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
NOTE: the De La Warres owned Isfield Place before the Shurleys.
Shirley Association visit
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."