John Farley and Marie Anne Gorri
Galway received a municipal charter from the crown in December 1484. This created the wardenship of Galway, and gave the townsmen control of the large parish church, St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church.
St. Nicholas Church - Galway
Relations between the Old English citizens of Galway and their Irish neighbours were difficult. The native Irish were forbidden unrestricted access into Galway without permission. During the Middle Ages, Galway was ruled by 14 merchant families - the "Tribes of Galway'. International trade flourished as Galway was the main Irish trading port with Spain and France. The population at that time was about 3,000. These would have been good times for the Farleys, who belonged to the Old English merchant class.
After the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Galway was caught between the Catholic rebels and the English garrison at Fort Hill just outside the city. Eventually the mainly Catholic Galway citizens switched sides, and supported the confederate side in 1642. Galway was heavily fortified against a counter attack by the Parliamentary forces of England who in the end were successful in overcoming the confederates. Galway surrended to the Cromwellian forces in 1652 after a 9 month seige; plague and expulsion of the Catholics followed. After the English Restoration in 1660, and the return of Charles II to England, the economy started to improve. However, during the Jacobite troubles, Galway supported James II, and conditions in the city again declined. It would be interesting to see how the Farleys fared during this time. John's occupation, according to the marriage records of his son, Antoine, was as a merchant of Galway. These could have been bad times for the Catholic Farleys.
John Farly and Ann Marie Gorri (or Gorry) lived through a turbulant era into which their son, Antoine, was born. When Antoine left Ireland about 15 years later, his father still operated his business. A mystery about this couple is whether John and Ann Marie had any other children besides Antoine. It would have been unusual at that time for a couple to have only one child, so it can be assumed that there are a number of Farley's in Ireland that we may be distantly related to. On a visit to Ireland I only found one Farley listed in the phone book for the whole county of Galway. One source of information for our ancestors may be St. Nicholas' Church which existed at that time. It is an Anglican church now, but at the time John and Ann Marie lived there, it was a Catholic church, and they may hold records pertinent to this family.
Click on the thumbnails below to see the fashions that John and Ann Marie would have worn in 1660. These are photos of actual costumes worn at that time and were taken during a tour of a clothing exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England in 2002.
Eyre Square, Galway
After the 17th century wars, the Catholic port city was viewed with great suspicion by the authorities. The Popery Act of 1704 stated that no new Catholics could move to Galway. The administration of Galway was confined to Protestant hands. The 1762 census states that there were 15,000 people living in Galway, of which only 350 were Protestant, so the power was in the hands of a few and certainly didn't represent the general population. Trade declined significantly because of the persecution of the Catholic merchants, and the harbour fell into disrepair. Whatever happened to our Irish ancestors? Their descendents who had settled in Quebec must have had a much better life in New France.
Port of Galway