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Sherley Family
Honor Virtutis Praemium - Honor is the reward of virtue.

England Family

  • 1043 to 1085: Sir Sewallis, Baron Henry de Ferrer
  • 1067 to 1105: Fulcher
  • 1086 to 1129: Sewallis
  • 1106 to 1155: Henry
  • 1127 to 1200: Sewallis
  • 1186 to 1278: Sir James de Shirley
  • 1250 to 1327: Sir Ralph Shirley
  • 1305 to 1362: Sir Thomas Shirley
  • 1362 to 1403: Sir Hugh Shirley died at the Battle of Shrewsbury.
  • 1391 to 1466: Sir Ralph Shirley
  • 1420 to 1470: Sir Ralph Shirley
  • 1504 - Ralph Shirley became Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex.
  • 1450 to 1510 - Ralph Sherley died.
  • 1475 to 1540 - Richard Sherley died.
  • 1542 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was born.
  • 1500 to 1551 - William Sherley died.
  • 1559 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was married to Anne Kempe.
  • 1564 - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) was born.
  • 1564 to 1634: Thomas Shirley
  • 1565 - Sir Anthony Sherley was born.
  • 1573, August 12 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was Knighted in Rey of Sussex.
  • 1578 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) became the Sheriff of Sussex and Surrey.
  • 1579 - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) and Sir Anthony Sherley attended University of Oxford.
  • 1581 - Sir Robert Sherley was born.
  • 1586 - Sir Anthony Sherley fought in the Netherlands.
  • 1587 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was appointed Treasurer at War in the Low Countries.
  • 1589 - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) was Knighted in Ireland.
  • 1591 - Sir Anthony Sherley fought in France where he was Knighted.
  • 1595 - Sir Anthony Sherley went on a pirate expedition along the west coast of Africa.
  • 1597 - Sir Anthony Sherley went on a pirate expedition in Jamaica.
  • 1598 - Sir Anthony Sherley went to Ferrara, Italy.
  • 1599, December 1 - Sir Anthony Sherley and Sir Robert Sherley went to Persia.
  • 1600, May - Sir Anthony Sherley returned to Europe.
  • 1601 - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) became a member of Parliament.
  • 1603, January - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) was imprisoned in Constantinople.
  • 1603 - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was imprisoned then released.
  • 1605 - Sir Anthony Sherley went to Prague where he became a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • 1605, December - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) was released from prison.
  • 1608 - Sir Robert Sherley left Persia for Cracow, Prague, Florence, Rome and Madrid.
  • 1608, June - Sir Robert Sherley became an Earl of Germany and Knight of the Roman Empire.
  • 1609 - Sir Anthony Sherley lost favor in the Spanish Courts.
  • 1606, September 27 - Sir Robert Sherley went to Rome.
  • 1606, December - Sir Robert Sherley went to Barcelona.
  • 1611 - Sir Robert Sherley returned to England.
  • 1542(9) to 1612, October - Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) died.
  • 1613 - Sir Robert Sherley returned to Persia.
  • 1613 - Sir Antony Shirley published Relation of his Trawls into Persia.
  • 1615 - Sir Robert Sherley went to Madrid.
  • 1620 - Sir Thomas Sherley (2) died.
  • 1627 - Sir Robert Sherley returned to Persia.
  • 1627, October 31 - Henry Sherley was murdered in London.
  • 1628, July 13 - Sir Robert Sherley died at Kazvin.
  • 1637 - Sir Anthony Sherley died in Madrid.
  • 1638 - Thomas Sherley (3) was born.
  • 1678 - Thomas Sherley (3) died.

English History

The Shirley family originated with Sir Sewallis, Baron Henry de Ferrer, who was a follower of Willian the Conquerer. Sir Sewallis is the first recorded ancestor of the Shirley family.

Sir Sewallis was born in 1043 and died in 1085. He had one son, Fulcher.

