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

ASSAULT AT SHIRLEY.— Thomas Wheeldon was summoned for assaulting Wm. Kniveton.— The parties are neighbours at Shirley, and have been on unfriendly terms. An altercation took place between them on the 13th inst. and the defendant struck Kniveton three blows on the head with a walking stick.— Fined 5s and costs.

"District News." Derby Mercury 26 Apr. 1882. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 12 May 2016. URL Gale Document Number: GALE|BA3202783748

Derby Mercury, April 26, 1882

Harris. —At the Royal Hotel, Madras, on the 14th of Nov. last, seventeen days after giving birth to a son who survives her, Alicia Mary, the wife of Claudius Harris, Esq., 8th Light Cavalry, and only daughter of the late Walter Augustus Shirley, D.D., Bishop of Sodor and Man, and of Shirley, Derbyshire, the 24th year of her age. Her early (and yet not premature) departure, after one year only of married life, will be most acutely felt not only by her surviving relatives in England, but also by an unusually wide circle of attached and loving friends, whom her peculiar sweetness of disposition, as well os her many admirable and uncommon mental qualties, had strongly endeared her. Her loss will also long be deplored among the poor of her own country parish, who all times found in her a charitable benefactress and friend. Sbe died, she had always lived, brightly shining example her sex, Christian woman of most Catholic and unsectarian mind, looking only unto Jesus, who was indeed the Finisher, as lie had already been the Author of her Faith.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 8 January 1858

JACKSON— On the. 17th inst., at Cubley, near Ashbourn, Ellen, second daughter of the late Samuel Jackson, of Shirley, aged 57 years.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 20 February 1863