Robert Shirley b: Before 20
Oct 1650, 1st Earl Ferrers; christened 20 October 1650
died 25 December 1717 was an English peer and courtier.
Robert Shirley was the third son of Sir
Robert Shirley, 4th Baronet and his wife, Catherine. In 1669,
he inherited his baronetcy from his infant nephew and in 1677,
he was confirmed as Baron Ferrers of Chartley after the title
became abeyant on the death of his kinsman, Robert Devereux,
3rd Earl of Essex.
From 1682-85, Lord Ferrers was Master of the Horse to the
Queen consort, Catherine of Braganza and her Lord Steward from
1685 until her death in 1705. From 1685-86, he was Colonel of
The Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Foot, Lord Lieutenant
of Staffordshire from 1687-89 and was admitted to the Privy Council
In 1711, Lord Ferrers was created Earl Ferrers. On his death
six years later, his earldom passed to his second (but eldest
surviving) son, whilst his barony passed to his granddaughter,
Elizabeth, her father and elder brother having predeceased Lord
Ferrers in 1698 and 1714, respectively. source: Wikipedia
Married 1st: Elizabeth Washington b:
1656 daughter of Lawrence Washington; They lived at Garsdon
1. i. Hon. Laurence Shirley b: 26 Sept 1693; He died on
27 April 1743 at age 49. lived at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire,
Married: Anne Clarges daughter of Sir Walter Clarges, 1st
2. i. Laurence Shirley,
b. 18 Aug 1720, 4th Earl Ferrers; hanged May 5,
1760; was the last aristocrat hanged in England.
The 4th Earl Ferrers, descendant
of an ancient and noble family, was the eldest son of Hon. Laurence
Ferres, himself a younger son of the 1st Earl Ferrers-a descendant
of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. At the age of twenty,
he quit his estates and Oxford education, and during the time
he spent in Paris he plunged into every kind of excess. Ferrers
inherited his title from his insane uncle in 1745 and with it
estates in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire. He
resided, however, at Staunton Harold
Hall in northwest Leicestershire. In 1752, he married the
youngest daughter of Sir William Meredith. Ferrers was also a
cousin to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, the prominent Methodist
lady and supporter of George Whitefield, though he was not involved
in the Methodist revival. source: Wikipedia
2. ii.Vice-Admiral Sir
Washington Shirley b: 26 May 1722, 5th Earl
Ferrers; died October 1778; British Royal Navy officer,
peer, freemason and amateur astronomer.
was the second son of Hon. Laurence Shirley (himself the fourth
son of Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers) and his wife, Anne.
Circa 1738, he joined the Royal Navy and rose through the ranks
as a Second Lieutenant in 1741, First Lieutenant in 1746 and
Post-Captain soon after.
Two weeks after the execution of his brother, Laurence Shirley,
4th Earl of Ferrers in 1760, Shirley took his seat in the House
of Lords (as the new Earl Ferrers) and in 1763, George III granted
him the family estates, previously forfeit by his brother as
a felon (much to the surprise of Casanova, then visiting London)
and he began to transform the family seat of Staunton
Harold in Leicestershire. He was later promoted as a
Rear Admiral in 1771 and Vice-Admiral in 1775.
In 1761, Ferrers had been elected to the Royal Society for
his work on the observations of the transit of Venus. He died
in 1778 at Chartley Manor Place, Staffordshire and was buried
at Staunton Harold. As he had no children by his wife, Anne,
his title and estates passed to his younger brother, Robert.
2. iii. Robert Shirley b: 18 Jul 1723, 6th Earl
Ferrers; He died on 17 April 1787 at age 63.
married Catherine Cotton, daughter of Rowland Cotton, on 26
3.i Sir Robert Shirley, 7th Earl Ferrers b.
21 Sep 1756, He died on 2 May 1827 at age 70, without surviving
married, firstly, Elizabeth Prentise, daughter of John Prentise,
on 13 March 1778. He married, secondly, Elizabeth Mundy, daughter
of Wrightson Mundy, on 28 September 1799.
Children of 7th Earl Ferrers and Elizabeth Prentise:
4.i Hon. Robert Sewallis Shirley, Viscount Tamworth
b. 9 November 1778, He died on 6 June 1824 at age 45, without
married Hon. Sophia Caroline Curzon, daughter of Nathaniel
Curzon, 2nd Baron Scarsdale, on 5 August 1800.
Shirley, Duchess of Sforza,
born daughter of the Viscount Tamworth and a woman who later
married an innkeeper of Syston. Caroline inherited many of the
Shirley estates upon the death of the 7th Earl. She married the
Duke of Sforza in 1837.