Fulcher was born in 1067 and died in 1105. He had five sons but only Sewallis is mentioned.

Sewallis was born in 1086 and died in 1129. He had five sons: Henry, Fulcher (died childless), Hugh (a priest), Ralph, and Edward.

Henry was born in 1106 and died in 1155. He was married to Joanna, daughter of John de Clinton of Essex. They had one son, Sewallis.

Sewallis was born in 1127 and died in 1200. He had one daughter and one son, Sir James.

Sir James de Shirley was born in 1186 and died in 1278. He was married to Agnes daughter of Simon de Walton. They had one son survive, Ralph. Sir James was the first person to use the name Shirley.

Ralph Shirley was born in 1250 and died in 1327. He was the Sheriff of Derby and the Sheriff of Nottingham. (I wonder if he was the one from Robin Hood. Between 1261 and 1300, there are at least eight references to a "Rabunhod".) In 1312, he was elected to Parliament.

Sir Thomas Shirley was born in 1305 and died in 1362. He was married to Isabella, grand daughter of Ralph, Lord Bassett of Drayton. They had one son, Hugh. Sir Thomas Shirley was a knight and member of Parliament in 1341.

Hugh Shirley was born in 1362 and died in 1403 at Shrewsbury where he as slain while defending King IV. He was married to Beatrix, the daughter of Peter de Brones of Weston. They had one son, Ralph. Hugh was a knight and King IV's Falconer.

Ralph Shirley was born in 1391 and died in 1466. He was married to Joan, daughter of Thomas Basset of Bailsford. They had one son, Ralph.

Ralph Shirley was born in 1420 and died in 1470. He was married multiple times. Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Blout, was his 2nd wife. They had one son, Ralph.

Ralph Shirley was born in 1450 and died in 1510. He was married to Jane, daughter of John Wellshire. They had five children: Sir Richard, Sir Thomas, Elizabeth, Beatrix, and Isabella.

Sir Richard Shirley was born in 1475 and died in 1540. He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Guldeford. They had 12 children: William, Thomas, John, Edward, Ralph, Richard, Elizabeth, Alice, Anne, Jane, Frances, and Cicealy.

William Shirley was born in 1500 and died in 1551. He was married to Mary, daughter of Thomas Isley of Sundridge. They had three children: Thomas, Anthony and Elizabeth.

Sir Thomas Shirley "The Elder" was born in 1542 or 1549 and died in 1612. He was married to Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe of Kent. They had five sons: Thomas, Anthony, Robert, Daniel, and ?, and seven daughters: Margaret, Mary, Elizabeth, Isabell, Jane, Anna, and Cecily. Sir Thomas Shirley was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1573.

Thomas Shirley was born in 1564 and died in 1634. He was married to Francis, the daughter of Sir Thomas Vasasouer of Kent. They had 7 children: Henry, Chgney, Thomas, Dorothy, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Francis. He was married the 2nd time to Judith, daughter of Sir William Bennett of London. He had 9 children by his second wife: John, Hugh, Thomas, Robert, Richard, Judith, Anne, Elizabeth, Bridget. Sir Thomas was knighted in 1589.

One of Thomas Shirley's sons, Thomas Shirley, was beheaded on January 30th, 1649.

