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  Admiral Washington Shirley,
5th Earl Ferrers
   < Back to Hon. Laurence Shirley of Staunton Harold

Admiral Washington Shirley,
5th Earl Ferrers


Arms: 1 - paly of six or and azure, a quarter ermine (Shirley); 2 - vairy argent and sable, a quarter gules (Staunton); 3 - argent a fess gules in chief three torteaux (Devereux); 4 - vair or and gules (Ferrers); 5 - quarterly England and France within a bordure argent; 6 - argent two bars and in chief three mullets gules (Washington).
Crest: a Saracen’s head in profile, couped, proper, wreathed about the temples or and azure.

Motto: Honor virtutis premium
Supporters: dexter, a talbot ermine ducally gorged; sinister, a reindeer gules billettée or, charged on the shoulder with a horseshoe argent, and ducally gorged. 

From: Biographia navalis: Or, Impartial Memoirs of the Lives and Characters of Officers of the Navy of Great Britain 1660 to the Present John Charnock

FERRERS, Washington Shirley, Earl of, - was the second son of Lawrence, third earl of Ferrers, and Anne, fourth daughter to Sir Walter Clarges, of Aston, in the county of hertford, bart. having betaken himself to a maritime life, adn undergone the necessary years of probation, as well as passed thorugh the several more subordinate ranks of midshipman, lieutenant, and commander, with the ghiest credit and reputation, he was, on the 19th of April, 1746 appointed captain of the Fox frigate. he remained but a very short time in this ship, having been, early in the ensuing hyear, promoted to Dover, of forty-four guns. From this ship he removed into the Renown, a frigate captured by him a short time before, while captain of the Dover. At the latter end of the year 1753 he was appointed to the Mermaid frigate, in which he probably continued till the commencement of the war with France, in 1756. In 1758 he was captain of the Duc D'Aquitain, of fifty guns, and the only subsequent command in which we find him mentioned, is that of the Temple a ship of the line, carrying seventy guns, one of the Channel fleet under the orders of Sir Edward Hawke, which totally defeated that of France, on the 20th of November, 1759, in Quiberon Bay. Captain Shirley on this occasion distinguished in a very conspicuous manner, but succeeding to the title of Earl Ferrers, on the death of his unfortunate brother, Lawrence, the fourth earl, on the 5th of may 1760, he from that time quitted the naval service. On the 14th of December, 1761, he was elected fellow of the royal society, in compliment to him for a series of very accurate observations he made on the transit of Venus over the sun, on the sixth of June preceding, and which he had communicated to that learned body, together with many other useful and interesting discoveries, tending to the improvement of mathematical and nautical knowledge. his lordship having for many years, as we have already stated, declined the service, continued a long time at the head of the list as the senior captain capable of serving; but afterwards as a very proper and honourable testimony of the abilities he had displayed when actually engaged in service, was, on the 31st of March 1775 advanced to be rear admiral of the white, which was his first appointment in the rank of a flag officer. On the 3rd of February, 1776, he was moreover promoted to be vice admiral of the blue. This was the highest rank his lordship lived to attain to. he dying at Stanton Harold in Leicerstershire on the 1st of October 1778, was buried there. He married Anne, daughter of ____-Elliot, of Plymouth, esq. but had no issue.


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