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Shirleys of Astwell
Northamptonshire England

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Lineage of George Shirley of Astwell (1550 - 1650)

George Shirley 1559 d. 1622 Astwell, Northampton Co. Buried in Breedon on the Hill.

Son of John Shirley of Rakedale Leicestershire and Jane Lovett. This marriage brouht several manors to the Shirleys: Astwell in the county of Northampton, South Newington (Newton), in the county of Oxford, Dorington in the county of Gloucester, and St. Botolph's Bridge in the county of Huntington.

He studied at Hart Hall (Later known as Hartford College), in the University of Oxford in 1573. "By the advantage of the most famous and learned tutors, he acquired a knowledge not common of the Greek and Latin tongues, of philosophy, of history, of politics, and other liberal sciences. After he had finished his studies, he presented his service at Court, and undertook the voyage of Holland in 1585 with Robert Earl of Leicester, ever putting himself in those places most eminent for danger and honour".

He entered Gloucester Hall in 1587 and was of Grays Inn in 1602. In 1603 he served as sheriff of Northamptonshire at the time, in company with many gallant men who conducted James the First through that county to his coronation. In 1611, he was created a Baronet. [Note: A William Bell came to London from Worcester to study law. He shared chamber and bed with George Shirley. Bell became a Roman Priest and was executed in 1643].

George Shirleys arms were taken away for 4 years as he was suspected as being a Catholic, although he outwardly conformed to the church of England. (If a Papists refused to come to church on Sunday, they were liable to a penalty of 20 pounds for every lunar month during which they absented themselves). He appears to have died a Catholic. "His piety was so remarkable in his large and bountiful alms, that he merited the glorious title of father and nourisher of the poor, relieving during the great dearth, 500 a day at his gates"

1st Frances Berkeley 1587, daughter of Henry Lord Berkeley (by Catherine, daughter of Henry Earl of Surrey).

2nd Dorothy Wroughton (no children by George).

Dorothy appears to have a marriage contract when she married George Shirley. First she doth require to reserve her own living entire to herself, to bestow the commodities of it to her own pleasure, without any controls; secondly, she doth demand a thousand pounds yearly jointure; third, 500 pounds land to be tyed upon her son, if by any good means there may be one gotten; fourthly, if it so fall out that her husband and she should fall out, she doth require 500__??, a year out of his living, and to live apart from him with that added to her living of Farinton.

6. (i) George Shirley d. infant in his cradle

6. (ii) Henry Shirley (from above) 1588 d. 1633, of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire. buried in Breedon on the Hill.

He had a large carved pew made for Breedon on the Hill.

His father gave him a noble education, an exact knowledge of the liberal sciences, and from Oxford he was sent for the bettering of his understanding and the gaining of languages, with license of the King, to travel beyond the seas. With all the qualities that complete a gentleman, he returned to his country and addressed himself to Henry Prince of Wales, and was received with honor. When Henry Prince of Wales died, it so devastated him that he retired into the country to live a solitary life, determining not to think of courtly pomp or glory.

Upon the persuasion of his honored father, he married Dorothy Devereux, daughter of Robert Earl of Essex, the favorite of the Queen, and sister of Robert the last Earl.

Immediately upon the death of his father, Sir Henry by indenture, dated May 9, 1622, executed a strict entail of the family estates in Shirley, Brailesford, Hone, Ednaston, Longford, Boobton, Hollington, Yeveley, Rodisley, Wyaston, Borowes,Thurvaston, and Bradley (Derby Co.), Silby and Ratcliff.

In 1628, Henry was a prisoner in the Fleet for scandalising Earl of Huntingdon. In 1633 he was busy rebuilding the manor house of Ragdale in Leicester Co., an estate inherited from the Bassett family by marriage with the Shirleys.

Henry was also a Roman Catholic.

6. (iii) Sir Thomas Shirley 1590 d.1654 Lived St. Botolphs Bridge, Huntington.(He was of St. Clements Inn).

6. (iv) John Shirley d. an infant


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