JOHN WALTER SHIRLEY of Cornwall England

Info from Carol Lloyd and Alan Shirley


John Walter SHIRLEY b. ca. 1850 d. ca. 1904 ? m. Mary Glanville/Hosking. She died in 1895

Mary was the illegitimate d/o Ann GLANVILLE born 1832 in Saltash, Cornwall. (Ann GLANVILLE married John HOSKING  in 1856 at Plymouth. He was a  fisherman , born 1811 in Saltash, Cornwall). 

Mary is listed as head of house and her husband as away in the census . He was a Soldier in the Army. From June1866 to Oct 1867 he was stationed with the Royal Artillery @ Kingston, Canada as duties were handed over to Canadian troops on independence from Britain. He came there from 5 Divn. Depot Brigade. He was promoted to Corporal Royal Artillery. They went to Gibraltar then Malta and arrived in the Plymouth/Saltash area in Apr.1874. He must have met his wife, Mary Glanville, between then & 1875. He was given a long furlough from 1st. Feb. to 10 May 1875. (This could have been for their marriage). By 1889 he was a Gen Lab possibly a Journeyman and later by 1899 he became a Mason's Apprentice. Resided in Saltash from ca 1875 to ca 1900. A cousin said  J. W. SHIRLEY died in Cornwall aged 54 years in abt 1904/5. (This was via enquiries made by my cousin on behalf of her mother at an Adoption Agency in Detroit, Michigan, USA)

The family came from in and around Saltash, Torpoint, Landrake, Plymouth etc, ( St. German's Parish ). Some worked and married in Stoke Damerel, Devon but eventually moved back to Cornwall.


1. Lucy SHIRLEY -  Jan 1876 Saltash Cornwall. (1881 census HH of Mary Shirley of Saltash). Married Thomas Rowse  Oct 1899.

Lucy had an illigimate son:

(1). Gerald Augustus SHERLEY May 1895 Malta. He was a Naval petty officer serving with Alfred Geo. & John Robert.  He died after an accident.

(2).  Elsie ROWSE Sept 1900.  Lucy took youngest child ( Sylvia Eveline Jan. 1893 ) to live with her after Mary SHIRLEY died in 1895.

2. Henry James SHIRLEY (Harry) - b April 1879  Whitsand Isle of Wight  or Sandown Isle of Wight (1881 and 1891 census); Member of ship's crew in 1901 census located at the town of Devonport and Hamoaze Cornwall.  Died 1906 Kicked by horse.

3. Ethel Mary SHIRLEY - b July 1880 Saltash Cornwall, married Geo.Henry KEITH  March 1899 in Devonport. (John Walter, her father, was at wedding.) Returned to live Saltash,

 4 children -1900 - 1904.

4.  Alberta Ann SHIRLEY b. 1883 in Saltash, Cornwall.  Was a Barnado's child sent from Cornwall to Liverpool, UK to Peterborough, Quebec, Canada on the S.S. Vancouver in 1897 with a group of 137 children. She arrived in Canada 4 days later and was trained as a Domestic servant or a farmer called MOSES in Ontario. 3 yrs later Alberta moved South and got work with the BERGER family ( a Corporate Lawyer ) and they lived in Detroit, Michigan.  Cannot find her after this. 

5. Alfred George SHIRLEY May 1889 Saltash, Cornwall Living in workhouse at Torpoint Cornwall in 1901  Sent shortly afterwards to live & work on cousins farm. Hay Farm, Sheviock, Torpoint.  Joined Royal Navy in Jul.1909.

3 children 1924 - 1928

6. John Robert SHIRLEY b. 1891 Saltash, Cornwall, Living in workhouse at Torpoint Cornwall in 1901 Sent shortly afterwards to live & work on cousins farm. Hay Farm, Sheviock, Torpoint.  Joined Royal Navy in Jul.1909 with his brother John Robert.

5 children - 2 girls, 3 boys

7. Sylvia  Eveline SHIRLEY Jan. 1893 Saltash Cornwall; died Jan. 1962.  Living in HH of Thomas and Lucy Rowse in 1901 census; listed as "sister in law" of Thomas Rowse. (Sylvia lived with her elder sister Lucy after their mother died in 1895) She married Charles Bennett.

No children.


The "Depot Brigade" was a part of the Royal Artillery and was headquartered at Woolwich Kent.

Here's the link to the history of Fort Henry at Kingston Ontario where J. W. Shirley was clearly posted during his stay.

J.W. is in either Malta or Gibralter in the 1871 census



from Carol Loyd

Our branch come from Landrake/Saltash areas.

My Great grandad was a Farmer, with a large family, unsure as yet to his christian name, probably, John or Robert Shirley.

The elder boys of my Great Grandad, hated farming, and my Grandad, John Robert (Bob) joined the "Devons" (Army). His 2 brothers joined the Navy. Don't know names yet.

My grandad, (Bob) left Army to join the Navy also. He met and married ?----------then settled in Torpoint, with my Uncle Jack's, Grandma and Grandad Willcocks ? names.

My Grandad's wife died approx 1939. So he left Cornwall to live in the Isle of Man, with his 2 young sons, Ernest Charles Robert aged 7 yrs. b.1932 d.1992 (my father) and Frank aged 5 yrs.b1930. This left my Uncle Jack b.1921--still living, Auntie May b?1923, and Auntie Rosina b.?1925 (Ex School Headmistress in Littleover, Derby) in Torpoint to complete their education,  they lived with family.
My Grandad Bob, joined H.M.S.Valkirie, a land based operation on the I.O.M.

Uncle Jack -joined the Army, met and married Elizabeth(Betty) from Wales.

Auntie May- ? unmarried- I met her once when she visited us on I.O.M in 1959 (I was 4yrs old) she was not in contact with family members, and died a few years ago, I believe.

Auntie Rosina- joined the Wrens, married Norman Bucknall, she was Head Mistress at Comprehensive School in Littleover, Derby. Where she still lives, has been married for just over 50 years.

My father- Ernie, joined Navy at 15yrs, for 15yrs.He had known my mother Brenda Marjorie Kneale-Armstrong for years (I.O.M) they married Dec 1952.

Uncle Frank- when older, joined H.M.S.Valkirie, I.O.M. then joined a Horse Regiment, as he was small in height. Married Margaret ?

Any help with family info would be appreciated.