The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988
  Swepston
Manor, Leics.

Email if you can contribute to this research or if you have a comment.

 

   
 

A New Research Find!

A new cadet branch has apparently been discovered from the main Shirley family of Ettington lineage. Two primary documents point to a separate family despite members of that family possessing the same names found in the main Shirley lineage. Moreover, these new Shirleys appear in other documents at dates too early for the those in the main lineage. The following are abstracts of the two critical documents with a proposed lineage chart presented next. Further abstracted documents are presented after the chart.

1. During the dispute for the manors of Barrow etc, between the Shirley family and Lord Hastings, the following Shirleys were named as defendants in a suit in 1480 by Hastings' agents:

Quorndon Records
Feet of Fines No 49. 20 Edw IV 1480

...John Shirley of Staunton, esq and Alianore his wife, Ralph Shirley the son of John and Alianore, Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Elizabeth his wife, and Richard Shirley, defendants, of the Manor of Barrow-on-Sore and of 20 messuages, 10 tofts, 400 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture and 400 acres of wood in Barrow-on-Sore and Quarendon...

2. Eight years later, a Thomas Shirley died leaving his manor of Swepston, Leics. to his nephew. Swepston manor was previously in the possession of Sir Ralph Shirley (m. Joan Bassett).

Inquisitions Henry VII

1488 -#343. Thomas Sherley writ 2 Oct Inq. 21 Apr 3 Henr VII. He died 20 Sept 2 Hen VII seized of the under mentioned manors and advowson. Hugh Shirley age 18 and more, is his cousin and heir viz son of Hugh Shirley, his brother. Holding Leicestershire manors of Suepston in Suepston, Newenton and Nethercote [Newton Nethercote] worth 10 pounds and the Advowson fo the church of Suepston held of Edmund Earl of Kent by service of 1/6 of a knights fee.

 

Proposed Lineage of the Swepston branch of the Shirleys of Ettington

Sir Ralph Shirley held the manor of Swepston in 1427

8 Sept. 1427. 6 Hen.VI -Indenture of grant from Thos.Okeover, Robt. Twyford, esq., to Sir Ralph Shirley and Alice his wife, of rent of 44 marks from manor of Swepstone, with appurts., in Thrumpton (Notts.) held by feoffment from Sir Ralph Shirley upon condition that should Sir Ralph Shirley lose his title to manor of Sheldon (Warks.) which he holds of Thos. Chadworth, then rent to be raised from that manor 26D53/540 Shirley of Ettington Archive

Who are Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley, named in the Lord Hastings lawsuit?

1. All of the Shirleys named in the above Lord Hastings lawsuit document are heirs of Sir Ralph Shirley of Ettington and Brailsford

A. Upon the death of Sir Hugh Shirley, King Henry VI ruled that Sir Ralph Shirley, son and heir of Hugh, should quietly enjoy the inheritance of Lord Basset, including the manor of Barrow upon Soar.
B. The list of names in the document indicates a joint interest in the manor of Barrow upon Soar

2. Thomas Shirley of Swepston named in the document is an heir of Sir Ralph Shirley of Ettington and Brailsford

A. Sir Ralph Shirley held the manor of Swepston as early as 1427 (named with 2nd wife Alice Cockayne) and as "Sir Ralph Shirley of Swepston" in 1447 (Stemmata says Sir Ralph died "about" 1443?)
B. Thomas Shirley (named above) held the manor of Swepston at the time of his death in 1488 granting it to his nephew Hugh Shirley, son of his brother Hugh Shirley, who was over the age of 18. Inquisitions Henry VII 1488 -#343. Thomas Sherley writ 2 Oct Inq. 21 Apr 3 Henr VII.

3. Thomas and Richard are NOT the children of John Shirley of Staunton Harold.

A. The list of names indicates a joint interest in the manor of Barrow.
B. The naming of John's heir Ralph (born about 1461 and of majority age) is logical, but John had 5 other younger sons, possibly not named due to their minority. Thomas and Richard are not named in the document as "sons" in similar fashion as eldest son Ralph.
C. John Shirley of Staunton died in 1486, two years before Thomas Shirley of Swepston. John's LW&T did not mention a gift of the Swepston lands to son Thomas. It does, however, provide for a life estate for son Thomas of John's interests in Hopedale, in the Peaks.
D. 1480 is very early for the birth of John's 2nd son Thomas and for him to be of majority age, married and listed in the above document.

