875-1944), daughter of George Francis Hewson and formerly wife (div. 1905) of Sir Robert John McConnell (1853-1927), 1st bt. by whom he had an illegitimate child prior to her divorce; died 15 July 1935.
He died at Ventnor (Isle of Wight), 13 April 1872; his will was proved 7 June 1872 (effects under £8,000). His widow died in Bath (Somerset), 14 December 1913; her will was proved 5 February 1914 (estate £2,562).

Archer, Joseph (fl. 1757) of Kiltymon. Probably a younger son of John Archer of Kiltymon and his second wife Anne (d. 1743), daughter of John Chamney of Bullard (Wicklow) and Ballynellot (Wexford). He married, 5 May 1750 at St Mary, Dublin, Elizabeth Murphy, and had issue:
(1) Joseph Archer (d. 1835) (q.v.);
(2) Pheobe Archer (d. 1824); married, 1786, William Nicholson (d. 1806), stock broker and Lottery office keeper of Cornhill, London; will proved 26 May 1824;
(3) Edward Archer; married, 5 August 1795 at St Peter, Dublin, Ann Tandy and had issue a daughter (Louisa Nicholson Archer (1800-76)) who became heir to her aunt Pheobe;
(4) Harriet Archer; married [forename unknown] Smith.
He appears to have inherited Kiltymon from his father.
His date of death is unknown.

Archer, Joseph (d. 1835) of Kiltymon. Son of Joseph Archer of Kiltymon and his wife, Elizabeth Murphy. Captain in the Wicklow militia. He married, 1794, Hester alias Esther Bury (c.1774-1856), and had issue including:
(1) Margaret Archer (c.1803-53); married, 20 October 1823, Eyre Evans Crowe (1799-1868) and had issue four sons and two daughters; died in Paris (France), 22 October 1853.
He inherited the Kiltymon estate from his father but sold it in 1808/9; the present house was built shortly afterwards.
He died in 1835. His widow died in 1856.


J.H.L. Archer, Memorials of families of the surname Archer, 1861, Appendix, pp. 2-3; Notes and Queries, 11th series, vol. 5, 1912, p.9;;
The National Library of Ireland has a photocopy of "A history of the Archers of Co. Wicklow" by Major A.F. Archer, 1974, which I have not seen, but which may throw more light on the family.

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

The family seem to have used variations on the same coat of arms, with what authority is not clear:
Argent, a chevron gules between three pheons sable; or Argent, a chevron ermine between three pheons sable.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • This account is unusually incomplete as it has been built up almost entirely from small scraps of genealogical information culled from contemporary newspapers and from published indexes to genealogical sources. It is more than usually likely to be inaccurate in places, and I would be most grateful to any reader who can provide additional information or corrections.
  • In particular, I should be grateful to any reader who has access to the National Library of Ireland and could look at Major Archer's history of the Archers of Co. Wicklow [NLI MS.18330] for me to determine whether this adds anything to the account above. I would be particularly keen to confirm the relationship between John Archer (fl. 1728) and Joseph Archer (fl. 1757).
  • Can anyone supply more complete information about the ownership of Mount John in the late 19th and 20th centuries?


This account was first published, 16 May 2015, and revised 25 May 2015, 2 May 2016, 5 April 2017, 26 August and 2 September 2018, 15 August 2020 and 6 January 2023. I am most grateful to Rosalie Raftis for sharing her research on the family, and to Hugh Casement, Maxwell Craven and Geraldine Woods-Humphery for additional information.


  1. Thank you for your Archer of Mt John blog. I've researched my Archer family for years from my desk in California, USA. The family marriages/names can get confusing at times. I have one question: Archer, Thomas (1748-1830) of Mount John; Is he the grandson of Graves Chamney or Thomas Chamney? I thought it was Graves but I had not cemented it into my tree yet. My 2nd grt grandfather is Rev.Wm. Archer, Thomas' son. Rev Archer married twice. 1st wife, Olivia, who died in 1829 at her fathers house. Source: Westmeath Journal, which ran, on 06/04/1829, an account of death.
    Mrs Olivia (nee GUINNESS) Archer 1829. May 27, at the house of her father, the Rev. Dr. Guinness, Olivia, wife of the Rev. William Archer, Vicar of Newcastle, in the county of Wicklow. Kathy D

    1. I think you may be right that he was Graves and not Thomas as I see that Graves is given as her father in the "Memorials of the family of Archer". Two daughters of Thomas Chamney are noticed in various editions of Burke's Landed Gentry: Esther, who married Henry Cusack of Moyaugher & Girley (d 1792) and Katherine, who married Joseph Swan of Trombrean, co Wicklow (1730-96). Their dates suggest they were perhaps a generation younger than Elizabeth Chamney and her husband John Archer, although one cannot be certain about this as the eldest and youngest siblings could be born 20 years apart. A Graves Chamney who was alderman of Drogheda died in 1794 and was probably another sibling. I will amend my text to indicate doubt on the name of Elizabeth's father.

      I had found evidence of Rev. William Archer marrying twice but was confused by the Archer/Gleeson marriage in 1815 which was obviously not compatible with the Archer/Guinness match. I have now found a newspaper record of his marriage to Elizabeth Thompson in Nov 1829 (Dublin Morning Register, 5 Nov. 1829) and will amend accordingly.

      Many thanks for your input!


  2. Thanks again, Nick,(sorry to make you do look up work). You are right, Rev. Wm. Archer married my 2nd grt. grandmother, Elizabeth Thompson (1805-1878) daughter Of George Thompson, Esq., of Ely Place. They had 8 children; 4 males, 4 females, one, my grt. grandfather Rev. Wm. C. Archer, came to USA, & d: 1919, at my grt. aunt's house in MO. Kathy D

  3. I recently found this online transcript of a 1912 edition of "Notes and Queries" which mentions the relationship of the Kiltymon Archers to those of Riverstown, Co. Meath in the late 17th century. This may take your story back a further generation to one Jonas Archer and his wife, Mary. The main subject of this article, Patrick Archer, merchant of London and founder of the Riverstown family, seems highly likely to have been a member of the Kilkenny patrician family and a close associate of the 1st Duke of Ormonde.

    Have a good one!

    1. Thank you for this reference. I have made some amendments to the text above in the light of the content, although the links must remain very tentative and conjectural.

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  7. If you are still building on tbis I can help I am an Archer from Dublin and have done a DNA so can give you names, my father John Archer from Bray, his father Robert from Wicklow

    1. Thank you for the offer of help. I am only concerned here with the generations of the family who owned Mount John, but anything further you can tell me about them would be most welcome.

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Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.