He figures his tour is about six miles, “a good little walk,” Taylor says. He starts up on an earth and concrete river levee that overlooks the mighty Mississippi. His view from the Lower Ninth Ward gives him a southwestern glance at the city skyline.
Brickendon sits comfortably inside a majestic amphitheatre of tall exotic trees that gently dissolves into orchards of mulberries and hazelnuts and neat hawthorn lined fields.It has sat here since 1829, when Englishman William Archer ordered its construction from convict bricks, cedar and slate, a home to six generations of Archers.Three generations live in its 96 squares today, the current custodians of the gracious Georgian style homestead at Longford.Nearby Woolmers, built in 1819 by William’s younger brother Thomas, has clung to its grand history and tradition, but Brickendon has proved more fluid, ebbing and flowing to accommodate each generation that has lived here. Sixth generation Richard Archer and his wife Louise are in the midst of completing their mark on Brickendon the addition of a light and airy kitchen and sunroom to the servants’ wing that they share with their three young children and a Danish exchange student.The homestead is large enough to comfortably split in two, giving different generations independence.Richard’s parents, Kerry and Angela the latter tends the gardens live in the southern wing.This family has lived quite differently to the Woolmer’s Archers, says Louise, who manages the farm’s tourism side, dashing between village and homestead, forever ringing mobile phone hung around her neck.”This has always been an active working farm,” she says, scooping a collection of odd socks off an antique dining table.”It has been altered for each generation to make it home.”The sunroom, that’s our addition, that’s our lifestyle now.”Some parts of the homestead have not been altered though, and look much as they would have in William’s day.Internal cedar shutters vital to protect against bushrangers and Aborigines remain, as does the intricate pressed metal ceiling above the main stairwell and a library, many that date before Australian settlement, brought over by William Archer, a keen consumer of literature.At the base of the stairs, on either side of the main entrance, stand two marble busts.Who they are is unknown, says Louise.”This one looks like Julius Caesar,” she says.”But that is very much an Archer’s nose,” she notes running her finger along its bridge.Through the generations, the Archer character has proved as solid as the family’s triple brick home.”What is really remarkable in the history of the Archers is the continuing of respectability,” notes Neil Chick, in his history of the Archer family. “William Archer of Hertford (commented) that the family had sprung from the more respectable portions of the middle class and that the standing of the family had been debased by no unworthy act.”Accordingly, convicts and animals were treated well at Brickendon.William more than fulfilled his obligation to the religious education of convicts with an airy Gothic chapel, built in 1836..