Research Timeline
John Shirley, esq
Chaucer Scribe, Servant of the Earl of Warwick
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Documented Timeline of the Life of John Shirley, esquire of London

With specific reference to the documentation by Margaret Connolly, John Shirley: Book Production and the Noble Household in Fifteenth-Century England. Vermont: Ashgate Publishing, 1998.

Date  Document
Description and Comment
Prior to Oct 1399    Calendar of Patent Rolls p 14-15 

Grant for life, to John Shirley, of certain lands and tenements, to the value of 10 marks a year, in Chestrefeld, co. Derby, late of Hugh Draper, forfeited because when appealed of treason he absconded.

Connolly speculates that Shirley may have supported Richard II and then changed to Henry IV. Connolly speculates Shirley may have been rewarded from the forfeiture of some lands in Chesterfield Derbyshire by Richard II in Mar 1399 and then pardoned for "divers treasons" in Feb, the 1st year of Henry IV

1403    TNA
C 81/1358 no. 4b 
p 15-16  Connolly states that prior to Warwick's appointment for the King's campaign in Wales, Warwick wrote to the king saying some of his men were hesitant to go to Wales fearing losses at home while away. Warwick named 15 men including John Shirley who Connolly notes was named as the last of the esquires on the list. Transcript in Kirby (1978)
1403 Oct    TNA
E 403/578 m1 
p 15  Connolly states that Shirley is listed among Warwick's retinue in October. Describing him as Warwick's agent at the Exchequer "responsible for collecting a large sum of money allocated for the payment of the troops at Brecon" Connolly does not imply that Shirley is an employee there, only advocating for Warwick
1409-10      p 18  Connolly notes that the records of Simon Benett, Warwick's receiver-general lists several payments to Shirley "which were no doubt incurred in conducting Warwick's business"
1414 Oct 27

page 2
Issue Roll p 19  Warwick's wages as ambassador to the Council of Constance were to be paid to him "by the hands of John Shirley, his esquire." see also Devon (1837) p335 
1415 June      p 19 Warwick having been appointed Capt of Calais, enlisted 129 men to defend Calais. Shirley is on the list as an esquire. Henry invades France in August 1415.
1415 Sept      p 19  Shirley named as an executor in will of Sir Wm Fauconer who died at Calais.
1416 Sept      p 19  Shirley witness to will of Sir Baldwin Straunge who died in a sea fight off Calais shortly after.
1417      p 20  Shirley was listed among the 402 men serving Warwick in the king's second invasion of France. He was listed as a lance.
1417      p 20  "by this date" the 1417-18 account roll of John Baysham, then Warwicks' receiver-general, shows Shirley receiving a permanent annuity from Shenley, one of Warwick's Buckinghamshire estates
1422  AALT
TNA CP/40/647   Worcs.: debt; Shirley, John, esq, on his own account vs. Blount, John, of Wygynton, Oxon, esq; Beauchamp, John, of Holt, Worcs, knight, executrix of; (Beauchamp, Alice, formerly wife of Testator)
