July 2000 Shirley England Tour
By Betty Shirley
What a trip!!! I was delighted to be back in England and to see everyone again! I can only say that I am so glad I carried through on making the trip. I thought at times I should cancel the trip because our numbers dropped from the 40 who said they were seriously interested in going to 13 people who actually went. We made a few adjustments and went anyway and had a grand time. Thanks to all of you who went with me.
A BIG thanks to all of those in England who made our trip memorable. It is because of your kindness in having us and putting forth the effort to make our visit special that we have come home with such fond memories. Thank you!
I must also give praise to our coach company who worked closely with me in the planning stages and for selecting the best coach driver they had to escort us all over England. We had a fun time on the coach and we think the coach driver, John, had as much fun as we did. I doubt he will forget us anytime soon. I hope he will send an email adding a little something about the trip from his point of view. The last day we traveled with him, a couple sitting in the rear of the coach wrote a song for the group to sing to John at the appropriate time. I don't think John ever had that happen before. The words, written in a very short time (an hour?) and for a bit of fun go like this... (taken from various things that happened on the trip or conversations on the coach).
ODE TO JOHN BARR
(our coach driver)
Tune... "My Favorite Things"
John Barr, our driver, we'll have a few words now
You filled up our cooler and shared all your know how
A history buff, who shared facts along the road
Too bad not one of us understood the brogue
Lugging our bags and marking our maps
Taking our picture while we all took naps
Drinks in the bar and "good morning my love"
Who needs a wife with our Shirley hugs?
When the sheep came - he yelled "mint sauce"
"Bloody women", a pain we know
Now don't you be late darlin - Thank God it's 5
Antique shops are closed.. ho ho.
Now as our trip ends we really must thank you
We'll miss tales of doggie & the goldfish song too
For this whole trek you never did bore us
We even had fun being lost in Sherwood Forest
Now we leave you, we will miss you
All your stories each day
And if you don't see us back in U.K.
We invite you to come to the U.S.A.
From: The Bloody Shirleys
Places we visited on our Tour of England 2000
I will post a few pictures for some of the places listed.
1. Stratford Upon Avon
2. Royal Shakespeare Theater (in Stratford Upon Avon)
3. Warwick Castle
4. Ettington Park (the original seat of the Shirley family)
5. Astwell House
7. Shirley Village
8. Staunton Harold
9. Breedon on the Hill
10. Chartley Castle (ruins)
11. Sherwood Forest
12. Scrooby Church (The church of the Pilgrims)
13. Boston (where the Pilgrims were imprisoned)
14. Garsdon Manor (home of the 1st Earl Ferrer and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Washington)
19. Ote Hall
20. Isfield Village
22. Elizabethan Feast
23. Pevensey Castle
A few Emails from our fellow travelers
Received from Mary Rosier on Aug 5th, 2000
The Shirley Family Trip far exceeded my expectations. If I used only one word
to express my opinion - it would be AWESOME. I enjoyed everything about the trip
- the travel of approximately 400 miles between Boston and Brighton gave us an
expansive view of the beautiful countryside and many villages. The coach was
comfortable with a table between the seats that faced each other. Our coach
driver was so friendly and helpful. Every minute had been planned to include
many places of interest en route to Shirley family sites. The hotels in which we
were lodged were comfortable and some were very unique. The dinner meals were
all delicious and we enjoyed
visiting and getting to know each other better.
Ettington Park was my favorite place. I think the fact that Hugh and his wife joined us there made it special. I felt overwhelmed by the grandness and beauty of the many ancestral homes. It seemed that each one was larger and more majestic than the last we had visited. And we were so graciously received by the current residents.
I especially enjoyed the Festival at Shirley Village where we mingled with other Shirley family members and people of the community. Earl Ferrers and his wife and son were cordial and wanted to get to know us better. I was touched by his explanation at his Mother's graveside of how they had to relinquish ownership of Staunton Harold Manor.
I was emotionally impressed by the special service held for us by the Rector in the Shurley Chapel where Shurley family members are entombed in beautiful crypts.
I wouldn't take anything for having made this trip and so very thankful for the opportunity. I thank Betty Shirley from the bottom of my heart for her untiring devotion in making this trip possible.
As for the other places we visited, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Brighton were my favorites. I would like to return and do it all over again.
Mary Shirley Rosier
Note... Mary speaks of Hugh and his wife meeting us at Ettington. Hugh is the younger son of Major John Shirley, owner of Ettington.
