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, left a son,
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;The eldest surviving son,
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Hill, died unmarried;
Jane, died unmarried.
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;Mr Charley was succeeded by his eldest son,
MATTHEW, succeeded his brother;
William;Edward;Hill;Annabella; Eliza Jane.
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;Mr Charley was succeeded by his eldest son,
William Thomas (Sir);
Cecilia Anna; Suzanne Caroline; Letitia.
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, was purchased from Mr Richard Woods, in 1727, by Ralph Charley, a prosperous Belfast merchant.
In 1727, it is recorded that Finaghy House was
...an imposing mansion in a large park with extensive outhouses and stables.The Charley family's armorial bearings were on the outside gables and on a landing half-way up the wide, oak banister stairs.
The coat-of-arms is still engraved on the landing window.
At the time of the house sale in 1885, one of the conditions of sale was that, if the house was demolished, the coat-of-arms was to be returned to the Charley family.
The Charleys were pioneers in the linen industry and it is said that looms were set up in this house in the 18th century.
The new process of bleaching linen cloth with chlorine was perhaps discovered and first used here.
Every 12th of July for about 150 years, until 1972, the Belfast Orangemen used to walk to The Field at Finaghy.
This field was owned by the Charleys, who granted it in perpetuity on the Twelfth to the Orange Order, the "rent" being that the lesson should always be read from the Charley bible during the religious part of the ceremony.
Finaghy House, originally known as Ballyfinaghy House, was built in 1727.
In 1729, it was sold by Richard Woods to Ralph Charley.
The house became known as Finaghy House, which means “fair fields”, as it was then surrounded by green fields.
Five generations of the Charley family lived at Finaghy.
As pioneers in the linen industry, it is said that the looms were set up in this house.
The Charleys developed the linen industry at Seymour Hill in 1822 and Mossvale in 1830.
In 1885, Major and Mrs Brewis purchased Finaghy House from Mrs Mary Stewart Charley, widow of John Stouppe Charley.
The Brewises bred corgi dogs: They named one of their corgis “The Queen Mother”. The first corgi owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was bred in this house.In 1930, Major and Mrs Tyler were the owners of Finaghy House; and in 1960, the house was acquired by the trustees and converted into a residential home to accommodate twenty-four residents.
Finaghy House is now Faith House Eventide Home, a comfortable retirement home in the middle of a large housing estate.
First published in March, 2011.