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  Lineage of the Earl Ferrers
Staunton Harold, Leicestershire
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14(ii). Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers chr 20 October 1650. He died 25 December 1717 was an English peer and courtier.They lived at Garsdon Manor, Wiltshire

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 1689.

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 1) Elizabeth Washington b: 1656 daughter of Lawrence Washington;

married 2) Selina Finch daughter of George Finch, of London esq.

children (by 1st wife Elizabeth Washington)

15(i). Hon. Robert Shirley born 4 Sep 1673, He died before the death of his father, the 1st Earl Ferrers on 25 February 1698/99 at age 25

married 1) Catherine Venables, daughter of Peter Venables.

married 2) Anne Ferrers on 27 September 1698, daughter of Sir Humphrey Ferrers.

children: (by Anne Ferrers)

16(i). Elizabeth Shirley, Baroness Ferrers (of Chartley) d. 13 Mar 1740/41; married James 5th Earl of Northampton

16(ii). Robert Shirley, Viscount Tamworth - Member of Parliament (see below) He died unmarried before the death of his grandfather, the 1st Earl Ferrers on 5 Jul 1714

15(ii). Lady Elizabeth Shirley born Nov 25 1674 died Oct 10 1677, age 3

15(iii). Lady Katherine Shirley b May 31 1676 died Aug 18 1679, age 3

15(iv). Washington Shirley, 2nd Earl Ferrers born June 22, 1677. The Earldom passed from his descendants to his brothers in failure of a male Shirley heir.

married Mary Levinge, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge


16(i). Lady Elizabeth Shirley b 1704; died Aug 13 1731; married Joseph Nightingale, esq.

16(ii). Lady Selina Shirley, Countess of Huntingdon born Aug 13 1707; died June 17 1791; married Theophilus, Earl of Huntingdon (more information)

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.

16(iii). Lady Mary Shirley born Sep 25 1712; died April 12, 1784; married Thomas, Viscount Kilmorey.

15(v). Lady Elizabeth Shirley b June 20 1678 died Mar 7 1740, age 62

15(vi). Lady Anna Elianora Shirley b Nov 12 1679 died May 18 1754, age 75

PCC Will PROB 11/810 - " 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 executor...."

15(vii). Lady Katherine Shirley b Feb 17 1680 died Sept 21 1736, age 56

15(viii). Hon. Charles Shirley born ?Apr 9 died May 28 1682, age 1 month

15(ix). Lady Dorothy Shirley born May 25 1682 died Mar 24 1721, age 39; married John Cotes of Woodcote, esq.

15(x). Hon. Charles Shirley born June 21 1684 died Sept 12 1685, age 1

15(xi). Hon. Lewis Shirley born July 13 1685 died on a voyage to China in 1710, age 25. His journal of an earlier voyage to China is extant in E. P. Shirley mss. (Description in an inventory report by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts):

"Journal of a voyage taken by me (God permitting) from London to Emois in China on board the ship Neptune, Capt. Lesley Commander, in 1700. Begun, Thursday, December 5th, 1700. Left Billingsgate, Deal, Canterbury (which he describes). Dec. sailed out of the Downs. On Tuesday, 28th January, saw Teneriffe; June 3rd Palma (he gives description of it); Sunday, 15th June, 1701, Batavia (describea). July 24th journal at Amois (17 leaves). View of the trade of China taken from the port of Emor, in the province of Tokieu, anno 1701. (73 pp.) At the other end of the volume is a journal of a voyage from Emoy towards England, in the ship Neptune Capt. Lesley, Feb. 6th, 1701/2; ends at fol. 46. Tuesday, 15th Sept. 1702, Wednesday and part of Thursday at Dover. He kept a log. There are some drawings, and good observations."

15(xii). Hon. George Shirley born Oct 21 1686 died Nov 1694, age 8

15(xiii). Lady Barbara Shirley b Feb 5 1687 died Nov 7 1768, age 81 (died insane, lived in an asylum)

15(xiv). Hon. Ferrers Shirley b Apr 23 1689 He died prior to the death of his father, the 1st Earl Ferrers on June 20 1707, age 18

15(xv). Hon. Walter Shirley b May 27 1690 supposedly died infant (Would have inherited the Earldom, if not).