Received from Frances Scruby Aug 7th, 2000
Your July Shirley Association trip to England surpassed my greatest expectations. It was a masterpiece of planning that provided history, geneology, entertainment, and assured entrance to homes, gardens, and churches that seemed almost magically opened to us. That we could visit these places had to be brought about by hard work and much communication with your English friends and contacts, who obviously hold you in high esteem.
The trip on Day One through Oxford to Stratford on Avon in time for the
performance of Shakespeare's Henry IV (in which a Shirley is immortalized for
his sacrificial death wearing the King's clothes in the Battle of Shrewsbury)
set the ambience for subsequent days. Day Two's
trip to Warwick Castle further set the atmosphere for the historic treat five miles from Stratford at Ettington Park (leased to a luxury hotel chain). Ettington Park is where Shirleys originated and where they were "lording it" when William the Conqueror was still a river pirate.
Ettington Park is a dream of an ancestral manor - lovely gardens, elegant facades, richly appointed interiors, and an ancient chapel on the grounds where many ancestors worshiped and are buried. Then it was brought home to us that descendants of this great house are doing well when Hugh and Lucy Shirley arrived from London to join our party and show us after dinner a video of the Domesday Celebration at Ettington.
It would seem that anything following this visit would be an anticlimax, but it was not so. Historic Shirley houses, churches, and history lessons followed day after day. My heart warms in recollection of the afternoon at the Music Festival in Shirley village, where we were welcomed as "prodigals" by the entire village. Robert Shirley, Earl Ferrers, and his Countess, along with his sons and their wives, couldn't have been more welcoming. I discussed with the Earl a recent quote from him in News Week that his family has held an hereditary title for 700 years. Several villagers reminisced about the kindness of American paratroopers stationed nearby in World War II.
Since I was the only Scrooby (spelled Scruby) in the group, it was especially significant to me to visit Scrooby Church and to learn of its importance in launching the Pilgrim fathers to America. My husband's family will all receive a print of Scrooby Church.
Thank you again, Betty, for this wonderful experience. I will treasure every moment of it.
Frances Shirley Scruby
Received Aug 8th, 2000
Summary of our Trip to England.
by Naomi (Noochie) Wood
Well of course the first thing I noticed was the weather. When I left Texas
it was HOT to say the
least. When Sue and I arrived in London on July 5th, it was cold and raining. I for one liked it, being as I am so hot natured. However, there were days that were downright cold.
Their country side is so beautiful, flowers blooming everywhere. Every yard, no matter how small had flowers blooming. Hanging baskets were everywhere in the towns and villages.
The first night with all 13 of us together was in Stratford Upon Avon, what a beautiful place. Some of us attended the Royal Sheakspearean Theater, and saw "Romeo and Juliet" , while others walked around the town or rested. I very much enjoyed the play, being a theater person myself.
The next day we went to Warwick Castle, which was interesting to see how
people in that time period lived and worked. Then we went to the home of the
Shirley's "Ettington Park" just wonderful. I, among others in our
group said that we felt like we had come home, seriously. But let me tell you
folks, it ain't a bad place to come home to. We were served a lovely dinner and
then retired to the drawing room for some live piano music. Hugh and Lucy
Shirley, from London
came by and we watched videos of the 1986 "900th Anniversary Trip" also a video on the "Doomsday Book" that Hugh had brought for us to see.
The next day we left Ettington Park and went to George Washington's
ancestorial home "Sulgrave Manor" then on to Shirley Village where we
were welcomed by the Earl of Ferrers in person. He and his wife and several
members of his family were there for the festival. Earl Ferrers walked with us
to the church and showed us where his parents were layed to rest. We all had
dinner together, with the villagers. Village of Shirley is a lovely small
village that has a very long
history, all connected to the Shirleys.
We saw many places while we were there like Staunton Harold, Breedon on the Hill, Wiston Manor, Ote Hall, Isfield Village, Preston Manor, Chartley Castle ruins, with lunch at Chartley Manor, served by Sarah Allen. What a lovely and lively lady, and a wonderful lunch. Thank You , Sarah.
While at Isfield Manor we had a beautiful lunch, and were the guest of Mr and Mrs. Andrew Tillard. What gracious hosts they were, so friendly to a group of strangers, they couldn't have been more sweet. Thank You, Mr. and Mrs. Tillard for a wonderful day.
To sum it up folks, I had a wonderful time. I enjoyed meeting each one of the group that we traveled with, I feel that we will remain friends forever.
And now to Mrs. Betty Shirley, without all of your planning and it had to be hard work, things would not have gone so well, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, for a fantastic trip, that I will relive over and over in my thoughts and dreams. May you receive all the treasures you deserve.