SHIRLEY, Francis (c.1524-78), of West Grinstead, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. c.1524, 1st s. of Thomas Shirley of West Grinstead by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Marmaduke Gorges alias Russell of Gloucester, Glos. m. by 1555, Barbara, da. of Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxon. and Dedisham, Suss., 2s. inc. Thomas† 2da. suc. fa. 28 Apr. 1544.1
Collector of customs, Southampton, Hants in 1553-4; j.p. Suss. 1564-d.; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1573-4.2
According to the inquisition taken on his father’s lands in January 1545 Francis Shirley was then of age, yet in May 1546 it was as ‘a minor in the King’s hands’ that he was granted custody of Buddington manor in Wiston, Sussex, and his own wardship and marriage. In view of his mother’s suppression of his father’s will his age may have been misrepresented in 1545 in an effort to safeguard his interest. When she died in August 1557 Francis Shirley was a prisoner in the Fleet for a debt to the crown of £507 shared by Henry Carey, James Hardwick of Derbyshire, and Henry Peckham but he had instructed his wife and servants to enter the West Grinstead house and lands, which his mother had retained; they did so, and his wife sold some plate to maintain the household. His brother William Shirley, as administrator of their mother’s estate, then took the dispute to Chancery and at the same time sued the constable of West Grinstead and two of Francis Shirley’s servants in the Star Chamber for theft and violence, but Francis Shirley was to remain in possession of West Grinstead for the rest of his life. Among his other conflicts was one with the 9th Lord la Warr in 1552 over the title to East Court, a house in West Grinstead, which Shirley defended by force at the cost of a reprimand from the Council but which (Sir) Richard Sackville II as official arbitrator awarded to la Warr. Shirley’s conduct in