Shirley village in Derbyshire, is situated off the A52 between Ashbourne and Derby, nearer to Ashbourne. It is a pretty little village, clusted around a fine church and a pub. In 1984 Shirley won the prize for Derbyshire's best kept village in its class. Sutton Brook flows closeby.
Sewallis came from here, ancestor of the great family of Shirley, Earl Ferrers and the Shirleys of Ettington. Sir Thomas Shirley, who died in 1362, was a distinquished soldier. His son, Sir Hugh, died at the battle of Shrewsbury fighting on Henry IV's side and his son, Sir Ralph, was one of Henry V's commanders at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The old moated Shirley Hall, the former manor house of the Shirley's, is now a farm.
The church of St Michael has a 14th century chancel with Perpendicular east windows and south aisle. The tower, north aisle and other windows were added in the 19th century. It contains a late medieval incribed slab to a priest.
Local tradition has it, that Charles Edward Stuart or Bonnie Prince Charlie spent the night in Shirley during the Scottish invasion of England in 1745. His army passed close by on its way to Derby, and it may be that one of his foraging parties came to Shirley in search of food.
One of England's leading religious novelists, John Cowper Powys, born 1872, spent the first 7 years of his life in Shirley, where his father was a vicar. He gave the first chapter of his life story the title 'Shirley'.
The Saracen's Head pub is 200 years old and stands on the site of earlier inns. Sewallis had died fighting the Saracens during the Crusades.