Pedigree of the Shirleys of West Grinstead,
Sussex Co. England
The manor of West Grinstead, the crown manor, was granted
to Thomas West, Lord de la Warr on the accession of Henry VII
and retained for only 3 years. Before the year 1504 the manor
had passed to Sir Henry Roos who bequesthed it to his wife Matilda.
After her death in 1511, the manor devolved to his grandchild,
Elizabeth, daughter of Marmaduke Gorges, then wife of Thomas
Ralph Shirley of Ettington Warwickshire and 2nd wife Eliz.
Blount were the parents of Ralph Shirley m. Jane Bellingham,
parents of Thomas who d. 1545.
1. Thomas Shirley
d. Jan 30, 1545 (He was the founder of the Shirleys of
West Grinstead, Sussex Co).
1557 PCC Will of Thomas Sherley of West Grinstead Esq .
Henry the 8th 26. to church of West Grenstead, to church of Weston,
church of Horsington, church of Lansing, church of Burton, church
of Asshehurst, church of Shepley, church of Northurste, to son
William lands in Slaugham called Slutt and lands bought of cosyn
Bellows when 21. If 30 and no issue then to son Francis when
he is 21, to son Francis place of Grenestead, to William at 24
farm of Bodington, to Isabell St John, to my daughter Dorthe
to her marriage, to daughter Blanche to her marriage, to John
my ladd, my brother Lyster, brother Bray, and son Browne overseers.
With codicil. Wit: Mr. Henry Browne esq. Mr. Francis Sherley
gent, John Fletcher Clarke, Thomas psnne of Slaugham, Thomas
Peper with others (see
full transcript of will)
1544 - Thomas Shirley esq of West Grinsted Sussex. Died
28 Apr 1544. Son Francis Shirley esq age 21 and more- Sussex
Post Mortem Inquisitions 1485-1649
m. Elizabeth Gorges (dau of Marmaduke Gorges alias
Russell of Horsington, South Cheriton and Hatherley in the parish
of Maperton, Somerset Co). Her sister, Matilda, married Edward
Ludlow, Esq. She died about 1573.
6 Nov 1573 Eliz Shirley West Grin Co Suss widow , to son
Francis Shirley d.b.n.a. by William Shirley admor., also dec.
"Nulla bona" declared - Estate Administrations from
2.i Francis Shirley b about 1523 d. 20 March 1577/8.
Buried 24 March 1577 West Grinstead Sussex. inherited the
manor of West Grinstead in 1549. [See full Post Mortem
Inq record at the bottom of this page]
Francis Shirley was son of Sir Thomas Shirley of West Grinstead
(second son of Ralph Shirley, of Wiston, who died 1545), by his
wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Marmaduko Georges alias
Russell, of Gloucestershire. The Manor of West Grinstead was
granted to him in 1549 on the attainder of Thomas. Seymour, Baron
Seymour of Sudley, to whom it had been granted in fee farm in
the first year of Edward VI. He was Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex
in 1574. Little else has been preserved concerning him, but it
appears in Edward the VI.'s reign he had a difficulty with Lord
la Warre concerning certain land called Estcourt, said to be
parcel of the Manor of Kneppe, but really belonging io West Grinstead.
In the reign of Elizabeth we find him Lessee of the " Chappil
House or Seller " on the south side of Bramber Bridge, with
the land adjoining, granted to him by the College of St. Mary
Magdalene at Oxford, for a term of 50 years.
