Name: Robert Shirley
Suffix: 1st Earl Ferrers
Birth: 1650 in East Sheen, Surrey
Death: 25 DEC 1717 in Bath, Somerset
Note: Created Earl
Baptism: 20 OCT 1650 Mortlake, Surrey
Education: Christ Church, Oxford
Occupation: Father of 57 children
PCTS: Statue on monument at Ettington church, Warwickshire, with 2nd wife Selina Finch and their son George.
MEM: Ettington church, Warwickshire: Statue
CHIL: 57 (17 by 1st wife,; 5s, 5d by 2nd wife; 30 illegitimate)
FILE: ~/Documents/Ged Pics mstr/Shirley, Robt 1 E ferrers.jpg
Title: Shirley, Robt 1 E ferrers.jpg
_SIZE: 287.000000 371.000000
_CROP: 31.000000 54.000000 228.000000 286.000000
Change Date: 22 FEB 2010
Had 57 children in all by his two wives and his mistresses.
In 1677, he was created a Baronet. In 1682 his Lordship was appointed Master of the Horse to Catharine Queen Dowager and in 1685 Steward of her Household and one of the Privy Council to King James II. In 1692 he was sworn of the Privy Council to King Willam, and in 1708 to Queen Anne, who in 1711 advanced him to the dignity of a Viscount and Earl by the style and title Earl Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth.
Most of the current (2002) house of Staunton Harold was built between 1677 - 1701.
His grandson Laurence, 4th Earl Ferrers, was the last peer of the realm to be hanged, in 1760, for murder in Britain
Sir Robert Shirley, Baron Ferrers, Viscount Tamworth was created 1st Earl Ferrers in 1711. He was born at East Sheen and baptised at Mortlake, his father being a prisoner in the Tower of London at that time, where he died. Robert married twice, having seventeen children by his first wife who died in 1693. In 1699 he married Selina Finch, the daughter of a London merchant, described as "a young girl who has no portion". She provided him with five sons and five daughters. It has been said that he sired a further thirty children out of wedlock.
At this time the principal residence of the family was Staunton Harold, north of Ashby de la Zouche in Leicestershire. There was also property at Tamworth and Ettington, in Warwickshire and an Irish estate. Robert was descended from, among others, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, executed for treason by Queen Elizabeth.
In 1711 he bought Heath Lane Lodge and it came with about 24 acres of ground; its modest name did not truly describe what was an enormous mansion, the largest in Twickenham. The land extended north across what is now Heath Road, up to the river Crane and south down to adjoin what became Alexander Pope's garden. The property had been owned and perhaps built by Thomas Boucher, reputed to have made, and lost, a fortune by gambling. He died in 1708 leaving a widow who remained in Twickenham until 1734. Boucher's antecedents are not known and it has been suggested that he had been, at one time, a footman in service.
Earl Ferrers extended the estate further by buying the meadow across the road (Cross Deep) at the southern end of his garden and running along the riverside, in 1716. This 11?2 acre piece cost him £960, a high price, perhaps reflecting competition for riverside land in Twickenham. He died, in Bath, on Christmas Day 1717.
His duaghter Selina, by Selina Finch is ancestor of the Hervey-Bathurst, Baronets of Somborne Park, Hampshire.
Robert, Earl Ferrers died in 1717, his estate, by agreement, devolving in equal parts to his four sons: Robert, George, Sewallis and John Shirley. Of these, only George survived and, as the others had died without issue, the whole estate passed to him.
His daus Elizabeth, Mary, both died infants.
Father: Robert Shirley b: 1629
Mother: Catherine Okeover b: ABT 1629 in Okeover, Staffs
Elizabeth Washington b: ABT 1655
- Dorothy Shirley b: 25 MAY 1683
- George Shirley b: 1705
- Selina Shirley