Archibald Seth Armstrong was the gatekeeper at Home Farm.
Seth was a loveable rogue and was a big wind up merchant, often winding up Woolpack landlord Amos Brearly and later his boss Alan Turner. Turner used to say "Get out Seth" whenever bothersome Seth used to find reasons and excuses to skive off work.
Archibald Seth Armstrong was born on the 12th November 1926 in Beckindale. He rarely used his first name, and took his middle name as his first name. As a boy, Seth was quite poorly. Seth had a sister. Seth and his sister were illegitimate, and Seth had a suspicion that his birth was never registered, so no birth certificate. Seth never knew his father, or who he was. It was rumoured that he's illegitimate son of George Verney, which he once made an April Fool's prank to Amos Brearly, but it wasn't never officially confirmed that was he really a descendant of the Verney family. In 1944, 18 year old Seth romanced Betty Prendegast but she then left for London. Seth spent some time in the army. In 1952 he married Meg. They had a son Jimmy Armstrong in 1953 and Fred Armstrong in 1962. Seth worked as a boiler man at the village school.
Seth started out as the school's boiler man living with his wife Meg. He did a lot of poaching but eventually became gamekeeper in 1980. He swapped the Malt Shovel (Beckindale's other pub) for The Woolpack in the summer of 1980. Seth then got a job as a gamekeeper at Home Farm. In 1981 he forced local hardnut Tom Merrick out of the village after he tried to frame Jack Sugden in an arson attack. Seth and Meg had marriage difficulties in 1983, which resulted in him having to sleep in a shed at home farm. However he won her back with a bottle of port. Two years latter he opened up a NY social club to create rivalry for The Woolpack however the beer made everyone ill and he only made a profit of 10p before closing down. He later hired entertainment for The Woolpack by getting strippers who could tame snakes to entertain the pub however Amos was having none of it and refused to allow it.
In 1983 it was revealed that Seth was in fact his middle name as his NY Estates work records said A.S. Armstrong.
Jackie Merrick asked him what the A stood for and Seth replied "Archibald". He was never known as Archibald and always used his middle name as his common name. Archibald Seth Armstrong was his full name. Seth's boss Alan Turner often liked to blame Seth for mistakes he made. Seth could be very lazy but Alan kept him on as his whipping boy. In 1986, Seth was beaten up by badger baiter's. In November 1987, Seth finally let on about his birthday, saying it was coming up. Alan wanted to find out how old Seth was by viewing the staff records. The records did not state Seth's age. Seth said even he was unsure as he thought his birth was not registered. Seth was later to say he was born in 1926.
In August 1989 a fox was bothering Beckindale; Seth and Jackie went into the woods to shoot it but when Jackie found the fox he accidentally shot himself. Seth was devastated and felt it should have been him who died.
An amusing postscript occurred in 1991, when Alan Turner and Henry Wilks read Amos Brearly's diaries and discovered that Seth was, in fact, an illegal descendant of the Verney family. But any possible claims to ownership of Home Farm had been obscured by NY's purchase and subsequent of the property to Frank Tate. Seth joked that he should to use his officially title Esquire of Beckindale and to use a double-barreled surname Armstrong-Verney. This information was later discovered to have been an April Fool's prank by Seth.
In February 1993 Meg died and Seth's neighbours helped him out with the house work to help him overcome his grief. More trouble arose for him in December when his house was destroyed due to the Emmerdale plane crash. Alan feared Seth had been killed as he had thrown him out of the Woolpack just before the crash happened however he turned up fine. Things looked up for the widower in 1994 when he met old flame from the war, Betty Eagleton, who had also recently being widowed. They planned to marry but eventually just decided to live together and made their relationship official in December 1994 with a 40s-themed night, moving into keepers cottage together a year later. Seth was also claimed a hero that year after accidentally shooting "the beast of Beckindale". In February 1996, Seth was attacked by poachers, one of them was Jed Connell. Later on, Seth and Nick caught Jed poaching.
