Archer, Timothy (1839-1930)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1931

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.P.

Timothy Archer was born ninety-two years ago at Sculthorpe, a Norfolk village; and seventy-one years have passed since he began his ministry. His probation was spent at Belper where he met Miss Copestake, who became his wife. In the little Derbyshire town his body rests with that of his wife and of his son, Dr. Archer. Seventy years ago, circuits were so large and their demands such that often for a whole week the minister did not sleep in his own home. Travel was done afoot, and the long journeys exacted great physical strain. Timothy Archer, ever an innovator, tried to lessen the fatigue of the road by mounting one of those monstrously high and dangerous bicycles nowadays seen only in museums. In this way he traversed his circuits which were mainly in the eastern and midland counties. He was of the pioneering order of men, ever claiming new territory for the Kingdom. He built several chapels and schools on new ground. It was he who missioned Buxton and obtained the site of the present church. On the Alfreton Circuit he did much “spade work,” which made possible the erection of the magnificent structure – the Watchorn Memorial Church. During

Timothy Archer’s term of ministry, Mr. Watchorn was a youth in the church, and to this day he speaks of his minister as a “forceful preacher.” The forcefulness was not in the pulpit alone, for the Temperance Movement, then far from popular, was strengthened by Timothy Archer’s virile advocacy. But behind all his achievements, and greater than them all, was a character of rare worth.

The Rev. R.W.B. Whiteway writes: “Our church never had a more devoted minister. He was the soul of uprightness, and bore a character absolutely unsullied.” Cheerfulness was natural in him and he freely communicated it to others; he was an excellent raconteurwho kept his listeners in merry mood. Despite his great age, his faculties remained keen and his mind clear to the very end of his earthly life. He never lost contact with modern literature, and was often found absorbed in a recently published book. Undisturbed by ambition, he sought no recognition, and in his serene eventide he was content to reap “the harvest of a quiet life,” and something of life’s morning lingered about him “to make him doubt – t’was night.”


Timothy was born on 6 March 1839 at Sculthorpe, nr Fakenham, Norfolk, to parents Robert Archer, who worked the land, and Ann Battledon.

Before entering the ministry Timothy worked the land (1851) and as an oil miller (1861).

Timothy married Emma Phyllis Copestake (1848-1921) in the summer of 1869 at Belper PM Chapel, Derbyshire. Census returns and birth records identify four children.

  • Annie Lois Elizabeth (1870-1871)
  • Ethel Florence (1874-1942) – a music teacher
  • Charles Sydney (1876-1924) – a medical doctor
  • Wilfred Ernest (1878-1879)

Timothy died on 26 June 1930 at Shardlow, Derbyshire.


  • 1862 Lincoln
  • 1863 Belper
  • 1864 Sleaford
  • 1865 Ilkeston
  • 1866 Wirksworth
  • 1867 Winster
  • 1868 Lincoln
  • 1869 Mansfield
  • 1871 Ripley
  • 1874 Eakring
  • 1877 Rotherham
  • 1880 Bottesford
  • 1881 Wigan
  • 1884 Oakham
  • 1884 Oakham
  • 1886 St Neots
  • 1888 Windsor
  • 1891 Stanley
  • 1894 Alfreton
  • 1898 Beccles & Bungay
  • 1901 Guildford
  • 1903 Wallingford
  • 1906 Horncastle
  • 1908 Coleford
  • 1910 Hull (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1931/619

PM Minutes 1931/274

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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