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

[Before Sir W. FITZ-HERBERT, Bart.]
F George Shaw, of Shirley, was charged by police-constable S Walton with being drunk and disorderly at Shirley, on the 8th inst. The defendant admitted the charge and was fined 5s. and costs.

Fras. Lowe and Saml. Seal, of Little Eaton, bricklayers, now working at Shirley, appeared upon bail, in answer to a charge of assaulting police-constable Walton on the night of the a 8th inst.-Constable Walton (who appeared in Court with a serious wound over his left eye and numerous contusions about his face), stated that on Monday night, the 5th inst., he found the prisoners making a disturbance, and violently kicking at the door of Mr. Hitchcock's house, in the village of Shirley. He requested them to desist, which they refused to do; he then tried to push them away; the prisoners then threw stones at him, one of which struck him over the eye, causing a deep wound from which the blood flowed freely; he succeeded in capturing Lowe, but the prisoner Seal was not apprehended until the next morning.-Seal, in defence, said that the constable asked him for his name, which he refused to give, upon which the constable knocked him down. Mr. WRIGHT asked the constable if this was true.-The constable said it was not; he had only struck the prisoner in self-defence.—Lowe was fined 2l. and costs, and Seal 1l. and his costs.

"DISTRICT POLICE NEWS." Derby Mercury 17 Oct. 1860. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. URL Gale Document Number: GALE|BA3200026107 (subscription required)

The foundation stone of the new church tower was laid in September 1860 and finished in July 1861. So they were probably working on that.

Derby Mercury, October 17, 1860

Samuel Atkin, beer-house keeper, of Shirley was summoned on the information of Superintendent Corbishley, for having his house open for the sale of beer after 10 o'clock on the night of the 8th Inst., and he called at Atkin's beer-house at ten o'clock, when Mrs. Atkin spoke to him through the bed-room window, and told the constable that all their company had left and that they were gone to bed. On this the constable on to went away, and re-visited the house at eleven o'clock and found two men in. Several glasses and a jug were on two different tables, the jug containing about one quart of ale.— Mr. Tomlinson, solicitor, appeared for the defendant, who was fined 40s. and costs.

"DISTRICT NEWS." Derby Mercury 30 Oct. 1861. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 20 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3200028338 (subscription required)

The Beerhouse Act of 1830 enabled anyone to brew and sell beer on payment of a licence costing two guineas.

Derby Mercury, October 30, 1861

I, the undersigned, George Hudson, of Shirley, in the county of Derby, labourer, hereby give notice, that from this date I shall not be responsible for the payment of any debts contracted by my daughter, ANN HUDSON, in her own or my name.— Shirley, October 11th, 1887.— (signed) GEORGE HUDSON.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 14 October 1887