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 house of Mr. Robert Goodall, the sign of the Saracen's Head, in Shirley, in the county of Derby, on Wednesday the 4th day of April next, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, in the following or such other lots as shall be agreed upon at the time of sale, and subject to conditions to be then produced;
LOT 1.— ALL that Messuage, Farm-house or Tenement, with the outbuildings, yard, garden, orchard and appurtenances to the same belonging ; and also three a Closes or parcels of rich meadow and pasture Land adjoining, called the Croft, the Holly Croft, and the Stubble, containing together about 10 Acres.
LOT 2.— Three Closes or parcels of Land called the Hill Stead Meadow, the Lawsuch, and the Lawsuch Meadow,. containing together about 8 Acres.
LOT 3.— Two Closes or parcels of Land called the Derby Pitts, containing together about 5 Acres.
LOT 4.— A Close of rich grazing Land called Withy Pitts, containing about 8 Acres.
LOT 5.— A piece of uninclosed Land in Shirley Nether field, containing about half an Acre.
The above Estate is situate at Shirley aforesaid, and is distant about four miles only from the Town of Ashborne, and nine miles from Derby, and is now in the possession of Mr. Thomas Strong, the owner, who will show the same.
For further particulars apply to Mr. Strong, or the Auctioneer, Shirley; or Mr. Fox, Attorney, Ashborne.
N.B. One half of the purchase money may, if required, remain on security of the respective lots ; or the purchaser may be accommodated with the whole on reasonable additional security.
Ashborne, 19th March, 1827.

"Advertisements & Notices." Derby Mercury 21 Mar. 1827. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 20 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3202741640 (subscription required)

Derby Mercury, March 21, 1827

Joseph Swindell, of Shirley, was charged with stealing three rails, belonging to Francis Porter, a farmer, of the same place.— The offence was proved by several witnesses and the defendant was fined 1l. and costs.

"District News." Derby Mercury 29 Mar. 1871. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 5 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3202758972

Derby Mercury, March 29, 1871

On Thursday last, at Scropton, by the Rev. J. W. Jones, Mr Joseph Skevington, of Shirley, to Miss Jane Hellaby, daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Hellaby, of Scropton, both in this county.

© British Newspaper Archive

Derby Mercury - 16 January 1839