About Shirley Hall Farm

Shirley Hall Farm was previously called Shirley Manor or Shirley Hall and was the ancient home of the Shirley family (who took their name from the village) between 1154 and the late 15th century. The current farmhouse was built in the 16th century but was much altered over the years and had new facades and roofs added in the 19th century. However there was an earlier medieval hall here and it may well have been the site of a Saxon farmstead. In the grounds there are the remains of a medieval moat.

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The farmhouse

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Half-timbered interior walls

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The lounge has a 16C fireplace and 16C oak panelling

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The remnants of the moat

The village of Shirley is about 10 miles NW of Derby and 4 miles SSE of Ashbourne and dates from Saxon Times. Before the Norman Conquest it was part of the lands of a Saxon thane called Sewallis but after the Conquest it was given to Henry de Ferrars - one of William I's knights. In the Domesday Survey of 1086 the village was called 'Scyrle' and there was land for 2 ploughs and it was worth 40 shillings. During the reign of Henry I the land around Shirley was granted to Fulcher, son of Sewallis, as a vassal of Robert Earl Ferrers.

In 1154, in the reign of Henry II, the manor was held by Fulcher's son, called Sewallis like his grandfather. He took the surname 'Scyrle' (later adapted to 'Shirley')' and took up residence in the village. Sewallis de Scyrle went on the 3rd Crusade with Richard the Lionheart and adopted a Saracen's head as part of his crest. The Shirleys were notable for marrying well (they gradually bettered themselves by a succession of good marriages) and for having an unbroken male line of descent - remarkably they can trace an unbroken male line back to pre-Conquest days.

The Shirleys also had a notable medieval record - Sir Ralph Shirley fought in Wales and Scotland with Edward I: his son Sir Thomas Shirley fought at Crecy and Poitiers with the Black Prince during the reign of Edward III: his son, Sir Hugh Shirley was killed at the battle of Shrewsbury fighting for Henry IV (and is mentioned in Shakespeare's play Henry IV part I): and his son, Sir Ralph, fought with Henry V at Agincourt.

In 1468, John Shirley, son of Sir Ralph, transferred the family seat to Staunton Harold in Leicestershire - they had acquired these lands after yet another advantageous marriage. After this date the Shirley family did not normally live in the village.

Sometime after this Shirley Hall Farm became the home of the Goodall family, who were tenants and later owners of the farm for about 450 years. The farm is now the home of Ian and Ruth Crabtree and is a mixed farm - raising cattle (for beef), sheep and harvesting arable crops. Ian and Ruth are committed to 'Nature Friendly Farming' and are members of Conservation Grade.

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The farmhouse lawn

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At work on the farm

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Calves on the farm

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We have several horses on the farm