1) This same Thomas Shirley of Swepston died in 1488 leaving his manor of Swepston to his nephew Hugh Shirley, son of his brother Hugh Shirley, who was over the age of 18. Since his nephew Hugh is an adult in 1488, this indicates a birth for Thomas Shirley of Swepston to be much earlier in the 15th century.
2) Thomas Shirley of Swepston cannot be the son of John Shirley of Staunton whose own son named Thomas could not have been born earlier than about 1460. John's eldest son Ralph was about 26 at his father's PM Inq. in 1487, therefore born about 1461.
3) Presumably, the same Thomas Shirley and Richard Shirley esqs named in the lawsuit, also jointly witness a document in 1466 involving the lands of John Brome, dec'd the husband of Beatrice (Shirley) Brome. The two again appear in similar circumstances in a document dated 1473.

4. Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley are NOT the children of Ralph Shirley esq, and 2nd wife Elizabeth Blount, nor of 3rd wife Lucy Entwissell

A. If the ownership of Barrow were under litigation and the parallel heirs Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley were the step brothers of John Shirley of Staunton, then Ralph Shirley of Wiston who was in fact a step brother and son of the 2nd wife would have been named in the document as also possessing an interest in the manor of Barrow. He was not named.
B. The 3rd marriage of Ralph Shirley, esq to the widow, Lucy Entwissell, followed the death of Sir Bertram Entwissell in 1455, much too late to match the age of Thomas Shirley of Swepston who had a nephew over the age of 18 in 1488.

5. Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley are NOT likely the sons of Sir Ralph Shirley and his first wife Joan Basset

A. Joan Basset, the 1st wife of Sir Ralph Shirley of Brailsford and Ettington died before August 1408 when following her death, and the death of her grandfather, the estates of this family fell to her infant son, Ralph Shirley, esq. This death date, combined with the fact that Sir Ralph Shirley (b 1392) would have been only 16 at the time, prohibits Joan from being the mother of Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley (as well as Thomas' brother Hugh Shirley). It's too early.

Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley are:

1. Possibly the children of Ralph Shirley, esq and 1st wife Margaret Staunton

A. This Ralph Shirley, esq (son of Sir Ralph Shirley by his 1st wife Joan Basset) held the manor of Barrow upon Soar as heir of Sir Ralph Shirley of Ettington and Brailsford
B. The marriage to Margaret Staunton occurred about 1423, a date early enough to fit the lifespan of Thomas Shirley of Swepston.
C. The parallel nature of the document outlining the interest in Barrow upon Soar would be consistent with this descent
D. Presumably the same Thomas Shirley leased Staunton Harold from agents of Ralph Shirley esq in 1458, two years after a document named Ralph and his second wife Elizabeth Blount. Therefore, following Ralph's second marriage, his son Thomas leased his mother's estate from his father.
E. However, Stemmata says Ralph and Margaret only had one son, John Shirley of Staunton (named in the above document)
F. However, the lands at Swepston were NOT mentioned in the 1467 Leics. PM Inq for Ralph Shirley, esq, therefore, they had either passed to Thomas of Swepston prior to that generation, or less likely, to his son Thomas during his lifetime.

2. More likely, they are the sons of Sir Ralph Shirley and his 2nd wife Alice Cockayne. Thomas Shirley of Swepston and Richard Shirley would be uncles to John Shirley of Staunton, all named in the above document.

A. 2nd Wife Alice Cockayne is already the wife of Sir Ralph Shirley by 1419 therefore the date is early enough to fit the lifespan of Thomas Shirley of Swepston
B. The children (if any) of 2nd wife Alice are clouded in mystery. A second Ralph Shirley, son of Sir Ralph, is named as her child in ancient pedigrees. Other children could exist.
C. Thomas Shirley and Richard Shirley, esqs, presumably the same as above, jointly witness estate documents in 1466 and again in 1473 relating to the assassination of John Brome of Baddelsey Clinton, husband of Beatrice Brome, daughter of Sir Ralph Shirley by his 1st wife Joan Basset; therefore a stepsister.
D. A 1447 document states that Sir Ralph was "of Swepston". It is unknown how the manor came into possession by the Shirley family, however, in the 2nd year of Henry V (1414), a tally of the rents accruing to Sir Ralph Shirley from his manors did not mention the manor at Swepston. This indicates that the manor came into possession after 1414 and hints at a Cockayne connection to the manor. If so, it would then be logical that the lands at Swepston would pass to the children of 2nd wife Alice Cockayne and not to Sir Ralph's son and heir, Ralph Shirley, esq through his first marriage to Joan Basset.
E. The lands at Swepston were NOT mentioned in the 1467 PM Inq for Ralph Shirley, esq, therefore, they had passed to Thomas of Swepston prior to that generation.

