Shelley inherited the baronetcy upon the death of his grandfather in 1844, becoming the 3rd Baronet, of Castle Goring, Sussex. He married Jane Gibson on 22 June 1848, who had previously been married to the Hon. Charles Robert St. John, son of the 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke and the Viscountess Bolingbroke, Baroness Hompesch.
The couple had no children, although they adopted Bessie Florence Gibson, the daughter of Edward Gibson who was possibly Jane Gibson's brother. Bessie Gibson married Lieutenant-Colonel Leopold James Yorke Campbell Scarlett, and was the mother of Shelley, Robert and Hugh Scarlett, the 5th, 6th and 7th Barons Abinger respectively.