Francis Shirley died March 1577/8, seized of Boddington, Howe
Court, and West Grinstead in Sussex, and of Hatherley in Somerset
; and left a son, Thomas, then 22 years of age. He was buried
at West Grinstead, 24th March, 1577, by the side of his wife,
Barbara, who pre-deceased him and was buried 28th February, 1563,
both burials being recorded in the Registers. (Stemmata Shirlieana)
1578 - Francis Shirley esq. Died 20 Mar 1578. Heir son
Thomas esq age 21 and more- Sussex Post Mortem Inquisitions 1485-1649
married Barbara Blount she was buried 28 Feb 1563 at
West Grinstead Sussex
3.i Thomas Shirley born 1555 d. 1606; an extreme Calvanist;
the indebted Thomas Shirley of West Grinstead who, a strong puritan,
died in debt in 1606 yet willed a bequest to help deprived clergy
Inherited the manor of West Grinstead
1606 PCC Will of Thomas Sherly of West Grinstead, Sussex,
esquire - 12 May 1606 - to be buried in my chancell in the church
of West Grinstead next unto the place where my father hath. I
give and bequeath unto Cisily Sherly my daughter. bequeath unto
Barbary Sherly my youngest daughter my farme unto of late in
the occupation of John Spatchurk. Unto my aunt Blanche Newman
40 shillings per year. My cousin Elizabeth Baker. Two daughters
executors. Overseer my uncle Richard Blunt esq of Deadsene in
Sussex and my cosen Anthony Sherly esq of Preston in Sussex.
1607 PCC Sentence of Thomas Shirley of West Grinstead,
Sussex. - Cecilia Snellinge als Sherley wife of George Snelling
daughter adn exutrix of Thomas Sherley. [Challenged by] Phillippa
Sherley relict of Thomas Sherley deceased, Richard Sherley brother,
and Elizabeth Wiborne als Sherley sister and Richard Blunt. Executrixes
of the will were Cecile Snelling als Sherley and Barbara Sherley.
John Amye, Thomas Talbott, Thomas Edwarde, Blanche Jesoppe, Legnn
Decrexibe, Johnanna Burroughe, Edward Saye, Jacob Jrland and
William Milbunrye notary.16 May 1607 PROB 11/109
1606 - Thomas Shirley esq of West Grinstead. Inquest dated
31 Aug 1606. Died 20 May last. Coheirs Cecily and Barbara - Sussex
Post Mortem Inquisitions 1485-1649
m 1) Elizabeth_______ buried 4 Sept 1582 at West Grinstead
m 2) Phillipe Caryle - mentioned in the 1607 will sentence
of husband Thomas Shirley. She was buried 15 June 1614 at West
4.i Cecily Shirley - mentioned in the 1607 will sentence
of father Thomas Shirley; she was buried 2 Nov 1628 at West Grinstead
Sussex. co-heir the manor of West Grinstead
married 1) Sir George Snelling at St Helen's Bishopgate 12
July 1606. He was buried at West Grinstead 16 Apr 1617.
At the death of Thomas Shirley in 1606 the manor passed to
his daughters and coheirs Cecily, wife of Sir George Snelling,
and Barbara. Cecily had apparently acquired her sister's interest
by 1612, and after Sir George's death in 1617 the manor passed
to his son and heir Shirley, who still had an interest in it
in 1637. By the following year it had passed to the Caryll family,
since the manorial chapel in West Grinstead church was said in
that year to belong to 'the old lady Caryll', evidently Margaret,
widow of Sir Thomas Caryll of Bentons in Shipley.
5.i Shirley Snelling bapt 7 Apr 1607 West Grinstead Sussex;
5.ii Phillipa Snelling married Sir John Culpeper of Wigsale
married 2) William Blunt.
4.ii Barbara Shirley - mentioned in the 1607 will sentence
of father Thomas Shirley; co-heir the manor of West Grinstead
married 1) Sir Thomas Thornhurst
married 2) Anthony St Leger
3.ii Richard Shirley bapt 1 Sept 1558 West Grinstead,
Sussex. died young (before 1564)
3.iii Francis Shirley b______buried at West Grinstead
March 24, 1559
3.iv William Shirley b______buried at West Grinstead
April 11, 1568
3.v Richard Shirley, gent. b______ mentioned in the
1607 will sentence of brother Thomas Shirley. Buried 28 Feb 1614
at West Grinstead Sussex. (any children?)
married Catherine Bell a widow of Old Shorham in 1595. Her
will was probated 1631.
