1st Shirley Trip to England 

May 1985

By Betty Shirley

I flew to England arriving on May 28th and went directly to Ettington, the original seat of the Shirley family. My main concern was to see the changes made during the past year since I was there. I knew the manor house was being redone as a 5 star hotel and I worried if the fireplace with the Shirley Coat of Arms would be there. When I stepped in the door, there it was in fine shape. Everything was great. They restored the place keeping the Shirley heritage alive. I was very pleased! As you can see, the hotel had just opened a little more than 2 weeks before I arrived. I was treated royally. 

Ettington is a very impressive place to stay. I enjoyed every minute of it. These photos show  just a sampling of the beautiful estate that it is. The purpose of this trip to England was to make final plans for the 1986 trip when I would be bringing over 100 Shirleys to England from the United States to participate in the the 900th Anniversary of Ettington.

On May 31st, I met with Major John and Evelyn Shirley and Phillip, their son, at Ettington. We spent the afternoon session planning the special festivities for the next year.  Also joining us was a event planner. (Unfortunately, he passed away just a few weeks before the 1986 trip. It left us in a muddle, but we worked our way thru it at the time). We had a lovely dinner that evening in the hotel dinning room at Ettington. 

Over the next few days, I visited the Village of Shirley, Staunton Harold, Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire, Tamworth Castle, Brailesford, Wiston, Isfield, Preston and other places making plans for our trip the next year.

June 8th I rode a train to Norfolk where the Earl Ferrers and his family live. They had invited me to come for a visit for that weekend.  The evening I arrived, I stayed in a hotel across from Norwich Cathedral and the next morning the Earl came to pick me up at the hotel to attend Sunday services in the Cathedral. This was quite an experience. I walked in a side door with the Earl's daughter and we were seated on the platform at the very front of the church. The pews were on each side of the platform facing the pulpit. It seemed so formal that I was hesitant to look to my left to view the audience seated out in front. Then the procession started and I realized the Earl, in his robe, was leading the procession. I learned he was a Stewart of the Cathedral. After the service, we gathered at a home for a nice lunch. Those attending where the officiating  members of Cathedral. I honestly cannot tell you who they were, but they seemed to be people of position. They were friendly and made conversation with me. Since I was from California I added a little something to the gathering, I suppose. Later in the afternoon, the Earl and his daughter took me to their house. It is a very large manor home. 


Here are the original prices for accommodations at Ettington. 

Ettington Hotel Brochure

Fireplace with Shirley Coat of Arms

Front door to Ettington on right

Stairs where female ghost has been seen many times


















Guests Sitting Area      

Shakespear Room

(My room)

The Shakespear Room


   Inside Chapel at Ettington

Shirley Monument in Chapel at Ettington

Inside Chapel at Ettington

Inside Chapel at Ettington


Ettington Hotel on left, and in the center, new rooms for overnight accommodations,

 old Chapel and Tower on right behind the trees 

Outside of Chapel at Ettington, part of wall is missing


Earl Ferrers Manor house

My room was the upstairs corner room in the front  (center of photo)


My room at the Earl Ferrers home in Norwich

Another view of my room at Earl Ferrers home