Anthony Shirley
  • Name: Sir James de Shirley
  • Birth: 1278
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Agnes Walton
    • Children: Simon de Shirley, James de Shirley, Henry de Shirley, Sir Ralph Shirley
      • Grandchildren: Isabella Shirley, Ralph Shirley, Sir Thomas Shirley
In 1287, James petitioned Edward I for restitution of the "Manor of Eatingdon" which his son Ralph Shirley detained from him.
  • Name: Simone de Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse:
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: James de Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse:
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Henry de Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse:
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Sir Ralph Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: 1327
  • Spouse: Margaret Waldeschef
    • Children: Isabella Shirley, Ralph Shirley, Sir Thomas Shirley
      • Grandchildren: Sir Hugh Shirley
In 1294 Ralph Shirley represented the City of Warwick as the first Knight of the Shire, in Parliament.
  • Name: Isabella Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Geoffrey de Burgylon
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Ralph Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Isabella de Eatendon
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Sir Thomas Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Isabella de Meynell
    • Children: Sir Hugh Shirley
      • Grandchildren: Joan Shirley, Elizabeth Shirley, Isabella Shirley, Nicholaia Shirley, Ralph Sherley
  • Name: Sir Hugh Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: July 20, 1403
  • Spouse: Beatrice DeBroase
    • Children: Joan Shirley, Elizabeth Shirley, Isabella Shirley, Nicholaia Shirley, Ralph Sherley
      • Grandchildren: Beatrix Shirley, Ralph Sherley
Sir Hugh Shirley was the Grand Falconer to King Henry IV and he died in the Battle of Shrewsbury on July 20th, 1403.
  • Name: Joan Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Robert Newmarch
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Elizabeth Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Died unmarried
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Isabella Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Sir John Cockayne of Ashbourne
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Nicholaia Shirley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: NA
  • Spouse: Died unmarried
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Ralph Shirley
  • Birth: April 23, 1392
  • Death: 1443
  • Spouse 1:Joan Basset
    • Children: Beatrix Shirley, Ralph Shirley
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Spouse 2: Alice Cockayne
    • Children: Ralph Sherley (b)
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Beatrix Shirley
  • Birth:
  • Death: July 10, 1843
  • Spouse: Lord John Brome
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Ralph Shirley
  • Birth:
  • Death: Dec 26 1466
  • Spouse 1: Margaret Staunton
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Spouse 2: Elizabeth Blount
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Spouse 3: Lucy Ashton
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
  • Name: Ralph Sherley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: 1510
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: Richard Sherley
      • Grandchildren: William Sherley
In 1504, Ralph Sherley was the Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex. He died in 1510.
  • Name: Richard Sherley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: 1540
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: William Sherley
      • Grandchildren: Thomas Sherley (The Elder)
  • Name: William Sherley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: 1551
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: Thomas Sherley (The Elder)
      • Grandchildren: Thomas Sherley (2), Anthony Sherley, Robert Sherley
  • Name: Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder)
  • Birth: 1542
  • Death: October 1612
  • Spouse: Anne Sherley (Kempe)
    • Children: Sir Thomas Sherley (2), Sir Anthony Sherley, Sir Robert Sherley
      • Grandchildren: Henry Sherley
In 1559, Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was married to Anne Kempe who was the daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe.

Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was a member of Parliament during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. At the age of 31, on August 12, 1573, he was knighted at Rey in Sussex.

He served as Sheriff in Sussex and Surrey in 1578 and was appointed Treasurer at War in the Low Countries In February 1587.

In 1603, he was imprisoned which led the House of Commons to successfully assert one of its privileges - freedom of its members from arrest. When he died, he left his family in heavy financial debt.
  • Name: Sir Thomas Sherley (2)
  • Birth: 1564
  • Death: 1620
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: Henry Sherley
      • Grandchildren: Thomas Sherley (3)
In 1579, Sir Thomas Sherley (2) entered the Hart Hall at the University of Oxford at the age of 15 but he did not receive a degree.

Sir Thomas Sherley (2) was Knighted while serving in Ireland under Sir William Fitz-William in 1589.

In 1601, he was chosen as a member of Parliament, but he spent most of his time seeking to restore the shattered fortunes of his family by piratical expeditions.

He was captured by the Turks in January, 1603 and kept imprisoned in Constantinople until December, 1605.
  • Name: Sir Anthony Sherley
  • Birth: 1565
  • Death: 1637
  • Spouse: Frances Vernon
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
In 1579, at the age of 14, Sir Anthony was educated at the Hart Hall at the Oxford University. He received the Bachelor of Arts in 1581, but he was forced to become a soldier due to his family's financial status.

