Lineage of George Shirley of Astwell
(1550 - 1650)
George Shirley 1559 d. 1622
Astwell, Northampton Co. Buried in Breedon on the Hill.
Son of John Shirley of Rakedale Leicestershire and Jane Lovett.
This marriage brouht several manors to the Shirleys: Astwell
in the county of Northampton, South Newington (Newton), in the
county of Oxford, Dorington in the county of Gloucester, and
St. Botolph's Bridge in the county of Huntington.
He studied at Hart Hall (Later known as Hartford College),
in the University of Oxford in 1573. "By the advantage of
the most famous and learned tutors, he acquired a knowledge not
common of the Greek and Latin tongues, of philosophy, of history,
of politics, and other liberal sciences. After he had finished
his studies, he presented his service at Court, and undertook
the voyage of Holland in 1585 with Robert Earl of Leicester,
ever putting himself in those places most eminent for danger
He entered Gloucester Hall in 1587 and was of Grays Inn in
1602. In 1603 he served as sheriff of Northamptonshire at the
time, in company with many gallant men who conducted James the
First through that county to his coronation. In 1611, he was
created a Baronet. [Note: A William Bell came to London from
Worcester to study law. He shared chamber and bed with George
Shirley. Bell became a Roman Priest and was executed in 1643].
George Shirleys arms were taken away for 4 years as he was
suspected as being a Catholic, although he outwardly conformed
to the church of England. (If a Papists refused to come to church
on Sunday, they were liable to a penalty of 20 pounds for every
lunar month during which they absented themselves). He appears
to have died a Catholic. "His piety was so remarkable in
his large and bountiful alms, that he merited the glorious title
of father and nourisher of the poor, relieving during the great
dearth, 500 a day at his gates"
1st Frances Berkeley 1587, daughter of Henry Lord Berkeley (by
Catherine, daughter of Henry Earl of Surrey).
2nd Dorothy Wroughton (no children by George).
Dorothy appears to have a marriage contract when she married
George Shirley. First she doth require to reserve her own living
entire to herself, to bestow the commodities of it to her own
pleasure, without any controls; secondly, she doth demand a thousand
pounds yearly jointure; third, 500 pounds land to be tyed upon
her son, if by any good means there may be one gotten; fourthly,
if it so fall out that her husband and she should fall out, she
doth require 500__??, a year out of his living, and to live apart
from him with that added to her living of Farinton.
6. (i) George Shirley d. infant in his cradle
6. (ii) Henry Shirley (from above) 1588 d. 1633, of Staunton
Harold, Leicestershire. buried in Breedon on the Hill.
He had a large carved pew made for Breedon on the Hill.
His father gave him a noble education, an exact knowledge
of the liberal sciences, and from Oxford he was sent for the
bettering of his understanding and the gaining of languages,
with license of the King, to travel beyond the seas. With all
the qualities that complete a gentleman, he returned to his country
and addressed himself to Henry Prince of Wales, and was received
with honor. When Henry Prince of Wales died, it so devastated
him that he retired into the country to live a solitary life,
determining not to think of courtly pomp or glory.
Upon the persuasion of his honored father, he married Dorothy
Devereux, daughter of Robert Earl of Essex, the favorite of the
Queen, and sister of Robert the last Earl.
Immediately upon the death of his father, Sir Henry by indenture,
dated May 9, 1622, executed a strict entail of the family estates
in Shirley, Brailesford, Hone, Ednaston, Longford, Boobton, Hollington,
Yeveley, Rodisley, Wyaston, Borowes,Thurvaston, and Bradley (Derby
Co.), Silby and Ratcliff.
In 1628, Henry was a prisoner in the Fleet for scandalising
Earl of Huntingdon. In 1633 he was busy rebuilding the manor
house of Ragdale in Leicester Co., an estate inherited from the
Bassett family by marriage with the Shirleys.
Henry was also a Roman Catholic.
6. (iii) Sir Thomas Shirley 1590 d.1654 Lived St. Botolphs
Bridge, Huntington.(He was of St. Clements Inn).
6. (iv) John Shirley d. an infant