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

INQUEST.— An inquest was held on Tuesday, the 27th inst., in the parish of Shirley, on the body of John Beck, a boy nine years old . Deceased was in the service of Mr. Copestake, of Shirley Old Park, farmer, and on Monday morning last, he and Mr. T. Copestake, we're bringing up a mare and her foal (about 10 weeks old), from grass. Mr. T. Copestake was riding on the mare, with the foal following her. Deceased was walking behind the foal, and as it was supposed playing with it, as he had been in the habit of doing, when the foal kicked him on the pit of the stomach, and he died almost immediately. Verdict, "Accidental death".

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 30 June 1848

And St. Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers.
Will be held at SHIRLEY VICARAGE, on
SATURDAY, OCT. 12th, 1918.
To be opened by Mrs FitzHerbert Wright, at 2 o'clock.
Open events. Entry forms, price 2s. 6d., obtainable from Rev. R. E. Coates, Shirley Vicarage.
Peg Driving.— 1st prize, £1 10s., given by Earl Ferrers; 2nd prize, £1; 3rd prize, 10s., given by R. Knowles, Esq., Ednaston.
Jumping.— 1st prize, £1 10s.; 2nd prize, £1; 3rd prize, 10s., given by Captain FitzHerbert Wright, M.P.
Turnouts.— 1st prize, £1 10s., given by Mr. Jos. Brown, Shirley Mill; 2nd prize, £1; 3rd prize, 10s., given by Mrs. Bourne, Shirley Hall.
Judges: Lady Price and Mrs. Stanton.
Competitions.— Bowling for a lamb, Draw for pig, Skittles for fowls, Lucky pots, Houp-la, Fish pond.
RATION Tea at 4 o'clock, 6d.
OSMASTON BAND will be in attendance.
Dancing in school, 6.30 to 10.30 p.m.
Gates open at 1.30 p.m. Admission, 1s.; after 4 p.m., 6d.
Contributions will be gladly accepted by the committee, or may be sent direct to the vicarage.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 4 October 1918

FOSTER.— On Sunday at the Ashbourne Maternity Hospital, to Gladys and Herbert Collins Foster, "The Plateau," Shirley, a son (Samuel John).

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Daily Telegraph - 9 June 1942