1595 Aug. 2 Richard SHERLEY of Westgrinsted, gent., &
Catherine BELL of Old Shorham, widow : sureties, said R. S. and
Richard Scisson of Shorham, clerk. - Bishop of Chichester, Archdeaconry
of Lewis, Sussex Marriage Licenses
1631 Shurley, Katherine of Old Shorham wid 11 Sep 1631,
Oct 8 1631 155-103 - Sussex Archdeconry Wills at Lewis
3.vi Elizabeth Shirley - mentioned in the 1607 will
sentence of brother Thomas Shirley
3.vii Phillipa Shirley - bapt 31 Jan 1591 West Grinstead
Sussex (P.R. says "son of Francis Shirley")
2.ii William Shirley b. _____ - mentioned in 1557 will
of father Thomas Shirley; apparently dead before 1573 since he
was replaced as the administrator of his mother Elizabeth's estate.
[no date] William Sherley of Westgrnested in County of Sussex
vs Frances Sherley of same [estate dispute] of father Thomas
Sherley, named wife and mother Elizabeth Sherley executrix in
Will. Asks for depositions from Frances Sherley, John Grabett,
Wm Marston, Stephen Camp, John Gachmonk and Thomas Mathews. [this
is an original document at the PRO] - Chancery Records at the
2.iii Mabel Shirley (listed as Isabell in Sussex Visitation)
2.iv Eleanor Shirley,
married 1) Henry Browne (his 3rd wife), eldest son of Sir
Mathew Browne, Knt. of Betchworth Castle, in Surrey. He died
3.i Richard Browne
3.ii Roger Browne
3.iii Alexander Browne
3.iv Jasper Browne
3.v Katherine Browne
3.vi Elizabeth Browne
married 2) William Sackville, sewer of the chamber
2.v Elizabeth Shirley
2.vi Dorothy Shirley - bapt 5 July 1561 West Grinstead
Sussex; mentioned in 1557 will of father Thomas Shirley; not
named in Sussex Visitation
2.vii Blanche Shirley- mentioned in 1557 will of father
Thomas Shirley. Mentioned in 1606 will of brother Thomas Shirley;
not named in Sussex Visitation
2.viii Joane Shirley - listed in Sussex Visitation
POST MORTEM INQUISITION
Francis Sherley, esquire.
Died; 24 March, 20th Elizabeth
(1578). Son and heir; Thomas Sherley esq.; age, 21 and upwards.
Inq : at Lewes. 9 September 20th
Jurors; John Tuppyn John Frend
Richard Colvell Richard Ersey John Smyth of Mousecombe Thomas
Amoore Richard Cooke Thomas Maynarde, John Holter Peter Crane
Paul Cheale Henry Hawle John Ampleford John Inkersall.
Francis Sherley was seised t>f
the manor of Bodington in Wyston ; and of a messuage and certain
lands and tenements called Courtlandes containing 70 acres of
land in Westgrensted ; and of certain lands and tenements in
Westgrensted called Paynes Feyldes containing 26 acres ; and
of a tenement containing 40 acres of land called Tucknames in
Westgrensted; and of a capital messuage and 4 other messuages
4 woods 1 water-mill 2 pigeon-houses 500 acres of land 100 acres
of meadow 500 acres of pasture 200 acres of wood and 100 acres
of heath and brushwood called Westgrensted House the Parke Whytfeyld
Spoles Feyldes Pypers Scoriers Herlandfeyldes Herland meades
Fales Fales meades Hosecroftes Fullers Poyntelles Bokers Westlandes
Lewkenors and Porters; and of a messuage and a garden in Horseham;
and of 2 messuages 2 gardens 1 croft containing 15£ acres
of land in Launcynge; and of a burgage in Steynynge; and of the
manor of Hatherley 2 tofts 300 acres of land 100 acres of meadow
200 acres of pasture in Maberton in Somerset.
The manor of Bodington is held
of Queen in chief by service of the sixteenth part of a knight's
fee ; and is worth £6. 13. 4. Courtlandes and Paynes Feyldes
are held of the Queen in chief by service of the fiftieth part
of a knight's fee; and are worth 36s. 8d. Tucknams is held of
the Queen in chief by service of the hundredth part of a knight's
fee ; and is worth 8s. A part of the messuages &c in Westgrinsted
is held of Philip Earl of Surrey as of his Honor of Bramber by
fealty and by what other services they do not know; another part
is held of William West, knight, Lord La Warre as of his manor
of Somptinge Welde by fealty and by what other services they
do not know ; and the remainder is held of Thomas Browne, knight,
as of his manor of Chauncketon by fealty and by what other services
they do not know; and the whole is worth £10. The messuage
in Horseham is held of the Queen as of her manor of Westgrenewyche
in free socage and not in chief by fealty only; and is worth
6s. 8d. The 2 messuages &c in Launcynge are held of the Queen
as of her manor of Howcourt in free socage and not in chief by
fealty and by what other services they do not know ; and are
worth 16s. 8d. The burgage in Steynynge is held of Philip Earl
of Surrey as of his borough of Steynynge in free burgage by fealty
and by what other services they do not know ; and is worth 6s.
