Chearnley is an important figure in 18th century Irish topographical studies. As well as sketching many areas himself, he was also one of the first to build up a collection of Irish views. He would probably be forgotton by now if he hadn't been included in Strickland's Dictionary of Irish Artists. According to documents in the Chearnley Papers Anthony Chearnley's family was from Killgrogy, County Tipperary. His grandfather, Anthony Chearnley, leased lands at Coolnetallagh (194 acres ), Coolnetallagh east ( 74acres ) and the west part of Carriginroe for 999 years at £60 per anum from Samuel Jervois on 12 May 1707.
Anthony had a son Samuel who married Mary, daughter of Phil Moore. She was born in Bandon Bridge on 25 October 1681 and died on 31 August 1741. They had a son named Samuel (1717-1746) who was an artist. Anthony lived at Burnt Court, parish of Shanrahan, County Tipperary. At Burnt Court Anthony built himself a new house within the bawn of the old ruined fortified house. This house appears in a plate in Grose's Antiquities of Ireland.
By 1750 Anthony was living near Cappoquin. On 16 October 1752 he married Ann Gervais, daughter of the Rev. Isaac Gervais, Dean of Tuam. This marriage took place in Lismore. They had one child, a son named Thomas. In July 1756 Anthony married as his second wife, Janet, daughter and co-heir of Richard Musgrave of Salterbridge near Cappoquin. Anthony's address is given as Springfield, County Waterford. This house was situated near Affane House in the townland of Springfield. Also mentioned in the document are: Richard Musgrave of Salterbridge, Valentine Greatrakes of Quarter, Christopher Musgrave of Ballyen and John Jackson of Glinbeg. The Musgrave family came from York. In the Chearnley papers for 1709 Richard Musgrave is described as 'late of Harrfield, parrish of Addingham, Co of Yorke, but now of Lismore'. He had two sons, Richard of Salterbridge and Christopher of Tourin. The Musgraves acquired the Salterbridge estate from Matthew Hales of Cappoquin in the mid 18th century.
Anthony and Janet had seven sons and three daughters. Francis Grose in his Antiquities of Ireland 1791-95 refers to Chearnley and includes two plates (after drawings by Chearnley) of his house at Burnt Court built within the bawn of the earlier house.
Author: William Fraher