The Shirley Village Archive

Located in the ceremonial county of Derbyshire, Shirley is 4½ miles SE by S from Ashbourne. The name comes from either Scyrle or Sirelea meaning a clear place or pasture.

The 14th century church dedicated to St. Michael had the north aisle and tower built in 1842 but the poorly constructed tower had to be rebuilt in 1861. A tympanum stone, embedded in a wall suggests an earlier building. In 2012 the south aisle was refurbished and can be used for community events.

Prior to the Norman conquest, Shirley was held by Sewallis but was granted to Henry de Ferrers by King William.

Sewallis's son Fulcher fitz Sewallis was the first to hold land at Shirley and his son, Sewallis de Shirley was the first to use the name Shirley. Between 1220 and 1254 the village was the principal seat of the Shirley family but by 1468 they had decamped to Staunton Harold.

Although inextricably linked, the Shirley village archive is about the village of Shirley rather than just the family. The Shirley Asscociation specialise in that.

The site attempts to record the history of the village: the people who lived here, their households and the buildings they lived in. Finally there's their grave.

There's a fair amount of supporting documentation both in the archive or linked to on the web. To see all the various categories, click the List link at the top of the page. You can also do keyword searches of the archive.

The archive is in its early stages with collecting information being the main, and dull, activity. Once done, I'll start linking it all together.

I can be reached at and I'm interested in any information you may have about the village. I don't do any commissioned research unless you have ridiculously large amounts of money to give me.

The site doesn't use cookies but I do record your IP address and the pages you visit and other non-personally identifiable information. It is held in the UK and not passed on to anyone else.

Latest News

At Spondon church, on Thursday last, by the Rev. A. A. Holden, vicar, Thomas, son of Mr. Goodall, innkeeper and farmer, of Shirley, to Charlotte, second daughter of Mr John Meakin, farmer of Spondon.

"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries." Derby Mercury 18 Apr. 1855. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. URL Gale Document Number: GALE|BA3200014043

Derby Mercury, April 18, 1855

J. TURNER has received instructions from Mr. Wm. Rix (in consequence of a portion of land being sold from the farm), to SELL by AUCTION, upon the above premises, at Shirley, on TUESDAY, the 2nd day of November next, the valuable LIVE FARMING STOCK, carriages, and farm produce. The produce to be taken off the premises.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Mercury - 20 October 1858

MARCUS LEMON (32), farm labourer, was indicted for setting fire to a stack of hay, the property of Philip John Lemon at Shirley.— The prisoner pleaded guilty.— Mr. Weightman, who prosecuted, stated that there had been a number of incendiary fires at Shirley during the past few years, and the prisoner appeared to have set fire to the present stacks for a drunken freak. The prosecutor was his own brother, and he had had a fire in his rickyard some time ago.— His lordship enquired whether there was any suspicion that the prisoner set fire to the stacks in order to assist his brother to get insurance money?— It was stated that the prosecutor had not claimed anything from the company, as the damage done was so slight.— His lordship, in passing sentence, said this was one of the most serious offences known to the law, and it did not lie in people's months to say that they did it as a drunken freak. The prisoner would be sentenced to five years penal servitude.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Daily Telegraph - 19 April 1883