Walter Shirley, of Staunton in Leicester, brother of the fourth Earl Ferrers, matriculated at University College Oxford in 1742 (B.A. New College 1746). He was rector of Loughrea, County Galway and chaplain to his first cousin, the countess of Huntingdon. Through this connection he became acquainted with John Wesley and was an important figure in the Methodist movement, for which he was reprimanded by the Bishop of Clonfert. In 1770 Shirley engaged in a public dispute with Wesley over the doctrine of justification by faith. He was a popular hymn writer.
On the great importance of time. A sermon. 1759.
Gospel repentance. A sermon. 1760.
Twelve sermons preached upon several occasions. Also, An ode on the judgment day. 1761.
A narrative of the principal circumstances relative to the Rev. Mr. Wesley's late conference. 1771.