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Sherley Family
Honor Virtutis Praemium - Honor is the reward of virtue.
"No three persons of one family, ever experienced adventures at the same time so uncommon, and so interesting." Author Unknown

Sherley Motto

The family motto is Honor Virtutis Praemium which translates to: "Honor is the reward of virtue."

Sherley Name

The name Sherley comes from the English name Shirley or the Norwegian name Sjoli(e).
  1. Shirley - An English name, was used in various places, but all were based upon the same Old English words: scir (bright) and leah (woods or clearing).
  2. Sjoli, Sjolie - A Norwegian name, was derived from a farmstead on a hill near the sea. sjo (sea or lake) and li (hillside).
The name Shirley is an old Anglo-Saxon habitation name that was first used in the parish of Shirley found in Derbyshire, Surrey Hampshire and the West Midlands. A habitation name is one where the surname of a person is derived from pre-existing town, village, parish, or farmstead.

Variations of the name are: Shirley, Sherley, Shurley, Shirleigh, Shirly, Sherly, and others.

The first known record of the name Shirley was in Derbyshire. Shirley, Derbyshire is a small village near the town of Ashbourne. It is situated in the countryside on top of a small hill. In the Domesday Book, which was written in 1086, the Shirley village is mentioned as belonging to Henry de Ferrers. In the 19th century, the church was led by Rev Charles Fancis Powys, who was the great nephew of Thomas Powys. The Powys were cousins of the Shirley family who were direct descendants of Earl Ferrers, the first Sheriff of the County. This shows a continuous line from Henry de Ferrers to the nineteenth century Shirleys.

The Domesday Book (commonly called the Day of Judgement) was the record of the great survey of England, executed for William I of England.

No one knows exactly when or why the name Sherley appeared but more than likely it was a clerical error when writing down the name Shirley for a birth certificate or baptismal record. When I was younger, I was told a story about it's origin but there is no evidence that the story is real.

Once there was an English Lord who died leaving his estate to his two sons. The elder son felt that the estate should belong to him since he was the oldest but the younger son had stayed at home and helped his father when he fell ill. They decided to fight a dual and the winner would take over the castle and estate. The loser would have to leave and could no longer use the family name Shirley. The younger son lost the dual and changed his name to Sherley.

The book The Sherley Brothers by Evelyn Philip Shirley (1848) states that the first person to use the spelling Sherley was Ralph Sherley, the Great Grandfather of Thomas Sherley (The Elder). Ralph Sherley was the son of Ralph Shirley from his second wife, Alice Cockayne. The elder Ralph Shirley also had a son named Ralph Shirley by his first wife, Joan Basset. Which could explain the name change to avoid confusion between the half brothers.

Sir Thomas Sherley (The Elder) was an English Lord who died and left behind three sons: Sir Thomas Sherley, Sir Anthony Sherley, and Sir Ralph Sherley. These are the Sherley Brothers that Evelyn Philip Shirley wrote about in her book.