Peter Brown Family History

James Shirley (1796) & Philadelphia Bones

General History

James Shirley & Philadelphia Bones were one of my 5th generation ancestors.

Key Dates:

James Shirley was baptised 14th February 1796 in Godstone, Surrey. He was the son of William Shirley & Sarah Greenaway. He possibly firstly married Mary Miller on 24th September 1820 in Caterham, Surrey (James shown as from Godstone - banns issed 24/9 & 8/10). He married secondly Philadelphia Bones on 9th May 1825 in Godstone, Surrey. James probably died in about February 1881 in Godstone RD, Surrey (aged 88-source 8).

Philadelphia Bones was baptised on 27th May 1810 in Wadhurst, Sussex. She was the daughter of Joseph Bones & Deborah Watchus. She died on 3rd June 1855 (see certificate) and was buried on 8th June 1855 at Blindley Heath, Surrey (aged 49).

Children Returns to 'Top of Page'

James & Philadelphia had five children.

  1. James Shirley was baptised 12th October 1828 in Godstone, Surrey. He married Sohia Strip. Details of James Shirley & Sophia Strip are shown separately as they are direct ancestors.
  2. Richard Shirley was baptised on 21st February 1830 in Godstone, Surrey. He probably married Eliza Cockerell on 8th February 1858 in St Pancras, London. Eliza was the daughter of William and was baptised in 1825 in East Grinstead, Sussex. In 1851 & 1861 Richard was shown as a Policeman and he possibly died in about February 1879 in Poplar, London. Richard & Eliza had three children. (source 9)
    1. Philadelphia Shirley was born about 1859 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
    2. Eliza Emily Shirley was baptised on 20th January 1861 in Camden, St Pancras, London. She probably married Edward John Southee in May 1884 in Stepney, London.
    3. Richard Albert Shirley was born about February 1864 possibly in St Pancras RD, London. He probably died in about May 1886 in Bethnal Green, London ('age 21').
  3. William Shirley was baptised on 29th December 1833, in Godstone, Surrey (parents shown as James & Elizabeth but assumed error) and he was buried there on 16th March 1834 (' aged 14 weeks').
  4. Harriet Shirley was baptised on 15th February 1835 in Godstone, Surrey. She married William Taylor on 3rd May 1852 in Godstone, Surrey. William & Harriet lived at 35 Helena Place, Clerkenwall in 1861 and in 13 Wilmington Place, Holborn, London in 1871/81. William & Harriet had possibly eight children.
    1. Jonathan George Taylor was born about 1856 possibly in St Pancras, London
    2. Charles Edward Taylor was born about 1858 possibly in St Pancras, London
    3. William F Taylor was born about 1860 possibly in St Pancras, London
    4. Rosina Elizabeth Taylor was born about 1861 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
    5. Alice Sophia Taylor was born about 1863 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
    6. Ernest Albert Taylor was born about 1865 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
    7. Edward J Taylor was born about 1867 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
    8. Joseph Edwin Taylor was born about 1869 possibly in Clerkenwell, London
  5. Esther Shirley (Hester) was baptised on 5th November 1837 in Godstone, Surrey.

Personal History Returns to 'Top of Page'


The families of Strip/Streape and Shirley tend to very interconnected with marriages between them and also the families living adjacent to each other. The families tend to be based around the Surrey/Sussex border at Copthorne, Horne (Frogit Heath) and Blindley Heath. Looking at the parish map one can see that the parishes of Tandridge, Godstone & Horne all merge at this point and also are adjacent to Worth & East Grinstead. Frogit Heath is actually in Horne & Godstone parishes and Blindley Heath is actually in Horne, Godstone, Tandridge & Lingfield parishes. The location is some distant from the actual villages of Tandridge and to a lesser extent Godstone. Thus it is likely that the family ancestors arise from Sussex.

James Shirley

Marriage was witnessed by John Shirley and Emma Strip. Unclear who John Shirley is. He is shown on the marriage certificate of his son James as a labourer

Philadelphia Bones

Death was caused by "Burns by her clothes accidentally taking fire". She took 3 days to die.

Verification & Concerns Returns to 'Top of Page'