Seth was also good friends with Kim Tate, and tried to unsuccessfully defend her in January 1997 when her lover Dave Glover had died and the village had turned on her for her affair with Dave. He later gave her away when she married Steve Marchant in 1998. Seth went to visit his sister in Worthing that year. In October 1998 after The Woolpack was burnt down Seth was chosen to officially reopen it and proudly did and got his own seat at the pub. In May 1999, Seth helped villagers out with his local knowledge when they searched for Rachel Hughes. Sadly, Rachel was found dead. In late 1999, Betty's old boyfriend Reggie Wilkie turned up and tried to blackmail her. Seth banished Reggie from the village.
In March 2000 Seth was caught up in the bus crash and Betty feared he had been killed. However he was found alive and recovered in hospital. Things got worse for Seth in September when he won money on the horses but was later mugged by 2 young girls Mel and Julie, and briefly developed agoraphobia however the villagers helped bring him out of it. Ollie Reynolds knew the 2 girls who mugged Seth and they were arrested by her mother Angie Reynolds. Later that year he celebrated his 74th birthday which the village had thought was his 75th and threw him a party in The Woolpack, however he decided not to tell them.
Seth got a computer in 2002 and had a webcam set up for him by Robert Sugden which Seth used to show the village Betty's daily routine in the house getting himself free breakfasts at Cafe Hope in return. When friend Edna Birch told Betty what he was doing she was heartbroken and left Seth telling him via webcam however Seth apologised publicly and they reunited. Seth and Betty were separated again in December 2002 when Betty went to visit Kathy Brookman in Australia who had recently given birth. She returned in March 2003 full of joys of how great Australia was. Seth was worried she may move there but she assured him she'd never leave Emmerdale.
In September 2003 Seth went on an extended holiday to Australia to visit Kathy and never returned to Emmerdale. Betty was upset when he failed to return to the village for Christmas but he made up for it by booking her a flight to come and visit him in Australia. Seth made two final cameo appearances in 2004: the first in the form of a telephone message left on Betty's answering machine and finally on the Internet, as seen on a laptop in The Woolpack that Christmas Eve.
Seth died aged 78 on the plane flying home to Britain from Australia on the 30th October 2005. Kathy Brookman returned for the funeral and told Betty that Seth had been ill for a while and knew he was going to die and had wanted to return home to do so.
A wake was held in his honour in The Woolpack. His funeral was conducted shortly afterwards on the 4th November 2005, but his body in the coffin was later smuggled to the woods and buried there illegally. A replica coffin was placed in the cemetery grave and no one apart from Betty, Laurel Thomas, Zak Dingle and Sam Dingle knew the truth. In July 2010 Betty was concerned that Seth's body had been discovered when an unrelated body Mark Wylde was discovered. She confessed all to Alan Turner. He promised to keep it a secret.
Seth Armstrong would never ever be forgotten.
In 2009, Seth was compared to Jack Sugden as both being countrymen through and through. As he was buried in the woodland, word spread round that he was buried there.
Seth's remains were buried illegally in the woods of Emmerdale, in a storyline that would be briefly revisited in July 2010 after the discovery of an unrelated body in the same woods, Mark Wylde.
In 2013, Megan Macey said she heard about an old poacher being buried in the woods. That year, Sean Spencer found Seth's hide. But the hapless Sean accidentally burned the hut down. Sandy Thomas, who had never met Seth, had heard of him and referred to it as "The late Seth Armstrong's hide".
In May 2015, Betty decided to emigrate to Australia.
- Seth believed got dizzy spells just like his mother did.
- Seth was initially introduced as a recurring character, however in 1980 he was brought on permanently.
- In November 1987, Seth said his birthday was on the 22nd. But later dialogue says his birthday was 12th November.
- Following his break from the role in 2003 and 2004, Richards was keen to reprise his role, but on 11th February 2005 he died of emphysema and several months later, out of respect for the actor, an off-screen death for the character was included in the storyline.
"Foreigner" - First line, to a Scouse boilerman.
"George Michael, is he the little guy who works for water board" - in answer to Nick and Archie talking about the singer and Wham.
"All this fuss over a Russian bird who cannot tell the difference between Beckindale and Moscow. Anyone would think he is carrying nuclear bombs." - to Amos and Henry and several bird watchers, who are standing out for hours hoping to see a Siberian Thrush.