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

The annual dinner and dance of Shirley Football Club was held at Shirley Schoolroom on Saturday night. Arrangements were made by Mr. T. Taylor, the secretary, and members the club. Mr W. Ellis was M.C. for dancing. Entertainment was provided by the Rascals Concert Party.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Daily Telegraph - 7 November 1938

On Monday, at Shirley, in this county, Mr. Richard Webster, of Manchester, printer, to Miss Ann Ball,of the former place.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Mercury - 4 December 1817

On Monday last, at Shirley, an inquest was held before H. Mozley, Esq., on the body of William Greatorex, bricklayer, of that place. The deceased was a man of about 37 years of age, and appeared to have borne an excellent character as a workman and neighbour, but was unfortunately at times addicted to great intemperance. It appeared that he had received payment of few pounds on the previous Saturday for work he had lately completed; that he commenced on the Monday with drinking; that he had scarcely been out of a public-house, taking the round of the neighbouring villages, drinking at each of the public-houses, and finishing with that in his own parish on the Friday night. He was found on the following morning in the stable of the Saracen's Head, in Shirley, where it is supposed that he went to sleep for the night, but he was seized with a fit of apoplexy, and though he was not dead when found at 10 o'clock the next morning, so entirely had state of collapse taken place, that no human aid could restore The evidence of the medical man who was called to attend him and who was present at the inquest, with other witnesses, left no doubt that the poor man's death was caused by apoplexy brought on by a course of three or four days drinking. The jury returned a verdict of "Died in a fit of apoplexy." This is another of the melancholy effects of drinking which have occurred during a short period in the neighbourhood of Ashbourn.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Mercury - 8 January 1851