The Shirley Village Archive

St Michael's Church (Building)

Possible 11th century origin with a 14th century chancel and south aisle with an arcade of octagonal piers.

The Parliamentary Commissioners of 1650, say "Shirley is a vicaridge really worth thirty pounds per annum. Mr. Henry Salte vicar insufficient & scandalous."

There was an outbreak of vandalism in 1677 and again in 1724 when graffiti was carved into a panel installed in 1649.

Around 1814 a Mr Meynell reported that the tower was then of very small dimensions, the upper half being constructed of wood. It was rebuilt in 1832. The porch is described as having an open timber-work front.

In 1842 a north aisle was added to the church and at the same time the church was refitted with an extra 107 seats added, the old porch removed, and the Norman semi-circular arch between the nave and chancel replaced with its pointed successor. The cost was £600 raised by subscription aided by grants.

The foundations of the tower were found to be so weak that it became necessary to take it down, and it was completely rebuilt in 1861.

The chancel was restored by the lay rector, Sir Andrew Walker at a personal cost of £1,000.

The organ was built in the 1870s by H. Hewitt, Leicester. It was enlarged to two manuals by Noble & Co of Derby in 1899. It was overhauled and tonal modifications made in 1997/8.

The need for major restoration work to the tower, roof, chancel, porch, internal walls, panelling, ceilings and structural timbers was identified in 1990. The village raised £150,000 and the work was complete by 1995.

In 2012 work was carried out to reduce the carbon footprint of the church by replacing the heating system with one using air sourced heat pumps. Solar pv panels were installed on the roof.

At the same time the pews and floor of the south aisle were removed revealing the remnants of a 14c alter. It has been covered with a glass panel and is still visible. The area can be used as a community space by the village.

Above the font is a large board Gifts left unto ye poor of Shirley and Yeaveley. There are two framed scrolls: Vicars of Shirley and European War Roll of Honour.

There are memorials to Elizabeth, Robert and Sarah Steeple; W A Shirley and his daughter Alicia Maria; Frederick Corfield; Honora Michell and others dotted around.

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