Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Finaghy House

WILLIAM CHARLEY OWNED 155 ACRES OF LAND AT SEYMOUR HILL, COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of CHARLEY, or CHORLEY, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster during the 17th century, at first in Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where

JOHN CHARLEY (c1659-1743), of Belfast, was father of

RALPH CHARLEY (1674-1756), of Finaghy House, County Antrim, who wedded Elizabeth Hill, and had an only child,

JOHN CHARLEY (1711-93), of Finaghy House, who married Mary, daughter of John Ussher, and had issue,

Matthew, died unmarried;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Hill, died unmarried;
Jane, died unmarried.
The eldest surviving son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
MATTHEW, succeeded his brother;
William;
Edward;
Hill;
Annabella; Eliza Jane.
Mr Charley was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1784-1844), of Finaghy House, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

MATTHEW CHARLEY (1788-1846), of Finaghy House and Woodbourne, who married, in 1819, Mary Anne, daughter of Walter Roberts, and had issue,
JOHN STOUPPE, his heir;
Walter Matthew;
William Thomas (Sir);
Cecilia Anna; Suzanne Caroline; Letitia.
Mr Charley was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN STOUPPE CHARLEY JP DL (1825-78), of Finaghy House, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1875, who espoused, in 1851, Mary Stewart, daughter of Francis Forster, and had issue,
John Francis Ralph (1853-55);
John Francis William (1857-99), k/a;
Walter Roberts Matthew, emigrated to Canada;
Ralph Mansfield, died in infancy;
Mary Grace Leader; Constance Stewart; Charlotte Elizabeth Forster.

FINAGHY HOUSE, Belfast, located in the townland of Ballyfinaghy, dates back to the late-17th century.

It is thought, indeed, that the original house was erected ca 1695.

It was first built as the residence of Richard Woods, but was bought in 1727 by the Charley family, who lived there for five generations.

The two-storey, thatched house was purchased by Ralph Charley.

A mural plaque on the south-west gable records that the Charleys first took possession of the site in 1727.

Finaghy House comprised six reception rooms and twelve bedrooms, and was described by a descendent of the family as 
"an imposing mansion in a large park, with extensive outhouses and stables … a remarkable feature [of the interior] being a revolving fireplace between the drawing-room and the dining-room."
Ralph Charley was a prosperous linen merchant who possessed a number of bleach greens in the Dunmurry area, and later established looms (for the weaving of linen) at Finaghy House.

In 1824 his descendants, John and William Charley, formed the partnership J & W Charley & Co.

Five generations of the Charleys subsequently resided at Finaghy House for more than 150 years.

In the 1830s the Ordnance Survey Memoirs described the house as a commodious two-storey dwelling that continued to possess a thatched roof, remarking that "the walls are nearly four feet thick and run together by grouted lime, similar to other ancient buildings."

The main (two-storey) building was depicted along its present layout, and also featured a number of outbuildings to the north-west side of the house.

It was recorded that these outbuildings were slated,  and had been erected by the Charley family during the last forty years.

The attached two-storey rear return and outbuilding (located to the north-west of the dwelling) had been constructed between the 1830-58.

John Stouppe Charley occupied Finaghy from 1866 until 1885.

Following his death in 1885, Charley’s widow sold the house and its contents to Major and Mrs Brewis.

The Brewises bred corgi dogs: one of which was called “The Queen Mother”.

The first corgi owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was bred in this house. 

James Moore acquired the mansion during the 1890s, and it was during his residence that the formerly thatched building was probably re-roofed and altered into its present appearance.

The most discernible subsequent alteration was the construction of the current single-storey entrance porch.


The Irish census recorded that Finaghy House’s thatched roof was replaced with slate by at least 1901, so it's likely that the house was re-roofed shortly after the building was purchased by Moore about 1890.

The Moores continued to live at Finaghy House until 1930, when the property was acquired by Major and Mrs Tyler.

Finaghy House remained in use as a family home until 1960, when it was converted into a residential care home and renamed Faith House.

Faith House was listed in 1987.

Work was carried out to the two-storey return in 1989-90, when the original windows were replaced and the side porch (located in the courtyard to rear) was altered.

The outbuilding to the north-west side of the original building was replaced with the current two-storey wing at this time, too.

Despite the addition of the modern wing, the original two-storey gable bay to the north-west end of the return (which had been erected between 1833 and 1858) was retained.

Between 1991 and 2011 an additional number of modern extensions were constructed to the north-west and south-west sides of Faith House.

These extensions have considerably increased the capacity of the care home.

First published in March, 2011.

1 comment :

metallica fan said...

I'm from Seymour hill, but I really don't know much about the Charley's , so if there is anyone that can help or knows someone who can and will, please get in contact at....jackobryan@icloud.com It will be great to hear from someone I have read some stuff on the internet but I want to know more...thanks