Archdale, Mervyn Edward (1812–95), army officer, politician, and landowner, was born 27 January 1812 in Dublin, the eldest of nine sons of Edward Archdall of Riversdale, Co. Fermanagh, and his wife Matilda, daughter of William Humphrys of Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. Edward Archdall (1775–1864), third son of Mervyn Archdall (1725–1813) of Castle Archdall, Co. Fermanagh, had raised and commanded the Lurg and Magheraboy True Blue Infantry in 1798 and was high sheriff in 1813. Mervyn Edward Archdale (he came to prefer this spelling) was educated at private schools in England at the expense of his uncle, General Mervyn Archdall (1763–1839), MP for Co. Fermanagh (1801–34). He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford (June 1830), but did not graduate. Instead he took up a military career, becoming cornet in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons (1832), lieutenant (1835) and captain (1841), retiring on half pay in 1847. In June 1834 he was elected MP for Co. Fermanagh in succession to his uncle. In this and the succeeding nine elections he was returned unopposed. From 1836 Archdale was a prominent Orangeman and became treasurer of the grand lodge of Ireland. He voted in 1856 to disendow Maynooth College. When in 1868 he was asked to support a plea for the reprieve of Michael Barrett (qv), a local Fenian under sentence of death in London, he refused. He did not stand at the election of January 1874.
On the death of another uncle, Lt-col. William Archdall (1 January 1857) he succeeded to the family estates, Castle Archdall and Trillick, Co. Tyrone. He was high sheriff of Co. Fermanagh in 1879. At Oxford he ‘kept a good stable of hunters’ (Archdale, Mem.) and in Ireland he owned racehorses. Other pursuits in which he was prominent were coursing and boating. He was a Freemason and member of five clubs. Mervyn Edward Archdale died 22 December 1895 at Cannes in the south of France. He and his wife, Emma Inez, daughter of Jacob Goulding of Kew, Surrey, had two sons, Mervyn Henry and Hugh James (both army officers) and three daughters (two of whom married officers). However, he was succeeded in the family property (relieved from debt thanks to a large assurance on his life) by his brother, William Humphrys Mervyn Archdale (1813–99), from whom it passed to Edward Archdale (1850–1916), elder son of their younger brother, Rev. Henry Montgomery Archdale (1818–98). As head of the Archdale family from June 1899 Edward Archdale was a striking contrast to his predecessors. A civil engineer, he spent many years laying submarine cables. As a landowner he was an agricultural improver and was regarded as exemplary in selling up promptly under the Wyndham land act (1903). A liberal, free-trader and home-ruler, he supported Thomas Wallace Russell (qv), agrarian reformer and an MP for Co. Tyrone. A high churchman, probably influenced by his education at Keble College, Oxford, he built a beautiful new church at Castle Archdall, engaging for this purpose Sir Thomas Drew (qv) and Sarah Purser (qv). He died 4 July 1916.