15(xvi). Sir Henry Shirley, 3rd Earl Ferrers, born 14 Apr 1691, He died on 6 August 1745 at age 54, insane and unmarried. The Earldom passed to his nephew, the son of his brother Laurence Shirley by failure of a male heir

15(xvii). Hon. Laurence Shirley born 26 Sept 1693; He died on 27 April 1743 at age 49. lived at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, England

married: Anne Clarges daughter of Sir Walter Clarges, 1st Bt.

From this marriage, the Lineage of the Earl Ferrers continues

children (by 2nd wife Selina Finch)

15(xviii). Hon. Robert Shirley, Lord of Ettington born May 27 1700, He died July 12 1738

15(xix). Lady Selina Shirley born July 2 1701 died Dec 14 1777; She married Peter Bathurst

15(xx). Lady Mary Shirley born Nov 20 1702 died May 17 1771; She married Charles Tryon. Their son was the Governor of North Carolina, William, Lord Tryon

15(xxi). Hon. George Shirley born Aug 18 1704; He died Dec 21 1704, age 4 months

15(xxii). Hon. George Shirley, Lord of Ettington born 23 Oct 1705, lived at Ettington, Warwickshire, England; He died on 22 October 1787 at age 81

married Mary Sturt, daughter of Humphrey Sturt, on 28 December 1749.

From this marriage, the lineage of the Shirleys of Lough Fea,
Lords of the Manor of Ettington continues

15(xxiii). Lady Frances Shirley born May 5 1707 died July 15 1778; lived at Twickenham with her neice Lady Huntington; reputed to have been a great beauty in her day; rumors of affairs with Lord Chesterfield; Subject of a famous poem by Alexander Pope, esq.

15(xxiv). Lady Anne Shirley born May 24 1708 died Feb 26 1779; She married Sir Robert Furnese

15(xxv). Hon. Sewallis Shirley born Oct 19 1709 member of Parliament 1742 to 1761; comptroller of the household of Queen Charlotte; died Oct 25 1765; He was buried on 2 November 1765 at Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, Mayfair, London, England;

married Margaret Rolle, dau of Samuel Rolle of Hainton Devon, Baroness Clinton and Say, and Dowager Lady Orford.

Horace Wolpole, later Earl of Orford, son of Prime Minister Robert Wolpole, and brother-in-law of Margaret, Lady Orford - " Mr. Shirley has had uncommon fortune in making the conquest of two such extraordinary ladies (Lady Vane and Lady Orford), as equal in their heroic contempt of shame, and eminently above their sex, the one for beauty and the other for wealth. He appeared to me gentle, well-bred, well- shaped, and sensible, but the charms of his face and eyes, which Lady Vane describes with so much warmth, were I confess always invisible to me, and the artificial part of his character very glaring."

Lady M. Wortley-Montagu in a letter to her daughter writes, "Statira (Lady Orford) has declared to her son that she is marrying Shirley, but ties him up strictly," and again, " I am not surprised at Lady Orford's marriage; her money was doubtless convenient to Mr.Shirley, and I dare swear she piques herself on not being able to refuse him anything." - source: Letters from Lady Jane Coke to Her Friend, Mrs. Eyre at Derby, 1747-1758, By Jane Wharton Coke

no children

15(xxvi). Lady Stuarta Shirley born Aug 19 1711 She died Dec 31 1767

15(xxvii). Hon. John Shirley born Mar 1 1712 He died Feb 15 1768, age 56.


Robert Shirley had several illegitimate children making him the father of 57 children in all. (yes, 57).



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.
Offices Held


Staunton Harold had been the Shirley family seat since the 15th century. On his mother’s 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 grandfather’s 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 Guernsey’s estate, politely supposing ‘that either your lordship’s 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 ‘ply’d’ 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 week’s 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 Tamworth’s tomb in the family chapel at Staunton Harold includes a classic plaint to the unfulfilled promise of youth:

In him religion with sweet temper join’d
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, 718–19.
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, Oct. 1714.
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.


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