The Sherley Family

Honor Virtutis Praemium
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The Sherley Family

Sherley Motto

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

Sherley Coat of Arms

The Shirley Coat Of Arms was first found in Derbyshire where the Shirley's held a family seat that can be traced back to ancient Anglo-Saxon times and before the Norman Conquest in 1066. There is no difference between the Shirley Coat of Arms and the Sherley Coat of Arms.

Sherley Name

The English name Sherley is a habitation or location name from a varitey of place: Debyshire, Hamphire, Surrey, and the West Midlands. All wer based upon the same Old English words: scir (bright) and leah (woods or clearing).

The Norwegian name Sherley (Sjoli, Sjolie) was dervied from a farmstead on a hill near a sea. sjo (sea or lake) and li (hillside).

Variations of the name are: Shirley, Sherley, Shyrley, 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, 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, we were told a story about how the name came into use.
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 his 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. I hope to one day find a copy of this book so that I can gather some additional information.
"No three persons of one family, ever experienced adventures at the same time so uncommon, and so interesting." Author Unknown
"The antient extration of the Sherleys in this County of Sussex, is sufficiently known, the last age saw a leash of brethren of this family, severally eminent; This mindeth me of the Roman Horatii, though these expressed themselves in a different kind for the honor of their Country." Fuller, Worthies of Sussex
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