3.ii Sir Washington Shirley, 8th Earl Ferrers b.
13 Nov 1760, He died on 2 October 1842 at age 81.
married, firstly, Frances Ward, daughter of Reverend William
Ward and Elizabeth Hawkes, on 24 July 1781. He married, secondly,
Sarah Davy, daughter of William Davy, on 29 September 1829.
4.i Hon. Robert William Shirley, Viscount Tamworth
was born on 24 August 1783. He died on 3 February 1830 at age
married Anne Weston, daughter of Richard Weston, on 12 December
1821 at Derbyshire, England.
5.i Rosamond Ann Myrtle Shirley b. 25 Sep 1818 at Brailsford,
Derbyshire, England, d. b 1881; She married Henry Hanbury-Tracy,
son of Charles Hanbury and Henretta Susanna Tracy, on 19 June
5.ii Sir Washington Sewallis Shirley, 9th Earl Ferrers
b. 3 Jan 1822, He died on 13 March 1859 at age 37
married Lady Augusta Annabella Chichester, daughter of Edward
Chichester, 4th Marquess of Donegall and Amelia Spread Deane
Grady, on 23 July 1844.
- 6.i Lady Augusta Amelia Shirley d. 10 Feb 1933 She
married Sir Archdale Robert Palmer, 4th Bt. on 19 August 1873
6.ii Sir Sewallis Edward Shirley, 10th Earl Ferrers
b. 24 Jan 1847, He graduated from Cambridge University, Cambridge,
Cambridgeshire, England, with a Master of Arts (M.A.).2 He was
invested as a Knight, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of
St. John of Jerusalem (K.St.J.). He held the office of Justice
of the Peace (J.P.) for Derbyshire. He died on 26 July 1912 at
age 65, without issue
married Lady Ina Maude Hedges-White, daughter of William Henry
Hare Hedges-White, 3rd Earl of Bantry and Jane Herbert, on 24
5.iii Lieutenant Robert William Devereux Shirley b. 14
Dec 1825, Gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the
87th Regiment. He died on 4 June 1849 at age 23, without issue.
2. iv. Rev. Walter Shirley b: 28 Sep 1726; He died
on 7 April 1786 at age 59
Walter Shirley was born at Staunton Harold in Leicestershire,
the grandson of Robert, first Earl Ferrers. He was first cousin
to the Countess of Huntingdon and brother to the notorious Earl
Ferrers, who was hanged at Tyburn in 1760 for murder. He was
educated at Oxford and after his ordination was presented to
the Irish living of Loughrea. Shirley was converted by Henry
Venn and exercised an evangelical ministry despite the opposition
of his bishop. Shirley played a major role in the controversy
of 1770 over the relationship of the Methodist Church to the
doctrines of Calvinism.Rev. Hon. Walter Shirley graduated from
University College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England,
with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.).1 He was the Rector at Loughrea,
County Galway, Ireland
Married: Henrietta Maria Phillips, dau of John Phillips esq.
3. i. John Shirley, died young
3. ii. Rev. Walter Shirley, b. 11 Oct 1768; died Apr 9
Reverend Walter Shirley of Trin. Coll. Dublin, B.A. Vicar
of Woodford, co. Northants. Rector
of Brailsford, co. Derby, 1847, and father of Dr. Shirley,
Bishop of Sodor and Man. He had considerable reputation both
as a preacher and scholar.He lived at Westpoint, County Mayo,
Married: Alicia Newenham, dau of Sir Edward Newenham, MP for
co. Dublin. She died Dec 1855 age 81 at Brailford.
4. i. Rev. Walter
Augustus Shirley, b. 30 May 1797, Bishop of Sodor and
Man; died 1847.
son of Rev Walter & Alicia Shirley, came from an Anglo-Irish
family, born 30 May 1797 at Westport. Ireland - his family fled
from there during the 1798 troubles after which they had a peripatetic
existance until they re-established a link with Earl Ferrers
with whom they were distantly related. He suppported Walter in
going to Winchester from which he won a scholarship to New College
and at the same time Lord Ferrers gave his father the living
of Shirley in Derbyshire. Married Maria Waddington in Paris in
1827 - his father resigned Shirley to Walter about this time.
Graduated from New College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire,
England, with a Master of Arts (M.A.). He held the office of
Prebendary of Lichfield. He held the office of Archdeacon of
Derby between 1841 and 1846.1 He graduated from New College,
Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, in 1846 with
a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). He held the office of Bishop of
Sodor and Man on 10 January 1847. Noted evangelical - however
only occupied See for a few months before his death at Bishopscourt,
during which time he is said to have gained the esteem of his
clergy and people - however his letters indicate some strong
criticism of clergy, island ways and Methodism.
