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 the SARACEN'S HEAD INN, Shirley, aforesaid, on TUESDAY, the 24th day of October, 1865, at Five o'clock in the Afternoon, in one or more Lots as may be agreed upon, and subject to conditions to be then read;
ALL that commodious and well-built MESSUAGE or DWELLING-HOUSE, with the spacious Yard, Garden, large Orchard, and Outbuildings, situate in the centre of the Village of Shirley, together with all those THREE CLOSES of excellent LAND, lying together 'and adjoining the said messuage. The Estate contains altogether about 11A. 2n. Sr., and is bounded on the North and West by the estate of Francis Wright, Esquires on the East by the road leading from Shirley to Derby, and on the South by properties belonging to Mr. Jackson, and Mr. Yeomans. It is pleasantly situated, is approached by good roads, and is well adapted for the residence of a private family.
Immediate possession may be bad. Part of the purchase money may remain on security.
Mr. Samuel Atkins, the tenant, will show the Property, and further information may be obtained on application at the Office of Messrs. TOMLINSON and SON, Solicitors, Ashborne.
Ashborne, October 4, 1865.

"Advertisements & Notices." Derby Mercury 11 Oct. 1865. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 4 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3200036425

Derby Mercury, Oct 18, 1865

BOURNE. —Smethwick, December 13, John Thomas, aged 74, after a long and painful illness, second son of the late Thomas and Hannah Bourne, Derby, formerly Shirley, Brailsford, Derbyshire.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Daily Telegraph - Thursday 15 December 1932

[Before R. H. G. Gladwin, C. B. Kingdon, H. C. Okeover, G. M. Dixon, and C. W. Jervis Smith, Esqrs.]
EXTRAORDINARY ASSAULT.— Mr. William Dakin, of Shirley Park Farm, charged Thomas Tunnicliff and Alfred Tunnycliff with assaulting him, on Monday, November 24th.— Complainant said: I and my man were getting up some potatoes in a field, when these men came by, along a road through the fields from Shirley to Osmaston, by the wood side. They shouted, and asked whether I would give them a potato or two to roast? They were going toward Osmaston and one was dressed as a sweep. I gave them four big ones out of the cart. Thomas Tunnycliff put them into his pocket. They went a little further on and commenced throwing stones at us, and we then started home. The stones fell about us and in the cart. The men turned back and followed us. I had potato fork with steel prongs in my hand, and Thomas took hold of it and hit me on the nose with his fist, making it bleed very much, taking the form off me, which he wilfully damaged. They both used fearful language. I ran away to avoid further violence. I did not strike either of them in return. The men were not satisfied with the potatoes I gave them.— George Henry Gould, servant to Mr. Dakin, corroborated his master's evidence, and said of one of the defendants pushed or struck witness as he was attending to the horse and cart.— The Chairman, Capt. Gladwin, said that the defendants were guilty of an unprovoked and serious assault, and they would be fined 2l. each with 17s. costs in each case; or a month, with hard labour in default of payment. The men were removed in custody.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Mercury - 17 December 1884