1425 June 14  Shakespeare Birthplace Trust DR 98/85   [Transcript, Connolly, Margaret, The Library, v. s6-19, Isssue 3, 1997, pp 242-247.] Richard Beauchamp, Count of Warwick and of Aumale, Lord Despenser and of Lisle, Captain of Calais, to all our stewards, feoffees, farmers, bailiffs, magistrates, rent-collectors, and our other officers and ministers who may see these letters of ours or will learn of them, greetings. For this reason that our well beloved Robert Skeyrne has done homage to us, the which he is held to do of us by reason of certain lands and tenements in the town of Compton Mordak in the county of Warwick, which he claims to hold from us in chief by the service of a knight as of our [blank] in the same county. We wish and charge you that henceforward you should in no way distrain, harass, incommode, molest, arrest or impeach the said Robert by reason of the aforementioned homage. In witness whereof we have put our seal to these our letters patent, given at London in our lodging there, the fourteenth day of June in the third year of the reign of King Henry the Sixth since the conquest. <signature> Jn Shirley. 
1426-1428      p 23  Shirley was a clerk at the Exchequer for John Throgmorton "and his employment there may well have preceded this date; he is still so described along with John Wodehous in 1428."
1430 Feb      p 53  Connolly speculates that the debt owed by Wm Balsham of Flamstead, Herts was not necessarily owed to Warwick who held the manor, but to Shirley who may have been granted the rents by Warwick. Although in 1422-3, Shirley had collected money from Balsham on behalf of Warwick.
1430 AALT
d 926
  London debt Shirley, John, esq, on his own account Graystok, Ralph, of Thorp Arche, York; Cook, John, of Chestrefeld, Derbs, chaplain
1430 AALT
d 981
  London debt Shirley, John, esq, on his own account Froxmere, William, of Wyche, Worcs, gent 
1430 AALT
f 835
  London debt Shirley, John, esq, on his own account Froxmere, William, of Wythe, Worcs, gent
1430 AALT
d 1706
  London debt Shirley, John, esq; Wodehous, John, of Calais, on their own account Pencrych, William, of London, Doctor of Laws & archdeacon of St Davids, clerk
1430 AALT
d 926
  London debt Shirley, John, esq; Wodehous, John, of Cales, on their own account Pencrych, William, of St Davids, archdeacon & doctor of Laws, formerly of London 
1430  AALT
f 507
  London debt Shyrley, John, esq on his own account; vs. Cook, John, of Chestrerfeld, Derbs, chaplain
1431 May 4     TNA
C 241/224/27  
  Debtor: Thomas Woodlowe of Marston in Warwicks., gentleman. Creditor: John Shirley, esquire. Amount: £153 6s.8d. Before whom: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster. When taken: 19/02/1431 First term: 01/05/1431 Last term: 01/05/1431 Writ to: Sheriff of [Warwicks] Sent by: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster.
1436      p 16  Lay subsidy says that Shirley has income of L10 from lands in Hertfordshire; Connolly discusses the social rank of Shirley in this context
1437 AALT
f 115
  London: debt - Shirley, John, esq vs Cely, John, of Chepyng Faryngdon, Berks, merchant, executrix of; (Cely, Petronilla, of Chepyng Faryngdon, widow) 
1441 [sometime after this date]      p 56  Dispute between Shirley and a London priori of nuns. John Wodehous et al appointed arbitrators
Connolly: sometime after 1443

