George Harley 1730-1814

George Harley was the eldest child born to Thomas Harley and Hannah Amphlett. He married Elizabeth Love on 23 April 1757 in Plumstead. 

As a young man George left his estate in Shropshire, where he was born, to pay a visit to his aunts, Mrs Hill and Mrs (Elizabeth) Holmes. They became very attached to him, and with no children of their own, told him that if he moved in with them they would leave him everything when they died. Thomas Hill, the late husband of one of them, had already left him a share of a large estate on which they then lived. He consented to this and they built a house in Woolwich, and, as he had already met Miss Elizabeth Love at that time, he married her and settled down. He used to make a practice of taking his family away during part of the year for a change of air to his other estate in Shropshire. The old lady often used to speak of this to her grandchildren. After the death of his aunts George moved to the 100 room mansion on Shooters Hill in 1755, he lived there for the rest of his life. When Thomas and Elizabeth died they left him the 100 room mansion 'Hazelwood House' and property.

George's wife, Elizabeth, died in 1770 leaving her young family motherless. On 5th June 1775 in Kent, George entered into a second marriage with a widow, Doctor Anne Seymour, an older woman with a grown up daughter, Comfort, by an earlier marriage. Anne Seymour is noted to have been a very good stepmother to whom his daughter, Elizabeth, was very attached.

Against his wishes George's daughter, Elizabeth, married James Blackman. He eventually came to terms with the marriage after his first grandchild was born. James, however, was not a well man and was advised to go on a long sea voyage. He and Elizabeth decided to immigrate to Australia also against George’s wishes. It was a heartbreaking parting as they never saw each other again. George died in 1814 leaving everything he owned to his only surviving daughter. The estate on Shooter’s Hill, Kent, which was left to George by Thomas Hill was never claimed by Elizabeth, although she urged her children before her death to leave no stone unturned to secure the property. There was also a large sum of money in the Bank of England at that time. The property consisted of hopfields, but coal seams have since been discovered, which make the property more valuable.