Grid Ref: SK 218 416
5 October 2005 & 4 July 2015

St. Michaels
St. Michael's, 2015


nave   Church tower
Nave and Chancel, 2015   From South East, 2005
West gallery   South Porch
Box pews and West Gallery, 2015   South Porch, 2005


Shirley was mentioned in the Domesday book as belonging to Henry de Ferrers and being worth forty shillings. Henry de Ferrers came to England at the Norman Conquest and was at the Battle of Hastings. He was rewarded with 210 manors, mainly in Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Henry built Tutbury Castle and founded Tutbury priory in 1080. He also built castles at Duffield and Pilsbury.

Robert de Ferrers, his son, was created the 1st Earl of Derby in 1138 by King Stephen for his valour at the Battle of Northallerton. There followed five more Earls but the sixth, Robert, rebelled against Henry III and was imprisoned; his lands and earldom were forfeited, including Tutbury Castle which still belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster.

However, Robert (1271–1325) the sixth Earl's son, was the 1st Baron Ferrers of Chartley. The Barony continued until the seventh generation when Ann Ferrers, (1438–1468) Baroness of Chartley married Walter Devereaux and he took the title. Two generations later, Queen Elizabeth's favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, held the title of 11th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1567–1601). When he was executed for treason the peerage was forfeited in 1601. The title was restored for his son in 1604 but fell into abeyance in 1646.

The title was resurrected again for Robert Shirley, 7th Baronet, in 1677, who became 13th Baron Ferrers and he was created Earl Ferrers in 1711. The connection between Shirley family and the orginal Ferrers family is unclear. However, the Shirley family was long associated with the village of Shirley. The family took its name from the village in the 12th century and were lords of the manor until the 19th century. Sir Thomas Shirley, who died in 1362, was a distinquished soldier. His son, Sir Hugh, died at the battle of Shrewsbury fighting on Henry IV's side. There is a monument to Sir Hugh in the church. He is mentioned in Shakespeare as "valiant Shirley". Hugh's son, Sir Ralph, was one of Henry V's commanders at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. This family continues the current day with the 14th Earl succeeding his father in 2012.

The old moated Shirley Hall, the former manor house of the Shirley's, is now a farm.

The tower of St Michael's was built in 1861 and the north aisle in 1842.  However, the chancel and south aisle with octagonal columns are 14th century. When Arthur Mee visited Shirley in the 1930s he reported that there was a yew tree with a girth of 17 feet which had been recently damaged in a gale. A brass cross commemorates Canon Shirley of Christ Church, Oxford and there is a stone monument to Walter Augustus Shirley, a vicar who became a bishop.


The Buildings of England, Derbyshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, revised by Elizabeth Williamson, Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09591-0
The King's England, Derbyshire, by Arthur Mee, first published in 1937, 6th impression 1951.
Wikipedia Article on Shirley on Henry de Ferrers, Earl Ferrers, Ferrers of Chartley,
Village website


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