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Walter Shirley (1726-1786)


Walter Shirley was born at Staunton Harold in Leicestershire, the grandson of Robert, first Earl Ferrers. He was first cousin to the Countess of Huntingdon and brother to the notorious Earl Ferrers, who was hanged at Tyburn in 1760 for murder. He was educated at Oxford and after his ordination was presented to the Irish living of Loughrea. Shirley was converted by Henry Venn and exercised an evangelical ministry despite the opposition of his bishop.

Shirley played a major role in the controversy of 1770 over the relationship of the Methodist Church to the doctrines of Calvinism.

His wife was Henrietta Maria, daughter of John Phillips of Dublin.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)

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