Richard Shireburne 

(c1626-1689) - the 4th Richard

This Richard, like his father, lived through a period of turmoil which led to notable suffering for his faith.  

There were the Civil Wars with a doubtless unwelcome visit by Cromwell to Stonyhurst.  

In 1667/8, shortly before his father’s death, Richard (the 4th), his wife and others of the family were convicted of recusancy (failure to attend the Established Church), while, in 1679, the notorious Titus Oates named Stonyhurst as 'the centre of a damnable Jesuit plot', forcing Richard to flee.  He was afterwards known as “The St.  Omer’s Boy”, referring to his place of refuge in France. Significantly, perhaps, it was Jesuits from St Omer who were later settled in Stonyhurst and formed the College that stills exists today.  


The brief reign of James II appeared to promise much for the Shireburnes, Richard being appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Riding of Yorkshire in September 1688.  The invasion of William of Orange and the subsequent flight of James occurred shortly afterwards and in the summer of 1689, Richard was identified as a potential plotter loyal to the exiled monarch.  Seized by the militia, he was taken first to Preston and then to Manchester, where he was kept under house arrest at the Bull's Head Inn and died there in August 1689.


Richard was an active philanthropist: he endowed a 'free' school at Hurst Green, made bequests to the poor and founded an alms house.


Richard married Isabel Ingleby in 1649.  They had two sons (Richard and Nicholas) and two daughters, one of whom - Elizabeth - survived to marry William Weld; it was through her descendants that Stonyhurst became the Catholic College it is today, further to the St. Omer connection.  (See section on Mary Shireburne for details of how the Weld family ultimately inherited the Stonyhurst estate.)

It was Isabel who had erected - 'at her owne charge' - the four linked memorials on the North wall of the Shireburne Chapel which are to her father-in-law (Richard d.1667/8), her husband and herself and her son (Richard d.1690).  She died in 1693.