Shirleys of


Lineage of the Shirleys of Isfield 

   < Back to Non-member Research Index Page

Isfield is located one half mile west of the Lewes and London turnpike road by Uckfield, north and south. The river Ouse flows near the house.

According to Stemmata Shirleiana, this ancient family appears to have taken its name from Shurley, a manor in the parish of Lingen, near Presteign, in the county of Hereford, but was of Isfield in Sussex, early in the reign of Henry the Eight.

Their first recorded ancestor in that county, John Shurley, esq. cofferer to King Henry the Eighth, by will, dated March 1, 1526 (18 Hen. VIII ), proved Nov 23, 1529, directs "to be buried in the church of Isfelde," appoints to John Shurley, his heir apparent, to be his executor; bequeaths to him inter alia three great booles, with a cover, all gilt, pounced, [that is, perforated,] which he bought of the executours of my lady the King's graunt dame, and two salts, with a cover, which were given unto my wife by hir brother, John Gorying, at her marriage." Names Parnell Grauntford his wife, deceased; William, his second son; Edward Shurley, his third son, under the age of 24, with this salvo, "if he be a pries:" Joane and Bridget, his daughters, unmarried; he appoints Roger More, Sergaunt of the King's bakehouse, co-executor with John his son; Sir Richard Broke, Knight, Chief Baron of Exchequer, supervisor; and Thomas Weldon, the third clerk of the King's kitchen, a legatee. He mentions lands at Prestend (Presteign), Co. Hereford, in the marches of Wales. which were William Walker's, his grandfather, and Roger Shurley, "myn own father's;" and directs prayers for the soul of his grandfather and Margery his wife, and for that of his own mother.

There are numerous notices of this John Shurley, the cofferer, among the State Papers of the reign of Henry VIII and mentions also of Richard Shurley, bailiff of the town of Ware in Hertfordshire, who, may be his brother. In the first year of Henry VIII, Richard Shurley, clerk, was presented to the rectory of "Pembrigge" in the county of Hereford; and in the following year (1510) Thomas Shurley, who was clearly of this family, was appointed bailiff during pleasure of Netherwood, Hereford Co., for faithful service done ot the King's sister, the Princess of Castile, lately held by Philip Howard and Richard Shurley, deceased.

Ralph Sherley, of Wiston, in his will dated Feb 11, 1509, calls this John Shurley, "his cousin".
The Shurleys of Isfield are supposed to have become extinct in the male line by the death of Arthur Shurley, esq. in 1667. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir James Smyth, Knt. Lord Mayor of London, descended the Smyths, baronets of Isfield, extinct in 1811.

NOTE: the De La Warres owned Isfield Place before the Shurleys.

Shirley Association visit to Isfield

Isfield Church
Isfield Church belonged to the Shurleys and was used as the families mausoleum. The Chapel is still called SHURLEY CHAPEL. The Shurley momuments on the south wall is tht of John Shurley who died in 1527. The effigies have disappeared but an inscription remains stating that John was 'sutyme chef clerke of the kechen to our souayn kyng henry ye viii.'

John Shurleys third son, Edward, inherited owing to the death of his two older brothers, and is the subject of the delightful brass over his tomb which is on the east one, on the south wall.
Edward's eldest son, Thomas, inherited and is the subject of the brass on the east wall. He died in 1579.

Thomas' son, John Shurley, married Jane Sherley, sisiter-in-law of Lord Delaware West (first colonial governor of Virginia). John married second Dorothy Goring. He died in 1631.

The magnificient alabaster tomb is that of Sir John Shurly and his two wives, Jane and Dorothy. The nine childrens effeigies arranged in the front of the tomb are the echildren born to Jane and John Shurley. All of the figures of this tomb are delicately and attractively carved. Sir John Shurley is arranged in the seme-armour of the period. Lady Jane is on his right hand and has a close fitting cap, Lady Dorothy on his left and has a hood with long veil flowing down to hre feet. Both have farthingales and ruff. The daughters have stiff lace collars, puffed and slashed sleeves, ruffles, no neck ruff and hair in ringlets with a band. Of the children, Thomas, John, Cacelie and Hannah died young.

There is one other monument to a Shurley, a flat tombstone under the altar in the Chancel. It is of Sir George Shurley, brother of John above. The incription says "Here lyeth the body of the honerable Sir George Shurley, Knight, Lord Cheife Justice of cheife pleases of Ireland and one of the Pirvy Councellors there under the late King James and King Charles for 28 years. He was born at Isfield 1569, and died the 15th of October 1647."



Home Page | Contact

© copyright Shirley Association
All Rights Reserved