Married Maria Waddington, dau of William Waddington, esq.
She died in 1854 age 55.
5. i. Rev. Walter Waddington Shirley, b. 24 July 1828,
Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University,
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. He graduated from Oxford University,
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, with a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.).1
He held the office of Canon of Christ Church.; He died on 20
November 1866 at age 38
married Philippa Frances Emilia Knight, daughter of Samuel
Knight, on 4 July 1855
- 6. i. Alice Shirley
6. ii. Mary Phillipa Shirley
6. iii. Walter Sewallis Shirley, b. 13 Oct 1859
6. iv. Walter Knight Shirley, b. 5 Jun 1864, 11th
Earl Ferrers; He died on 2 February 1937 at age 72.
- Walter Knight Shirley, 11th Earl Ferrers graduated from New
College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, with
a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). He was an architect.
married Mary Jane Moon, daughter of Robert Moon, on 9 July
- 7. i. Lady Margery Joan Shirley
7. ii. Lady Elizabeth Mary Shirley
7. iii. Robert Walter Shirley, born at 11 Cottesmore Gardens,
Kensington, London, on Saturday, 7 July 1894, bapt. at St. Mary
Abbott's, Kensington, , 12th Earl Ferrers He died
on 11 October 1954 at age 60
- Married: Hermione Justice, dau of A. Noel Morley
- 8. i. Robert Washington Shirley,
13th Earl Ferrers; born 8 June 1929
- British Conservative
politician and member of the House of Lords as one of the remaining
hereditary peers. He is one of the few people to serve in the
governments of five different Prime Ministers. Lord Ferrers was
the eldest child and only son of Robert Shirley, 12th Earl Ferrers
and succeeded to become 13th Earl Ferrers in 1954 on the death
of his father, and consequently was allowed to sit in the House
of Lords. He served as a House of Lords whip from 1962 until
1964 under both Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. When
the Conservatives were returned to power under Edward Heath,
he once again served as a House of Lords whip from 1971 to 1974,
then serving as a Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the beginning of 1974. When
the Conservatives were returned to power under Margaret Thatcher
in 1979, Lord Ferrers returned to MAFF, this time as a Minister
of State. He left office in 1983, and returned to the backbenches
in the Lords. In 1988 he returned to government service as a
Minister of State at the Home Office, and in 1994 moved to the
Department of Trade and Industry, where he remained until 1995,
when he became Minister for the Environment at the Department
of the Environment. Between 1979 and 1983, and again between
1988 and 1997, he served as Deputy Leader of the House of Lords.
With the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, Ferrers along
with almost all other hereditary peers lost his automatic right
to sit in the House of Lords. He was, however, elected as one
of the 90 elected hereditary peers to remain in the House of
Lords pending completion of House of Lords reform. He was made
a Privy Counsellor in 1982. The family country seat is in Ditchingham,
south Norfolk. Earl Ferrers is a Vice-President of the Royal
Stuart Society and Grand Prior (since 2007) of the Constitutional
Grand Priory of England and Wales of the Military and Hospitaller
Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. source: Wikipedia
8. ii. Lady Elizabeth Hermione Shirley
8. iii. Lady Jane Penelope Justice Shirley
7. iv. Hon. Andrew Shirley, b. 29 Dec 1900; He died on
20 June 1958 at age 57.
- Hon. Andrew Shirley was educated at Winchester College, Winchester,
Hampshire, England.1 He graduated from New College, Oxford University,
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, in 1922 with a Bachelor of Arts
(B.A.).in 1926 with a Master of Arts (M.A.). He was Assistant
Keeper of the Fine Art Department Oxford between 1925 and 1929
at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. He was manager
of the Times Book Club between 1939 and 1950
The Times, Saturday, Jun 21, 1958; pg. 8; Issue 54183; col
married Ethel Muriel Lewis, daughter of John Henry David Ellis
Lewis, on 30 April 1927.
6. v. Ralph Shirley, b. 30 Dec 1865 He died Dec 19
- Leading British pioneer in the publication of occult and
mystical literature. He was educated at Winchester and New College,
Oxford University. For more than three decades (1892-1925) he
was director of William Rider & Son, the foremost British
publishers of literature dealing with occultism, mysticism, New
Thought, astrology, psychical research, and related subjects.