8d. The manor of Hatherley is held of the Queen by service of
the sixth part of a knight's fee ; and is worth £6. 13.
(C vol 183 No. 65; W. L vol 20,
SHIRLEY, Francis (c.1524-78), of West
Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons
1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Family and Education
b. c.1524, 1st s. of Thomas Shirley
of West Grinstead by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Marmaduke Gorges
alias Russell of Gloucester, Glos. m. by 1555, Barbara, da. of
Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxon. and Dedisham, Suss.,
2s. inc. Thomas 2da. suc. fa. 28 Apr. 1544.1
Collector of customs, Southampton,
Hants in 1553-4; j.p. Suss. 1564-d.; sheriff, Surr. and Suss.
According to the inquisition
taken on his fathers lands in January 1545 Francis Shirley
was then of age, yet in May 1546 it was as a minor in the
Kings hands that he was granted custody of Buddington
manor in Wiston, Sussex, and his own wardship and marriage. In
view of his mothers suppression of his fathers will
his age may have been misrepresented in 1545 in an effort to
safeguard his interest. When she died in August 1557 Francis
Shirley was a prisoner in the Fleet for a debt to the crown of
£507 shared by Henry Carey, James Hardwick of Derbyshire,
and Henry Peckham but he had instructed his wife and servants
to enter the West Grinstead house and lands, which his mother
had retained; they did so, and his wife sold some plate to maintain
the household. His brother William Shirley, as administrator
of their mothers estate, then took the dispute to Chancery
and at the same time sued the constable of West Grinstead and
two of Francis Shirleys servants in the Star Chamber for
theft and violence, but Francis Shirley was to remain in possession
of West Grinstead for the rest of his life. Among his other conflicts
was one with the 9th Lord la Warr in 1552 over the title to East
Court, a house in West Grinstead, which Shirley defended by force
at the cost of a reprimand from the Council but which (Sir) Richard
Sackville II as official arbitrator awarded to la Warr. Shirleys
conduct in this episode and his attempt to evict a Steyning merchant
from 50 acres of land in Wiston may exemplify a disposition to
lawlessness which could account for his exclusion from county
administration until after the accession of Elizabeth.3
If la Warr had not died in 1554
Shirley would scarcely have been returned to the Parliament of
the following year, for both the Shoreham seats in that of April
1554, the last to be summoned before la Warrs death, had
gone to his nominees. Although Shirleys father had held
property in the borough and his own lands at Wiston were not
far away, Shirley was himself almost certainly a nominee, his
name and Thomas Hogans being inserted on the indenture
probably in the same hand. With the 3rd Duke of Norfolk in his
grave and his grandson a minor, the patron is hard to identify,
but the dead dukes follower John Covert was sheriff and
his brother George Covert had been a servant of la Warr. La Warrs
nephew William West, who was claiming the title, was another
possible patron; Shirleys father-in-law Sir Richard Blount,
who had sat for Steyning in March 1553 but was out of favour
under Mary, is unlikely to have wielded any influence. It was
to be Shirleys only spell in the Commons and all that is
known of it is that he was not among the Members who voted against
one of the governments bills. He was, indeed, returned
for Bramber to Elizabeths first Parliament but on 26 Jan.
1559 (three days after the Parliament had met) that pretended
return was revoked by the town in a letter which announced
the election of Robert Buxton and Sir Henry Gates. It is more
likely that the patron, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, had changed
his mind than that there was an election contest.4
Before he died on 24 Mar. 1578
Shirley had attained the Sussex bench and served a term as sheriff.