Items A, B, C, D, E1, E2, E3
C 1/16/244 
p 56 John Noel [Neel], master of St. Thomas of Acres, London. v. John Shirley: Detention of a tally upon the customers of London.: London.  Connolly: Dispute between Shirley and John Neel. Describes exchange of customs tallies between Shirley and his "cousin, John Wodehous, treasurer to the Captain of Calais...."
1407-1456   TNA
C 1/16/272  
  John Shirley, esq. v. Thomas Gerard, esq. and John Preston, his servant.: Forgery of an indenture of debt.
1407-1456   TNA
C 1/16/430 
  Thomas Gerard, esq. v. John Verney, dean of Lichfield, and William Forstede, esq., arbitrators.: Surrender of a release in a matter between petitioner and John Shirley, esq., concerning the issues of the manor of Preston.: Rutland.  
1429 Feb 16        John Verney of Sutton co Warw. Clerk, Robt Andrew of Blounesdown Andrew co Wiltshire, John Throkmorton of Throkmorton Co Worc, John Shirley of London, Wm Wybbe of Hanbury of Worc, esqs and John Norman cit and draper of London to Richard Abbot of St Peter Westminster. Recognizance for 500 marks to be levied in the counties aforesaid. 
1431 Apr 5    Calendar of Close Rolls     John Holym cit of London and Nicholas Lovet cit and goldsmith of London to John Shirley esq servant of Richard Earl of Warrewyk recognizance of 80L to be levied etc in the city of London.
1431 May 4   TNA
C 241/224/28
  Debtor: Thomas Woodlowe of Marston in Warwicks., gentleman. Creditor: John Shirley, esquire. Amount: £63 Before whom: John Michell, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster. When taken: 27/01/1430 First term: 23/03/1430 Last term: 23/03/1430 Writ to: Sheriff of [Warwicks.
1432 Nov 11   TNA
C 241/225/52
  Debtor: Simon Horne of Daventry [Northants.], John Horne of Daventry, Robert Horne, citizen and fishmonger [merchant] of London, and Richard Horne, citizen and draper [merchant] of London. Creditor: John Shirley, esquire. Amount: £50. Before whom: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster.
1433   TNA
C 1/12/247 
  Walter Roger v. John Shirley, esq., and Geoffrey Fyldyng, mercer.: Money matters.  
1435 May 13    Calendar of Close Rolls    Wm Penne cit and grocer of London to Master Richard Caudray clerk archdeacon of Lincoln, John Shirle esq, Wm Northampton cit and draper of London, John Louthe of Lincolnshire gent and John Hammond of Bedfordshire. Gift w/warranty of all his goods and wares in city of London and elsewhere dated London 20 June 1435 
1438 Nov 18     TNA
C 241/228/61 
  Debtor: Richard Ellis of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, merchant, and Bartholomew Ellis of Great Yarmouth, gentleman. Creditor: John Shirley, esquire. Amount: £40 Before whom: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster. When taken: 18/07/1438 First term: 11/11/1438 Last term: 11/11/1438 Writ to: Sheriff of [London, Norfolk] Sent by: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster.  
1439 May 10    Calendar of Close Rolls   John Shirley, Wm Morely esq, Thomas Cateworth cit and grocer of London Hugh Dyke citizen of London and Wm Anable to Wm Tresham, Wm Aldewyncle, Thos Gladman, Rich Willoughby, Thos Merton and John Olyffe quitclaim of manor in Russheton Co Northampton called Westhalle lands in Westende, Westfelde, and Aukefeld and advowson of church of St Peter in Russheton Wit: Thos Greene knt, Thos Mulso of Neuton, Simon Kynnesman, Wm Harewedown, Wm Berforde 
1439 Jun 22     TNA
C 241/228/36 
  Debtor: Robert Brandon, of Lynn [Freebridge Hundred] in Norfolk, gentleman. Creditor: John Shirley, esquire. Amount: £60 4½d Before whom: William, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster. When taken: 27/05/1438 First term: 27/11/1438 Last term: 27/11/1438 Writ to: Sheriff of [Norfolk] Sent by: William Estfield, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster.  
1440 Oct 26    Calendar of Close Rolls    Memorandum of an undertaking under pain of 500L made in chancery by John Shirley of London esq to appear in person bringing with him 60L in money and 2 bonds to be delivered [note: Shirley did appear and deliver money and bonds] 
1441 Feb 22    London Plea and Memoranda Rolls A68   Award of Wm Estfield knt, Thos Chalton alderman dna John Bowes recorder in dispute betw Master Richard Cawdrey clerk, Dame Alice Lynne and John Lynne an orphan of this city on one part and John Shirley on other. As regards to payment by John Shirley to James Lynne delivered by sd arbitrators in the church of St Martin le Grand awarded that John Shirley should pay at once.  
1441 May 27    Calendar of Close Rolls    Thomas Kyrkeby cit and mercer of London to John Shirley esq, Richard Chalkhill tailor Richard Rowye marbler and Wm Forster tailor, citizens of London gift and warranty in the city and suburbs of London and elsewhere Wit: Thomas Gay, Thos Sutton , John Riche. 
1444 Nov 15     Calendar of Patent Rolls    Exemplification, at the request of Richard Curson and Isabel his wife, of letters patent in their favour dated 25 May, 21 Henry VI, John Shirley, esquire, having sworn that the originals have been lost and that if found, they shall be surrendered. [May 25. Grant in survivorship to Richard Curson, one of the esquires about the Westminster, king's person, and Isabel his wife of 50 marks yearly from Easter last out of the issues of the counties of Warwick and Leicester, the said Isabel having divers times attended the person of Queen Katharine in the parts of France at the command of Henry V at her own costs without any reward; in lieu of grants to Richard by letters patent dated 24 August,] By p.s. etc.  

page 2
Commissary Court of London 5-213     Will of Sherley, Jn esq to be buried in St Bartholomew's Hospital.
1460 [after death of Shirley]      p 57  Appeal of a case "made by Richard Thornes to several doctors of laws and London aldermen". Case between Thorne and Shirley's attorneys. Wodehouse is described as the "late mayor of Calais".






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