Select Shelton Miscellany

Here are some Shelton stories and accounts over the years:

Shelton Hall in Norfolk

Ralph Shelton was the first Shelton to rise into Tudor prominence.  He was present at the coronation of Henry VII in 1485, was knighted, and built the family home of Shelton Hall.

Sir Ralph’s semi-fortified “investment in personal safety” at Shelton has long since disappeared.  But some idea of what Shelton Hall looked like can be got from the still-standing Oxborough Hall.  Sir Ralph’s daughter had married Sir Edmund Bedingfeld and their house, Oxborough, is thought to have been built along the lines of Shelton Hall.

The only remains of Shelton Hall today are the below ground-level walls and the wetness of the moat

Sir Ralph Shelton Who Died in 1628

Sir Ralph Shelton, born at Shelton Hall in Norfolk in 1560, was the 26th in line of the Lords of Shelton that dated back to the twelfth century.  He was the last to have had a royal connection.  He served as the minister to Spain in 1611 and subsequently was secretary to the Prince of Wales (who became Charles I).  He had previously, around 1606, sold his Norfolk estates.

Sir Ralph died in 1628 off the coast of France – being caught up in a skirmish between Catholics and Huguenots on the Isle of Rhea.

He was married twice, to Dorothy Jermyn and to Jane West, but apparently had no children.

However, some sources have suggested that there were in fact four children to these marriages.  One of these children was said to have been the James Shelton who came to Virginia in June 1610 with his relative Lord Delaware.  Other sources have disputed this connection.

John Shelton's Plantation House Rural Plains in Hanover County, Virginia

There was a historical bed in John Shelton’s plantation home Rural Plains.  It was said to have been listed in the Doomsday book in 1086 and that Queen Elizabeth used the bed at one time.  For a time it was also said to have been located at Shelton Hall in Norfolk.

Visitors to the house have included Dolly Payne (later Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison), General John Hancock, and Patrick Henry who spent the first years of his married life there.  Patrick Henry had married John Shelton’s daughter Sarah there in 1754.  According to
popular lore the marriage took place in the house's first floor parlor.

Dating back to the 1720’s, Rural Plains is the oldest home in the United States in continuous possession of one family. It was damaged by Confederate cannonballs during the Civil War in 1864.  Rural Plains remained with the Shelton family until 2001.  The house was then dedicated to the National Park Service in 2006 as part of a 124-acre historic park

The Shelton Trek from Alabama to Arkansas

After the death of her husband George Sheltonin 1857, his widow Jane - with her son George and two of her married daughters Laura and Mary and their families - left Alabama for a new home in what turned out to be Arkansas.

They had two wagons, with two yokes of cattle to each wagon.  All of the family walked, except for the little children who were too small to walk. They had two big tents that they would put up at night to sleep in.

They went by land until they reached the Tennessee river, then by boat as far as Cairo, Illinois.  From there, they went to St. Louis and again traveled by land until they reached Kansas.

They stayed awhile in Kansas with John Kirkland and his wife, Olleva who was Jane's sister.  However, they soon decided to move onto Arkansas.  There Jane's daughter Elizabeth and her husband were already living. 

The area in which they lived later became Logan county.  Jane lived there until her death in 1888.  Son George, however, died in a Civil War prisoner-of-war camp in 1863.

Thomas Shelton Transported to Australia

Thomas Shelton appeared to have gone from Arnold to Papplewick in Nottinghamshire to commit his crime of stealing oak.  Following his conviction in early 1832, he was initially sent to the convict hulk Justitia, moored on the Thames, leaving behind a wife Anne and eleven children.

He had to wait until October and move to Plymouth before he could embark on the Circassion.  It took 125 days to make the journey to Tasmania and 186 male prisoners, including Shelton, were disembarked at Hobart in February 1833.

There is some evidence that seven years of transportation failed to cure Shelton of his criminal ways.  He received a second sentence of transportation, this time for life, in 1844.

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