Fred Archer was born in Ashton-under-Hill in rural Gloucestershire on 30 April 1915 in an area that is now part of Worcestershire. He was raised in a farming community and absorbed the local culture of farming traditions, speech and music-making. All this knowledge was put into his biographical novels, starting in 1967 with The Distant Scene and continuing through to a writing career that covered almost thirty books depicting rural life, mainly in the pre-war area. These books are nominally novels but include a great deal of autobiographical background.
He took a keen interest in songs that were sung in the locality and often performed them himself. He remembered the Ashton-under-Hill carols, collected and arranged in the 1920s by Amy Robeson, and which were still being sung there in the 1960s, and passed copies of these to Gwilym Davies. Some of his songs and anecdotes were recorded for the Saydisc records While I Work I whistle and Cotswold Characters. He died in Evesham in 1999.
Note by Gwilym Davies November 2011