Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Conway House


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;
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, of Finaghy House (1784-1844), dsp;
Matthew, of Finaghy House and Woodbourne;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat.
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY (1790-1838), of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and had issue,
John, his heir;
William, succeeded his brother;
EDWARD, of whom we treat;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The third son,

EDWARD CHARLEY (1827-68), of Conway House, Dunmurry, County Antrim, wedded firstly, Mary, daughter of A Caldecott, of Woodford Hall, Essex, and had a daughter,
Mary Caldecott, m Captain George Leslie Poë JP DL RN.
He espoused secondly, Catherine Jane, daughter of Jonathan Richardson, and had issue,
Edward (Rev), dsp;
Ernest William Ralph (1864-9);
Edith Margaret; Kathleen Isabel Airth.
CONWAY HOUSE, Dunmurry, Belfast, was a two-storey Victorian mansion with a symmetrical front of two shallow, curved bows and a central projection.

A pillared and balustraded veranda ran on either side, joining to a single wing.

At the other end there was a pilastered conservatory.

An Italianate tower rose from the roof above a bracket cornice.

In 1852, William Charley, who had succeeded to Seymour Hill, gave land to his younger brother, Edward, to build a house for his first wife Mary.

Edward named it Conway after the local landowner, Lord Hertford (also Baron Conway).

The house was then occupied, until his death in 1892, by the Lord Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, the Rt Rev William Reeves.

Thereafter it was sold by the executors of Edward Charley's brother, William, to John D Barbour, of Hilden, father of Sir Milne Barbour Bt. 

Sir Milne lived at Conway for many years until his death in 1951.

At one time the Charley crest stood over the front door.

The Conway Hotel

Conway House operated for many years as a hotel operated by Trusthouse Forte.

First published in February, 2011.


Andrew Lomax said...

Really interesting seeing as Chorley is just a few miles north of here. I never knew of such history although I recognise the name being one of the "sacrificial lambs" in the Jacobite Rebellion where the real perpetrators got away with it, namely the Standish family near Wigan and close to Chorley. Meetings were held at Standish Hall and during the 1920's (I think) papers relating to the plot were found in a wall at Standish Hall.

More here: -

Anonymous said...

And Now today we have horrible housing al over this lovely area..

MIchael Draper said...

My grandfather, Richard Draper, was Land Steward for Sir Milne Barbour and I lived on the estate as a child during WWII, when our Dunmurry home was occupied by military personnel. Visited recently from NZ and drove around the estate. The gatehouse, where we lived, still stands, though boarded up now. Anyone know what happened to the beautiful gardens that were here? I have a great photo of these gardens, with ponds etc., which I could post.

Unknown said...

We are living in the old semidetached cottages where apparently the chauffeur and the chef used to live. Would love to see any old photos of the area

Morris Draper said...

Morris Draper.

I have been researching my family history and came across our first cousin's comments re
Conway house.

Regarding our grandparents Richard an Annie who arrived at Conway at the end of the 1800's. They had 5 Children
3 girls Winnfred, Daisy and Mable who dies in her teens and 2 boys Stephen and Ronnie.

Winnifred married William Fox and had 2 children Howard and Daphne who was killed by a
light aircraft that crashed where she was playing.

Daisy married James Stewart from Belfast and emigrated to New Zealand and set up a large
sheep ranch in Purekohe South Aukland.

Stephen our farther married Charlotte Foye from Belfast having 3 children 2 girls and
myself all still alive, I will be 80 in a couple of months and my 2 sisters are in their
mid 80's.

Ronnie married Doreen having 2 boys Richard, the eldest and Michael.Our father Stephen started work in Hilden (Barbour Thread's) in 1917, in 1939 he was posted to the Dublin
office to develop the thread trade in the south of Ire where there was at that time a
large shoe and leather trade. After moving to Dublin we made many visits to Gran and Grandad at Conway and stayed with Ronnie and Doreen in Dunmurray.

In the early 1950's Lindustries (Barbour Threads) took over the I.T.M.Co Ltd. to service
this trade.Barbour's supplied all the yarns and technical support for this.

Ronnie father's brother started around the same time in Hilden but emigrated to New Zealand
in the early 1960's

I started in Hilden mill in 1955 and in March 1960 was appointed to I.T.M.Co ltd as sales
Manager to develop the fine synthetic threads sales to the clothing trade as well as the
shoe trade and other outlets.

I succeded my father as manager and director in 1967 after 50 years of service with Lindustries (Barbours) and I have his silver salver that was presented to him by the board
of Lindustries. At this time there was well over 100 years service with Barbours cumulative
unbroken between the two brothers and myself.

I left in 1972 to start up my own textile agency.

Back in 1919 my grandfather who was a highly respected rose grower was presented with the
Barbour cup by the Ulster horticultural Society for his roses, this I still have to hand
down the Draper line of which there are four generations in my family which I am very proud

I do have a photo of our grand parents in Conway with some their family early 1900's.

My father Stephen ans his brother Ronnie were two of the founding members of Derryaghy Cricket Club and I have a photograph the first 1st X1 which our father was captain, he
also played hockey for South Antrim for a number of years.

The last time I met up with Michael was 1977 when he was in Dublin staying with my Mother
and Father and in fact came to my 40th Birthday party, I have not seen or heard of him
since till I saw his comment.

With regard to his comments re WW11 I or my elder sister do not recall this at all, and
did'nt hear our father mention in conversation

Our grand parents are buried in the graveyard beside Derraghy C of I Church.


Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Gillian O'Hagan, I used to reside at The Cutts a stone throw from Conway House and I used to reside at no 36 which was a quaint Victorian cottage styled house with a very deep well out the back!!! I resided at The Cutts from early 1980s until the late 1990s. As a young girl I was obsessed with the history of the large white Victorian house at 24 The Cutts and used to wander around its large laundry room with wonderful Victorian curving and railings!!! I hope anyone can help? Was this house connected with the Conway house in any way? Thank you and my email is

Unknown said...

Hi Michael, I couldn't believe my eyes when I read you comments on the blog - I'm William Fox's granddaughter and have happy memories of visiting your Mum Dad you and your sisters in Dublin many moons ago. I have just completed a digital photo album of the Draper-Fox family and the first photo is one of Grannnie and Grandad Draper, William, Gladys and Rosemary Fox, Howard,Rhoda and me as a baby with you and your Michael sitting at the front.
Would love to hear from you!!

Unknown said...

Correction to comment 22July - the comment is addressed to Morris. Michael and Richard Draper are seated at the front of the photo.