Shirley, Robert, Sir, 4th Baronet (1629 -1656)
Sir Robert was the second son of Sir Henry Shirley, 2nd Baronet of Ettington in Warwickshire and Staunton Harrold in Leicestershire, and Dorothy, youngest daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Although the family was Catholic, his mother had him educated as a Protestant. He went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, were he was admitted Fellow Commoner 12 August 1645, on which occasion he presented the college with plate and books for their library. He succeeded his elder brother, Sir Charles, in the baronetcy and estates under the wardship of his uncle the Earl of Essex the next year. He married against the wishes of his family Katherine, daughter of Humphrey Okeover of Okeover in Staffordshire, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. On 14 September, the Earl of Essex died intestate, and Shirley inherited a moiety of his estates. A zealous adherent of Charles I, he was imprisoned in the Tower and died there in November 1656, not without suspicion of poison, but probably as a result of smallpox. His younger son Robert was restored to the abeyant barony of Ferrers of Chartley by Charles II on 14 December 1677 and created Viscount Tamworth and Earl Ferrers by Queen Anne in 1711. The library is stated to have been first founded by Sir George, the 1st Baronet, the grandfather of Sir Robert, in the will of the first Earl Ferrers built the library room at Staunton Harold. Books from the library were sold at Sotheby's 16 December 1929, but some books must have been dispersed earlier.