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

JOHN WILKINSON A SON have received instructions from Mrs. I. Mellor (who is leaving owing to the house being closed), to SELL by AUCTION, on the above Premises, on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27th. 1918, Surplus HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE and EFFECTS. Particulars see posters. Sale to commence at 2 o’clock.
Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 23 March 1918

PETTY SESSIONS, Saturday, April 21st.— [Before C B. Kingdon, H. C. Okeover, W. B. Badnall, J. Simpson, and A. Jervis Smith.]
Thos. Waring and Wm. Turner, labourers, of Ashbourne, were brought up and charged with stealing a watch, the property of Mr. Denzel Maskery of Shirley, on the 14th. April.— It appeared from the evidence of Maskery, who is not very bright in intellect, that he came to Ashbourne about three or four o'clock on the day in question and went to the Union Workhouse to see if there was a woman there who would suit him as a housekeeper. When he got to the gate he met the two prisoners coming away from the Workhouse. They said that if he would pay for a pint of beer they would go back with him, which they did. After they came out they went, as it afterwards transpired, to the Brittania Inn, Church Street, where they had some beer. He then stated that they all three left the house together, and that the prisoner told him he would see him safe home. They went up Derby Road together, and when last Osmaston Lane end they left him, but as they left he found one of them had taken his watch, value about 4s. 6d. He then turned back to Ashbourne and gave information to the police, but he would not do so now. May Turner was one of those men. There was a great difficulty getting evidence from him.— Police constable Turner stated from information received he went to Waring's house and found both prisoners there. He asked Waring for the watch, and he produced it, but stated that Turned knew nothing about it. He took them both to the lock-up, where Maskery stated that they were the two men that had been with him.— Turner was afterwards admitted to bail.— Waring now pleaded guilty, but said that Turned was innocent.— Turner now called several respectable witnesses.— Mr. J. Hawksworth, landlord of The Brittania, stated that he left the house before Maskery and Waring did, and that he saw him get into a conveyance for Mayfield when the robbery took place, several miles away.— The Magistrates said that Turner had perfectly proved his innocence, and Waring was sent to gaol for six weeks hard labour.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 27 April 1888

Induction of the New Vicar.— The newly appointed vicar (the Rev. R. E. Coates) was formally inducted on April 10th, to the benefice of Shirley, by the Ven. the Archdeacon of Derby (Dr. Noakes), a fair congregation be present to witness the proceedings. After the hymn "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire" had been sung, The Archdeacon explained to the congregation the meaning and origin of the ceremony, and afterwards read the mandate of induction. Then, following the quaint custom, which, as the Archdeacon explained, has been in vogue in England for centuries past, the vicar went outside the church door, and, after knocking, was admitted by the Archdeacon, who, placing the vicar's hand upon the handle of the door, formally put him in possession of the temporalities of the living. Accompanied by the Archdeacon and the churchwardens, the vicar then proceeded to the belfry, where he rang the bell. The communion table and other parts of the church were subsequently visited, the Archdeacon reading the prescribed injunction at each spot. The Archdeacon afterwards spoke a few words of earnest and helpful counsel to pastor and people, and the service was concluded by the singing of the hymn "Come, Gracious Spirit, Heavenly done" followed by the Benediction.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 19 April 1913