  1. Other names found in parish registers are Shirley, Sherley, Shurley, Shirly, Sharely, Shearley,
  2. There are no Shirley's etc in the Horne, Lingfield or Limpsfield parish registers.
  3. Philadelphia Bones: Her date of birth (1810) initially appears incorrect as she would have married in 1825 two weeks before her fifteenth birthday. Census information show inconsistency in her age. 1841 census shows her as 30 (1810) . 1851 census shows her as 45 (1805) . Death certificate shows her as 48 in 1855 (1807). Richard Shirley notebook (see below-item 12 ) shows her as 49 in 1853 (shows died in 1853)! and that she was born on 26th December 1803. Baptismal record of Wadhurst shows 1810. As no other Philadelphia Bones exist around this date, the 1810 birth year is assumed correct and she was a very young bride. ( the only other Philadelphia's found were born in 1792 & 1797 which are completely inconsistent with census records and Death certificate.
  4. 1841Census:
    1. 1841 shows: see family top - James 45, Philadelphia 30, James 12, Richard 10, Harriet 7 and Esther 3 living together. (Neighbours were also Sherley :John 45, Sarah 35 (see William 1766 family 5))
  5. 1851 census:
    1. Godstone shows: see family top - James 54, Philadelphia 45, Harriet 18 and Esther 13. James is shown (as with children) as from Godstone and Philadelhia from Ticehurst , Sussex. Actually Phiadephia was baptised in Wadhurst, but her family initially were based in Ticehurst and later presumably moved back there from Wadhusrt as her brother Thomas died in Ticehurst. Alternatively they could have lived close to the parish boundary and went to both churches over time.
    2. City Road, St Luke, Middlesex: see family ref 2 - shows Richard Shirley 21 born Godstone, a Police Constable
  6. 1861 census:
    1. Godstone shows: see family top - James Shirley 65 shown as a lodger with no Old Road
    2. Clerkenwell at Finsbury, London: see family ref 2 - shows Richard Shirley 31 (Godstone), Eliza 34 ( East Grinstead), Philadelphia 2 (Clerkenwell), Eliza 3 mnths (St Pancras)
    3. Clerkenwell at St Pancras, London: see family ref 4 - shows William Taylor 28. Harriett 27, Johnathan G 4, Charles E 2 living at 35 Helena Place, Clerkenwell.
  7. 1871 census :
    1. Godstone: see family top - James Shirley 74 shown as a lodger with living in 'Old Road, Godstone' with John 71 & Sarah 68
    2. Finsbury, Clerkenwell, London shows: see family 2 - Richard Shirley 41 (Godstone), Eliza 40 (East Grinstead), Philadelphia 12 (Clerkenwell), Eliza 10 (St Pancras), Richard A 7 (St Pancras).
    3. Holborn, London: see family ref 4 - shows William Taylor 36. Harriett 35 (Godstone), Johnathan G 14, Charles E 13, William f 11, Rosina E 9, Alice S 7, Ernest A5, Edward J 3, Joseph E 1 living at 13 Wilmington Place, Holborn, London.
  8. 1881 census :
    1. Holborne, London: see family ref 4 - shows Harriet Taylor 49, John George 27 (St Pancras), Charles Edward 25 (St Pancras), Rose Elizabeth 20 (Clerkenwell) , Alice Sophia 18 (Clerkenwell), Ernest Albert 16 (Clerkenwell), Joseph Edwin 14 (Clerkenwell)
  9. The BMD index shows James aged 88 at death which would give a birth year of 1792/3- slightly inconsistent. There was only one other James Shirley death (c February 1851) which cannot be right as he is shown alive on Philadelphia's death certificate.
  10. Esther was shown as Hester in the parish records, but Esther in the BMD index.
  11. Who are John Shirley & Emma Strip who were witnesses of the marriage?
  12. Steve Clarke added: I have been provided with the attachment which appears to be written by Philadelphia's son, Richard Shirley.  The lady who sent it to me, is called Elizabeth Manterfield.  She is a direct descendant of Richard and she has given me permission to share it with you. You will be aware that Richard was a police constable in London.  The document is a page of a book which is described as his pocket book.  I do not believe it is an official police notebook, but it is more akin to some personal notes about the convictions he secured while serving with the Metropolitan Police. The first page, which I have attached, contains the information about Philadelphia's date of birth.  But as it also contains information about her date of death, it is likely that it was written around 40 years after her birth and it is not unreasonable to suggest that she is the source of the date of birth was Philadelphia herself.  If the idea that she married before she legally old enough to do so, then it is logical that she would continue to lie about her age. NOTEBOOK

Documents Returns to 'Top of Page'

Certificates & Official Records

  1. Philadelphia Shirley (Bones) death certificate
  2. James Shirley (snr) Marriage record
  3. Richard Shirley marriage certificate to Eliza Cockrell
  4. James Shirley (1796) 1841 Census



1. Richard Shirley :- Obtained via source : History source says she inherited the photo's via her grandmother.

Richard Shirley (See family ref 2


Richard Shirley Richard Shirley & Family (See family ref 2) Richard Shirley Family


Sources Returns to 'Top of Page'
  1. Godstone Parish Records
  2. Census Records - 1841, 1861, 1871 - British Origins Web site
  3. Census Records - 1851- Godstone District CD
  4. Census Records - 1881 Family Search CD
  5. Census Records - 1901- National Archives
  6. Surrey Marriage Index CD
  7. Sussex Marriage Index CD
  8. FREEBMD (Index of birth, marriages, deaths post 1837)
  9. Rebecca Williams from Holland who is a descendant of William Streape. Email:
  10. IGI (International Genealogical Index: Latter-day Saints) - batches of parish records: see LINKS-Research Web sites