Rider's authors included Éliphas Lévi, Arthur Edward
Waite, Hereward Carrington, and Franz Hartmann in addition to
many others who became legendary in the field. In 1905, Shirley
founded the Occult Review, which he edited for 21 years. It included
contributions from the leading occultists of the time and set
a high standard of both popular and scholarly occultism. Shirley
also became vice president of the International Institute for
Psychic Investigation, for whom he edited Ernesto Bozzano 's
important study Discarnate Influence in Human Life (1938).Shirley
had a special interest in astrology and had edited The Horoscope
(under the pseudonym Rollo Ireton). From 1943 to 1944 he was
chairman of the Spiritualist journal Light, but suffered from
failing health and was obliged to retire. He also published a
pamphlet The Angel Warriors at Mons (1915) reviewing the legends
that accumulated around Arthur Machen 's famous short story The
Bowmen. He died December 29, 1946.
5. ii. Alicia Maria Shirley
5.iii Professor John Shirley died age 38 1866.
The Times, Thursday, Nov 22, 1866; pg. 12; Issue 25662; col
4. ii. Henrietta Jane Shirley
3. iii. Frances Anne Shirley
3. iv. Henrietta Elianora Shirley
3. v. Ann Augusta Shirley
2. v. Mary Shirley
2. vi. Elizabeth Shirley
2. vii. Rear-Admiral
Thomas Shirley, b 6 Apr 1733
Rear-Admiral Hon. Thomas Shirley was born on 6 April 1733.
He died on 7 April 1814 at age 81, without issue. Thomas Shirley
gained the rank of Admiral in the service of the Royal Navy.
He lived at Horkstow Hall, Lincolnshire, England.
married, firstly, Mary Elsegood, daughter of W. Elsgood, on
30 March 1773.1 He married, secondly, Anne Hele, daughter of
Thomas Hele, on 6 November 1809.
2. viii. Ann Shirley
2. ix. John Shirley, died inf.
2. x. Jane Shirley
1.ii Washington Shirley b June 22, 1677 2nd Earl
married Mary Levinge, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge
2.i. Lady Elizabeth Shirley b 1704; died Aug 13 1731;
married Joseph Nightingale, esq.
2.ii Lady Selina Shirley, Countess
of Huntingdon born Aug 13 1707; died June 17 1791; married
Theophilus, Earl of Huntingdon
Selina Shirley married the Earl
of Huntingdon. After his death in 1741, Selina devoted her remaining
forty years to the establishment of the Methodist Church. Appointing
Rev. George Whitefield as one of her chaplains, she established
sixty-four meeting houses in England and provided seminaries
for the education of ministers to supply them. Up until her death
in London, Lady Huntingdon continued to exercise an active, and
even autocratic, superintendence over her chapels and chaplains.
She successfully petitioned George III about the gaiety of Archbishop
Cornwallis' establishment, and made a vigorous protest against
the anti-Calvinistic minutes of the Wesleyan Conference of 1770,
and against relaxing the terms of subscription of 1772. On the
Countess's death in 1791, her sixty-four chapels and the college
were bequeathed to four trustees. Amongst these was Dr. Ford,
and Lady Ann Agnes Erskine. Lady Ann was requested to occupy
and constantly reside in Lady Huntingdon's house, adjoining Spa
Fields Chapel, and to carry on all needful correspondence, which
was immense. She carried this on dutifully until her own death
in 1804, and burial at Bunhill Fields.
2.iii Lady Mary Shirley born Sep 25 1712; died April
12, 1784; married Thomas, Viscount Kilmorey.
1.iii Sir Henry Shirley, 3rd Earl Ferrers b.
14 Apr 1691, He died on 6 August 1745 at age 54, insane and unmarried
1.iv Hon. Robert Shirley b. 4 Sep 1673, He died on
25 February 1698/99 at age 25
married, firstly, Catherine Venables, daughter of Peter Venables.1
He married, secondly, Anne Ferrers, daughter of Sir Humphrey
Ferrers, on 27 September 1698.
Children of Robert Shirley and Anne Ferrers
2.i Elizabeth Shirley, Baroness Ferrers (of Chartley)
d. 13 Mar 1740/41; married James 5th Earl of Northampton
2.ii Robert Shirley, Viscount Tamworth - Member of Parliament
(see below) d. unmarried 5 Jul 1714
1.v Lady Barbara Shirley b Feb 5 1687 died Nov 7 1768
(died insane, lived in an asylum)
1.vi Hon. Ferrers Shirley b Apr 23 1689 died June 20 1707
1.vii Hon. Walter Shirley b May 27 1690 died inf.
