This website is an updated and sister site of LADYISLE.COM which itself will be updated when this site is fully activated.
John Kirby is the inspiration of this site. It was my grandfather, Ralph Miller Kirby who inadvertently started what is becoming a lifelong quest.
When I was very young I asked my Grandfather “What was your dad like?”. His reply was “I never knew my dad”. “Come on grampa everyone knows who their dad is tell us what you know”. How right he was and how naive I was. He never probably did know his father and it was only in 2015 after nearly 40 years of searching that I found the answer. Of course grampa is no longer around to tell him. He would probably be fascinated and even astonished. The detective story may be more interesting to some, but as yet I still have no picture of John Kirby.
Cotswold Kirby’s is now a starting point for many people, not just me,some of whom I have met and some who do not even know me. Maybe though I now know a wee bit about them. No family is made up of one name either. The Kirby women married into other family names and the Kirby men married women of other families who are just as interesting and part of this.
The most important person of all is our first currently known Kirby, Simon Kirby or Simonis Kirby, a shepherd who married Dorothy Manning and lived in Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. He was born around 1627.
Places are almost as important as people. Moreton in Marsh in Gloucestershire is just our particular starting point. We may still not know all the children that were born and we do not know what happened to several of them or when they died. Maybe they moved away? So the family could still be be much bigger.
In the 1700’s families moved to Over Norton and Chipping Norton. In the early 1800’s connections were made to Shipston on Stour, Oddington, Bourton on the Hill, Evenlode, and Stratford on Avon. The biggest change took place in the Mid 1800’s, following the industrial revolution, caused the movement of employment on the the land and villages, led to the population pull to Birmingham. Aston in particular was a great source of employment. Joseph Kirby and his wife Lucy Payne moved to South Wales, then Cornwall before moving back to Moreton, whilst their children were in London, Henley, Bouton on the Water, Broadway, and Ayrshire. By the 1900’s few Kirby’s or their descendants were living in Moreton, even more, were now in Birmingham but also Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Rowley Regis, Yardley, Long Eaton and even Ayrshire. Today the descendants are spread even further.
But what of other Kirby families in the Cotswolds? Undoubtably there are more connections to be made particularly as there are a number of Kirby families in surrounding villages showing up in the censuses from 1841 onwards. What we need to find is a Will that links them to Moreton in Marsh. One such already helped in linking the Plumb’s from over Norton and the Kemp’s from Stratford on Avon.
Other likely related Kirby’s could include those at Whatcote where even today there is a “Kirby Farm” and what of villages like Blockley?
This story surely will grow.