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Shirley, Walter Augustus

(30 May 1797 – 21 April 1847)

Vicar between 1828 and 1837.

He wasn't impressed with the church when he arrived: "At Shirley the church was disfigured by a half ruinous wooden tower, was green with damp, and darkened with cumbrous galleries, which were far from sufficient for the population, though they were more than abundant for the actual congregation. There was no school-room nor any day-school, except one kept by a dame who taught a few children in her own cottage;"

He was even less impressed by his flock: "There prevailed throughout the parish, as the natural accompaniment of this condition of the externals of religion, a low standard of morals, and one still lower, of cleanliness, order, and decency;"

Married Maria Waddington in Paris 1827. Had 37 acres of land at Shirley and received £153 17s. 6d. a year rent charge in lieu of tithes. Born in Westport Ireland.

In 1828 he moved into his new vicarage on Hall Lane.

In 1830 he set-up a clothing club and "fitted up a school-room" for a national school. He was planning to replace the wooden tower of the church with a stone one.

In a letter to his son, 12th Aug 1844, he reported that the school-room will soon be roofed-in and that Mr. Morley, of the brook had died four days after breaking his thigh in three places when the Longford to Ashbourne omnibus overturned.

A Fellow of New College, Oxford, he was tutor to a young Stafford Northcote who would stay at the vicarage and later become 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, Chancellor of the Exchequer and other high offices of state.