©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 04, 2019
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020




Mr Thomas Richard Archer Briggs, FLS, was the author of the book "The Flora of Plymouth: an Account of the Flowering Plants and Ferns found within twelve miles of the town", which was published in 1880.

He was born on May 7th 1836 at Fursdon in the Parish of Egg Buckland.   Surrounded as it then was by open countryside, it is not surprising that he developed an early interest in natural history and botany. 

His first botanical notes were published in 1860 and he was from then on a regular contributor to the learned journals and to the Transactions of the Plymouth Institution, which he joined in 1862.  He carried out thorough research into Rosę and Rubi and identified around twenty new plants.  In 1870 he joined the Devonshire Association and in 1872 he was elected a fellow of the Linnęan Society.   At the meeting of the British Association that was held in Plymouth in 1877 he presented a paper "The Roses of the Neighbourhood of Plymouth".

In "The Flora of Plymouth" he gives full details of the "Plymouth Strawberry", first recorded in 1633, which was so large that he declared it was: 'pleasant to behold and fit for a gentle-woman to bear on her arme as a raritie instead of a flower.'  Most of the area covered by this book is now within the modern City.

Described as being single-minded and kind-hearted, he also had a reputation of having 'a rather formal old-fashioned courtesy that was very pleasant and winning'.

He never married and in his later years lived at the family home of Fursdon with his younger brother and family.  He was a devoted Sunday-school teacher and was a lay-reader of his church. 

Mr T R Archer Briggs was taken ill during the evening of Sunday January 18th 1891 and died unexpectedly at Fursdon on the evening of Friday January 23rd 1891.