Shirley, Derbyshire

All information on this and any subsequent pages about Shirley have been kindly prepared and provided by of Shirley


Shirley Village History Book


2nd Edition 2000

Copies of this book are available at 2.50 each plus packing and postage from either of three Shirley Committees of your choice, details of whom are listed below. (Books can be mailed world wide - approx. US $ 8.5 inclusive)

Please note. All proceeds from the book are to go towards the respective objectives of each committee for the benefit of the community of Shirley Parish.
Sales contacts:

  • Shirley Sports and Social Committee- Treasurer Mr. K. Alsop
    Email -
  • Shirley Parish Council- Treasurer Mr . A. Baker
    Email -
  • Shirley St. Michael's Church P.C.C. Treasurer Miss A. Redshaw.
    Email-

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Shirley is approximately four miles SSE of Ashbourne and lies one mile to the west of the A52 between Brailsford and Osmaston.


An early settlement dating back at least to Saxon times, Shirley being, it is thought, taken from the Saxon word - Sirelea - meaning 'clear place or pasture'. At the time of the Domesday survey 1079-86 Henry de Ferrars was overlord of a Saxon Thane called Sewallis who was Lord of The Manors of Etwall, Hatton and Hoon in Derbyshire and the Manor of Eatington in Warwickshire, his main and ancient family seat. Sewallis family later took the name 'de Shirley'. Sewallis' son Fulcher was the first to hold Shirley. At this time Sirelea (Shirley) was a small Derbyshire hamlet described in The Domesday Survey as follows - 2 ploughs, 6 villagers and 7 smallholders with 3 ploughs, a Priest and a church, and l mill.


The Shirley family played an important role as military men of some distinction. One of their ancestors Sewallis de Shirley accompanied William Earl Ferrars under King Richard 1st. on the third crusade to the Holy Land.

Another, Sir Ralph Shirley was one of Henry V's commanders at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. In 1423 Sir Ralph's son also Ralph, married Margaret the sister and sole heir of Thomas Staunton. They inherited the manor of Staunton Harold in Leicestershire which became the chief seat of the Shirley's. By 1611 a descendant, Sir George, became a Baronet. Sir George's great-grandson was made Lord Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth in 1711. The Shirley family have given hundreds of years of service to Church and State, and still play a vital role in fund raising etc. for the church.

Popular belief suggests that Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night in Shirley as his army passed close by on their march to Derby during 1745, they got as far as Swarkestone, but as far as I am aware, no further.


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