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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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)