1.viii Lady Elizabeth Shirley b Nov 25 1674 died Oct 10
1.ix Lady Katherine Shirley b May 31 1676 died Aug 18
1.x Lady Elizabeth Shirley b June 20 1678 died Mar 7 1740
1.xi Lady Anna Elianora Shirley b Nov 12 1679 died May
PCC Will PROB 11/810 - "...to Mrs Elinor Curzon diamond
ring, to neice Pigot to take care of my sister Lady Barbara Shirley
who has the misfortune to be bline; to my neice Digby daughter
to sister Cotes; to newphew Capt Washington Shirley my hosue
in Conduit St; to nephew Earl Ferrers diamond ring; nephew Mr
Robert Shirley furniture; to Mr Walter Shirley the living I got
of the Earl of Clanrickord; nephew James Cotes and Elinor Curzon
1.xii Lady Katherine Shirley b Feb 17 1680 died Sept 21
1.xiii Hon. Charles Shirley born Apr 9 died May 28 1682
1.xiv Lady Dorothy Shirley born May 25 1682 died Mar 24
1721; married John Cotes of Woodcote, esq.
1.xv Hon. Charles Shirley born June 21 1684 died Sept
1.xvi Hon. Lewis Shirley born July 13 1685 died 1710
1.xvii Hon. George Shirley born Oct 21 1686 died Nov 1694
SHIRLEY, Robert, Visct. Tamworth (1692-1714),
of Staunton Harold, Leics.
Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons
1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
1713 - 5 July 1714
Family and Education
b. 28 Dec. 1692, 1st s. of Hon. Robert Shirley (d.v.p.) of
Staunton Harold (1st s. of Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers)
by 2nd w. Anne (d. 1697), da. and h. of Sir Humphrey Ferrers
of Tamworth Castle, Staffs. unm. suc. fa. 25 Feb. 1699; styled
Visct. Tamworth from 1711.
Staunton Harold had been the Shirley family seat since the
15th century. On his mothers death in 1697, Shirley inherited
the estates of his maternal ancestors comprising Tamworth Castle
and other Staffordshire lands valued in 1688 at £2,000
p.a. At the age of seven he found himself heir apparent to his
grandfather, Lord Ferrers, who was for many years a principal
servant of Catherine of Braganza, formerly as master of horse
and latterly throughout her dowagerhood as steward of her household.
When Lord Ferrers was advanced to an earldom in 1711, Shirley
assumed the courtesy title of Viscount Tamworth.1
Tamworth naturally followed his grandfathers Tory lead
when, aged still only 20, he was put up as a county candidate
in January 1713, after Geoffrey Palmer* announced his intention
of standing down at the forthcoming election. He campaigned conscientiously
in August, at one point anxiously observing to one of his supporters,
Lord Guernsey (Hon. Heneage Finch I*), that there had been no
canvassing on his behalf in the vicinity of Guernseys estate,
politely supposing that either your lordships letter
to your steward miscarried, or that he misunderstood it.
As Sir George Beaumont, 4th Bt.*, later recalled, the threat
of opposition from the Whigs persisted for some time until Tamworth,
Sir Thomas Cave, 3rd Bt.*, and their well-wishers plyd
them with cash and the prospect of a poll quickly faded.2
In the new Parliament Tamworth was listed as a Tory. On 22
June he was teller in favour of agreeing with a supply resolution
to grant the Queen additional duties on exported coals and other
commodities for 32 years. A fortnight later he was carried to
the grave by smallpox, dying in the early hours of 5 July after
a weeks illness. In a notice of his death he was described
as a gentleman of excellent parts and very much lamented
by all who had the honour of knowing him. The Tamworth
estates devolved to his sister Elizabeth, who in 1716 married
Lord Compton (James*), heir to the earldom of Northampton. The
inscription on Tamworths tomb in the family chapel at Staunton
Harold includes a classic plaint to the unfulfilled promise of
In him religion with sweet temper joind
Prudence of thought with fortitude of mind.
In duty strict, just to the ties of blood,
In friendship firm, to all benignly good.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
1. Nichols, Leics. iii. 710, 715, 71819.
2. Northants. RO, Isham mss IC 1746, Justinian to Sir Justinian
Isham, 4th Bt.*, 20 Jan. 1713; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/55, Cave
to Ld. Fermanagh (John Verney*), 26 Jan. 1713; Devonshire mss
at Chatsworth House, Finch-Hatton pprs., Tamworth to Ld. Guernsey,
28 Aug. 1713; Leics. RO, Braye mss 23D57/2890, Beaumont to Cave,
3. Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 6 July 1714;
Isham mss IC 1799, Vere to (Sir) Justinian Isham (5th Bt.*),
10 July 1714; Nichols, 720.