His heir Thomas, aged 23, inherited the manor of Buddington,
the house at West Grinstead, lands in Horsham, Lancing and Steyning,
and a manor in Somerset. Shirley is not known to have left a
will, but in his own will of 1606 Thomas Shirley was to ask for
a monument to be raised to his parents and grandparents in West
Grinstead church, which appears not to have been done.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: R. J.W. Swales
1. Date of birth estimated from
age at fa.s i.p.m., C142/183/63, amended by LP Hen. VIII,
xxi. Suss. Arch. Colls. v. 11.
2. SP12/74, f. 106v.
3. C1/1355/39, 1471/21-25; E111/1/56; Suss. Rec. Soc. xvi. 91-93;
Barbican House, Lewes, Knole ms cal. Kn. 1/8; SP10/14/62; APC,
4. C219/24/162; Loseley Pk. Loseley letters, box I, no. 6.
5. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 131, 263; APC, viii. 350; Suss. Rec. Soc.
iii. 112; PCC 3 Hudleston.
SHIRLEY, Thomas (by 1489-1544), of West
Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons
1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Family and Education
b. by 1489, yr. s. of Ralph Shirley
of Wiston, and bro. of Sir Richard. m. Elizabeth, da. and coh.
of Marmaduke Gorges alias Russell of Gloucester, Glos., 2s. inc.
J.p. Suss. 1524-d.; commr. subsidy
1524, sewers 1534, tenths of spiritualities 1535; collector of
customs, Southampton by 1542-d.2
Thomas Shirley, who inherited
lands in Buckinghamshire as well as at Beeding and Broadwater
in Sussex, founded a branch of the family at West Grinstead.
In 1510 he acquired the wardship and marriage of Elizabeth and
Maud Gorges, and he afterwards married Elizabeth. Nine years
later he shared the wardship and marriage of Francis Dawtrey,
heir of Sir John Dawtrey, Shirleys predecessor in his customs
post. For the subsidy of 1524 he was assessed at £40 in
lands and £66 13s.4d. in goods.3
Shirleys Membership of
the Parliament of 1529 was doubtless the work of his elder brother
Sir Richard, whose home was not far from Steyning and who in
1529 obtained his own election as one of the knights for Sussex.
The names of both appear on a list compiled by Cromwell on the
back of a letter of December 1534 and thought to be of Members
connected, perhaps as a committee, with the treasons bill then
on its passage through Parliament. Shirley was probably re-elected
in 1536, in accordance with the Kings general request for
the return of the previous Members, and he may have been so again
in 1539, when the names of the Members for Steyning are lost.4
On 26 Oct. 1535 he and Thomas
Michell obtained a 60-year lease of lands belonging to Rusper
priory. Shortly before his death Shirley bought some former monastic
property in Grinstead, Shoreham, Steyning and Wiston. He made
his will on 21 Sept. 1534, some two weeks before the opening
of the seventh session of the Parliament of 1529. After several
small bequests to local churches, he provided for his wife, children,
kinsmen and servants and named his wife executrix and Sir Edward
Bray, his son Henry Browne and Richard Lister supervisors.
Almost ten years later, on 28 Apr. 1544, he added a codicil devising
his recently acquired property on his two sons and died the same
day. His widow suppressed the will and took all his goods (valued
at £600) into her hands. She also refused to honour his
debts, including one of £52 owed to John Michell II from
the profits taken of his lands during his minority. In August
1557 Elizabeth Shirley died intestate and William, her second
son, was appointed to administer his fathers will and his
mothers estate, itself valued at £200. Thus Thomas
Shirleys will was not proved until September 1557.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: R. J.W. Swales
1. Date of birth estimated
from first reference. Comber, Suss. Genealogies (Lewes), 260.
2. LP Hen. VIII, iv, v, vii, viii, xix; E122/209/3; Suss.
Rec. Soc. lvi. 59.
3. D. W. Davies, Elizabethans Errant, 1-3; Suss. Arch. Colls.
v. 10 seq.; LP Hen. VIII, i-iii; Suss. Rec. Soc. lvi. 59.
4. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v.
5. Ibid. x, xii, xvii; PCC 34 Wrastley; Suss. Rec. Soc. xvi.
91-92; C1/1142/84; 142/75/67.