In 1586, he fought in the Netherlands under the Earl of Leicester. In 1591, fought in France under Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, who was related to his wife, Frances Vernon. While in Normandy, he was Knighted by Henry IV of France but this was done without the permission of Elizabeth I, who had him imprisoned until he denounced his Knighthood.

In 1595, he used his relationship to the Earl to acquire funds for a buccaneering expedition along the western coast of Africa, Jamaica and North America. He assembled eight ships and about 400 soldiers. The expedition was struck early in the voyage by disease and mis-fortune.

In early 1597, he turned toward Central America where his forces sacked the poor Jamaican settlement of Santiago de la Vega. Their main purpose was to replenish their supplies but again they found very little booty. Eventually his crew mutinied against him and he was forced to return to London with a single ship.

In 1598, he led a few English volunteers to Italy to take part in a dispute over the possession of Ferrara. This dispute was settled before he reached Venice.

On December 1st 1599, he went to Persia, where he falsely represented himself as an English envoy, gaining him some trading privileges. He was well received by the Shah, Abbas the Great, and was made a Tnirza (prince) and granted trading and other rights to all Christian merchants. In May 1600, he returned to Europe as the Shah's envoy where he visited Moscow, Prague, Rome and other European cities in an attempt to help gain allies for Persia against the Turks. However, when he reached England, the English government would not allow him to return to his own country and he was unsuccessful in his mission.

In 1605, he went to Prague where the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II made him a Count of the Holy Roman Empire and sent him on a mission to Morocco. He then went to Lisbon and Madrid where the King of Spain appointed him the admiral of the fleet. He was supposed to use the fleet to help in the attack against the Barbary Corsairs but instead used it in an unsuccessful expedition against the Island of Mitylene. In 1609, after his failure to support Spain's attack against the Ottomans in the Mediterranean, he lost favor at the Spanish courts. He was stripped of his command but still received a pension.

He remained in Madrid but lived in poverty until he died in 1637.

He published an account of his adventures, Relation of his Trawls into Persia (London, 1613). The original manuscript is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Other written accounts are: Richard Hakluyt's Voyages and Discoveries (1809-1812), The Three Brothers; Travels and Adventures of Sir Anthony, Sir Robert, Persia, Russia, Turkey and Spain by Evelyn Philip Shirley (London, 1825), and Sir Anthony Sherley and His Perisan Adventure (1933).
  • Name: Sir Robert Sherley
  • Birth: 1581
  • Death: July 13, 1628
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
There is no record of the younger years of Robert. He did not attend Oxford University and may not have had any education at all.

Sir Robert Sherley went with his brother, Sir Anthony Sherley, to Persia in 1599 where he met and married a Circassian lady. When Sir Anthony returned to Europe in 1600, Sir Robert stayed in Persia.

In 1608, the Shah, Abbas the Great, sent him on a diplomatic errand to James I and the other European Princes. He went to Poland first and then in June went to Germany where he was given the title of Earl and became a Knight of the Roman Empire. From Germany he went to Florence and then he went to Rome on September 27, 1609. Next he visited Milan, Genoa, and Spain where he arrived at Barcelona in December 1609. He reached England in 1611.

He returned to Persia in 1613 but only stayed for two years before going back to Europe and residing in Madrid. In 1627, he took a third journey to Persia, but soon after reaching that country he died at Kazvin (Qazvin) on July 13th, 1628.
  • Name: Henry Sherley
  • Birth: NA
  • Death: October 31, 1627
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
Henry Sherley was a dramatist who was murdered in London on October 31, 1627.
  • Name: Thomas Sherley (3)
  • Birth: 1638
  • Death: 1678
  • Spouse: NA
    • Children: NA
      • Grandchildren: NA
Thomas Sherley's A Philosophical Essay is an important early work in mineralogy which shows the strong influence of Jean Baptiste van Helmont. In this work, Sherley argues that all rocks and minerals are formed by seeds (or seminal principles) and water.


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