Robert Shirley christened 20
October 1650 died 25 December 1717 was an English peer
and courtier. 1st Earl Ferrers
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
Married 2nd: Selina Finch daughter
of George Finch, of London esq.
Their children inherited
the Lordship of Ettington
Children of Robert Shirley and first wife, Elizabeth Washington
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.ii Lady Elizabeth Shirley b Nov 25 1674 died Oct
10 1677, age 3
1.iii Lady Katherine Shirley b May 31 1676 died Aug
18 1679, age 3
1.iv Washington Shirley b June 22, 1677 2nd Earl Ferrers
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.v Lady Elizabeth Shirley b June 20 1678 died Mar
7 1740, age 62
1.vi Lady Anna Elianora Shirley b Nov 12 1679 died
May 18 1754, age 75
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.vii Lady Katherine Shirley b Feb 17 1680 died Sept
21 1736, age 56
1.viii Hon. Charles Shirley born ?Apr 9 died May 28
1682, age 1 month
1.viv Lady Dorothy Shirley born May 25 1682 died Mar
24 1721, age 39; married John Cotes of Woodcote, esq.
1.x Hon. Charles Shirley born June 21 1684 died Sept
12 1685, age 1
1.xi Hon. Lewis Shirley born July 13 1685 died 1710,
1.xii Hon. George Shirley born Oct 21 1686 died Nov
1694, age 8
1.xiii Lady Barbara Shirley b Feb 5 1687 died Nov 7
1768, age 81 (died insane, lived in an asylum)
1.xiv Hon. Ferrers Shirley b Apr 23 1689 died June
20 1707, age 18
1.xv Hon. Walter Shirley b May 27 1690 died inf.
1.xvi Sir Henry Shirley, b. 14 Apr 1691, He died on
6 August 1745 at age 54, insane and unmarried 3rd
1.xvii 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, ; hanged May 5, 1760; was the last aristocrat
hanged in England. 4th Earl Ferrers
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; died October
1778; British Royal Navy officer, peer, freemason and amateur
astronomer. 5th Earl Ferrers
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.
married Anne Elliot on 1 December 1747 at St George East,
Stonehouse Devon. She was the daughter of ____-Elliot, of Plymouth,
2. iii. Robert Shirley b: 18 Jul 1723; He died
on 17 April 1787 at age 63. 6th Earl
married Catherine Cotton, daughter of Rowland Cotton, on 26
3.i Sir Robert Shirley, b. 21 Sep 1756, baptised 25
September 1756 at St Modwin, Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire.
He died on 2 May 1827 at age 70, without surviving legitimate
issue. 7th Earl Ferrers
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, illigitimate.
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.
4.ii Eleanor Rose Shirley - illigitimate.
She died 13 January 1809. Married Col. Hilton Joliffe MP. (Debretts
[Email from Ragdale Hall porter] As part of my talk I mention
the illegitimate daughter of the 7th Earl - Elizabeth Rose Shirley
who married by special licence in 1804 at the London home of
the Earl, one Colonel Hilton Joliffe MP. She died only four years
later and I can not find the cause. In 1802 Hylton Jolliffe had
formed the civil engineering company Jolliffe and Banks which
under his brothers later control built lots of bridges in London
for John Rennie including the London Bridge that was rebuilt
in Lake Havisu City USA. When Ragdale New Hall was let to tenants
after the 7th Earls death Hylton Jolliffe came to live there
in 1831 to hunt with the Quorn Hunt in his retirement.
3.ii Lawrence Rowland Shirley baptised November 3 1757
at St Alkmund Parish, Derby. He died Friday 5 February
1773 (possibly 7 days earlier). His portrait, when very young
is preserved in Wright's celebrated picture of the Lecture on
the Orrery, well known from the engraving; the original is now
in the collection of Mr Wright of Osmanston Manor in Derbyshire
- source: Stemmata
General Evening Post: Saturday, February 6, 1773 -
Page 1 - Died. Last Friday, at the Hon. Mrs Shirley's in Upper
Brook Street. Master Lawrence Rowland Shirley, son of Robert
Shirley, esq and nephew to Earl Ferrers.
3.iii Sir Washington Shirley b. 13 Nov 1760 at St Alkmund
Parish, Derby. He died on 2 October 1842 at age 81. 8th Earl Ferrers
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, b. 3 Jan 1822,
He died on 13 March 1859 at age 37 9th
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, 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
10th Earl Ferrers
married Lady Ina Maude Hedges-White, daughter of William Henry
Hare Hedges-White, 3rd Earl of Bantry and Jane Herbert, on 24
- no children
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
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.
Their children inherited
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
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.