SARAH ARCHER (nee Burdo)
Penrhyn c1760 - 1834
Died 14 July 1834, aged 74.
also known as Bordeaux and Rebecca Davidson,
had invited a young man for a glass of gin at the
Bunch of Grapes on Rupert Street, London. “With all
my heart,” he replied. Then, he said, she asked him to
lay with her. “I said no, then they unbuttoned my
breeches, and one fell down on the sofa, and the other
pushed me upon her; and I found my money was gone; I
charged them with the watch; they were searched and
Sarah was sentenced to transportation for
seven years at the Old Bailey on 25 October 1786 for
An intriguing paragraph appeared in the Whitehall
Evening Post on 21 August that year,
about the accusation by a young man against Sarah
Purdue, with whom he cohabited, for theft of his
watch. Taken before the magistrate, she returned the
watch, and he declined to prosecute. “Just as they
quitted the Magistrate’s Office, the woman stabbed him
in the side, and cut him upon the neck in such a manner
that a surgeon was of the opinion that had the wound
reached a sixteenth of an inch lower it must inevitably
have occasioned his death.”
On 6 January 1787, Sarah, aged 23 was
delivered to Lady Penrhyn. At Sydney Cove on 1
June 1794, Sarah married former marine Isaac Archer.
They both signed the register, Sarah listed as Bordeaux.
In 1806, Sarah was recorded (clearly in
error) as an orphan living with Isaac Archer at
Parramatta, presumably on his grant at Field of Mars,
but she is given also, as by the Lady Penrhyn and both
before and after 1806, as wife of Isaac Archer. The
‘orphan’ notation may refer to the one male natural
child credited to her by Samuel Marsden in 1806
(possibly adopted). She worked in the community as a
midwife, and was still with Archer at Clarence Street,
Sydney, aged 73, in 1828.
Sarah died in July 1834. Her burial
recorded in the St James’ register, Sydney on 16
July 1834, aged 74.
This information, which appears on the grave stone of
Mary Marshall at the First Fleet Memorial Garden at
Matraville, is based on research by Molly Gillen.