What happened to their descendants?

1. The descendants of Thomas Shirley of Swepston later occupied Theydon Hall, Essex

A. The above Thomas Shirley of Swepston died in 1488. His Post Mortem Inquisition is as follows: "Hugh Shirley age 18 and more, is his cousin and heir viz son of Hugh Shirley, his brother. Holding Leicestershire manors of Suepston in Suepston, Newenton and Nethercote"
B. A Hugh Shirley, likely the same son of Hugh Shirley (brother of Thomas Shirley d 1488) was involved in litigation with Richard Ryse around 1500 regarding the same land in Swepston that John Shirley later litigated with the same Richard Ryse.
C. In 1532, John Shurley of Theydon Hall, Essex. Esq. sold to Richard Humfraye of Barton, Northants. Esq.; all his lands & mess in Nethercote & Newton Burgulond [Newton Burgoland] in parish of Swepston, Leics. The Humphrey family held these lands through at least the 1620s according to documents in the Cockayne family of Rushton (Northants) archives.

D. John Shurley of Theydon Hall, Essex died without male heir. The Essex property, held through his wife Margery, reverted to her sisters upon her death by 1545.
E. The following narrative about the history of Theydon Garnon manor is taken from the Victoria County History of Essex

History of Theydon Garnon Manor

...Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, who was the last survivor of the feoffees created by Coningsby, died in 1519. It was subsequently claimed that the legal estate in the manor of Theydon Garnon passed to Oldham's heir Adam Travers, Archdeacon of Exeter. Travers seems to have enfeoffed a certain Nowers, but when Nowers and others brought an action against Francis and Elizabeth Hampden the plaintiffs claimed to hold under a previous feoffment. (Footnote 41) In 1523 there was a further appointment of feoffees, and in 1527 Coningsby entered into another bond of £600 to abide by the award of three justices of the Common Pleas. A settlement was at last reached and later in 1527 Coningsby, Nowers, and the other feoffees released their right in Theydon Garnon and Gregories to Francis and Elizabeth Hampden and Elizabeth's heirs. Francis and Elizabeth were to pay 350 marks to Coningsby, who was to deliver up his evidences. In 1529 Francis and Elizabeth made a conveyance of the two manors to Thomas Tyrell and others, no doubt in connexion with the agreement of 1500. (Footnote 42) Before the final settlement of the dispute, in 1525, they had settled one-third of their lands upon Margery their eldest daughter and her husband John Shirley. (Footnote 43) In 1538 the third part of the manor of Theydon Garnon was leased to John ap Rice of London for £90 a year. (Footnote 44)

Elizabeth Hampden died, a widow, in 1538, leaving three daughters and coheirs, the above Margery Shirley, Jane wife of Christopher Carleton, and Ellen, later wife of John Branch. Shortly after Elizabeth's death Carleton instituted proceedings in Chancery which seem to have resulted in the transfer to him of Gregories manor and a rent of 30s. while Branch was given Garnish Mill farm and a rent of £10, and Margery (now Edward Bishop's wife) retained Theydon Garnon manor. This new arrangement was confirmed in the Common Pleas in 1544 and it was then also provided that the common and waste and Garnons Wood should be divided into three. Presentations to Theydon Garnon rectory, as already arranged, were to be made in turn, the first vacancy to be filled by Margery, the second by Carleton, and the third by Branch. (Footnote 45)

Margery Bishop died in 1545, leaving an infant son Edward. (Footnote 46) He evidently died soon after, for on the death in 1553 of Margery's husband Edward Bishop, who had held Theydon Garnon for life, the manor passed to her two sisters. (Footnote 47) In 1556 the manor was allotted to John and Ellen Branch, together with Margery's turn in the advowson. Jane, formerly wife of Christopher Carleton (d. c. 1549) and now of Francis Michell, received two parts of the wood upon the common and the waste lands. (Footnote 48) Further disputes occurred and in 1562 there was another settlement which confirmed the manor to John and Ellen Branch, settled the advowson upon them in reversion after the death of Jane, divided the freehold lands between the sisters but gave to John and Ellen all Margery's share in the waste grounds of Garnons Wood. (Footnote 49)

 

     
   


Home Page | Contact

© copyright Shirley Association
All Rights Reserved