Colonel John Augustin Ievers (1737 – 1791)
Colonel John Augustin Ievers was born on 28th December 1737, the eldest son of Colonel Henry Ievers by his marriage to his cousin Elizabeth Fitzgerald. At the time of his birth, the landscape where Mount Ievers now stands must have been a formidable building site with masons, carpenters, carters and labourers all to-ing and fro-ing amid mounds of limestone, red bricks, oakwood beams and sash windows.
Like his father, John attended Trinity College Dublin, studying under Richard Baldwin, the very same no-nonsense Provost who had been at the college since his fathers’ day.
After college he enlisted in Colonel the Earl of Loudoun’s Regiment, renamed the 30th Regiment of Foot by a Royal warrant of 1751. He was serving with the 30th at Chatham when he received a letter from the Earl of Chesterfield regarding what appears to be an attempt to establish his own company of foot. Lord Chesterfield, who had been Viceroy of Ireland when John’s father was Mayor of Limerick in 1745, was famed for his erudite wit and this letter is certainly testament to his skills, as well as being a useful guide for anyone wishing to write a polite letter of regret to an unsuccessful applicant. I have modernized the spelling to make it easier to read and footnoted the original source.
To John Augustin Ievers, esq., Lieutenant in his Majesty’s 30th Regiment of foot, in the Camp at Chatham.
‘SIR, Blackheath, Aug. 9, 1756.
I received the favour of yours of the 6th, with one inclosed from my old and worthy friend your father. Had I the least interest at Court, especially in military matters, upon my word I should not exert it so readily and cheerfully in favour of any body as of yourself. But as the next best thing to serving you is not to deceive you, I must tell you with great truth that I could as soon procure you a bishoprick as a company of foot. It is now nine years since I left Court with a firm resolution of retirement for the rest of my life; my subsequent deafness and ill health turned that choice into necessity. I have entirely forgot courts, and they have forgot me at least as much. They are not apt to lavish away their favours where they expect no return, and from me I am sure the can expect none.
I still am, and have been for these last eight mouths, in so miserable and declining a state of health, more particularly with giddinesses in my head, that writing is very painful to me. I must, therefore, beg of you to excuse me to your father for not answering his letter separately, and that this of mine may be addressed equally to both. I have from time to time received so many marks of his kind remembrance, and I know and esteem his merit so well, that I assure you, it is will great concern that I am so insignificantly his, and your most faithful humble servant.
THE SEVEN YEARS WAR
John Augustin Ievers was 19 years old when the Seven Years War with France erupted in 1756. Tensions between Britain and France had been bubbling for donkey’s years, primarily in North America, but the French brought a distinctly European dimension to the conflict when they captured the British island of Minorca in the Mediterranean. Lord Blakeney, who was in charge of the Minorca at the time, happened to be a kinsman of the Ievers of Athlacca. Thereafter, the British secured dominance of the sea and the Southern Secretary William Pitt launched a series of raids along the French coast, and on French colonies all across the world.
Under the command of John Campbell, Earl of Loudon, the 30th was mainly employed on garrison duty in southern England. However, in May 1758, they were called into action, taking part in both expeditions against the French coast later that summer.[ii] The regiments grenadiers suffered heavy losses during the unsuccessful expedition at Saint-Cast on 11 September. As of 30th May 1759, the regiment was stationed back in England, with one battalion accounting for 900 men.
In September 1759, Wolfe’s stirring conquest of Quebec reenergized the British campaign. After the unsuccessful Saint-Cast expedition, Pitt had suspended the raids on the French coast. In March 1761, he launched a massive amphibious assault on the heavily fortified island of Belleisle. Located close to Lorient, Belleisle was arguably the most important naval centre of Brittany, offering command of the Bay of Biscay. The 30th were once more sent into action and this time it was John’s younger brother Lieutenant Henry Norton Ievers, who led the ‘Forlorn Hope’ (as these suicidal missions were known) during the final assault at Belleisle in June 1761.[iii] The British lost about 310 killed and 500 wounded, besides many who died of disease, but the island capitulated on 8th June 1763, proving an almighty blow to the French.
Henry Norton Ievers was seriously wounded by a canon ball in the hip during the attack. At the end of May 1763, The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, Volume 13, announced that Henry was to receive ‘a pension of 200l per annum for his gallant behaviour on making good the landing at Belleisle, where he was most dangerously wounded’. Other sources suggest he was given ‘a purse of 500 guineas by the Government for his bravery’. It is not yet known whether his older brother John Augustine Ievers also took part in the siege of Belleisle but it was certainly a major expedition for the 30th. Henry was promoted to Captain on 1st June 1763, just under four months after the Treaty of Paris formally ended the war.
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
According to Burke’s, John served at the battle of Bunker’s Hill in June 1775. This was the first pitched battle of the American Revolution and the British suffered 1,054 casualties, a high proportion of them officers, including 226 killed. American losses were 140 dead, 271 wounded, and 30 captured, out of some 1,500 troops actually engaged. Amongst those injured in the battle was Lieutenant John Augustine Ievers. While lying helpless upon the field, he was rescued by his faithful soldier servant John Mackay. When they returned to Ireland, Colonel Ievers gave Mackay a farm near Belvoir, Co. Clare.
It seems likely that John’s only brother Major Henry Norton Ievers, the hero of Belleisle, died during the American Revolution. The solitary record states that he died in December 1775 but does not state where or why. He left no children by his wife Augustine.[iv] She was the second daughter of the barrister John Minchin (1700-1753) of Croagh House, Co. Limerick. John Minchin’s wife Catherine had succeeded to the estates of her brother John Walcott in 1736. In order to legalize this inheritance, John Minchin changed his name to John Minchin Walcott. He served as MP for Askeaton in 1751 but died two years later. In the summer of 1756, Ensign Walcott, one of Augustine’s brothers, died after being held captive in the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta.[v] The Walcott family later to be intimately involved with the American Revolutionary War, with three of Augustine’s brothers serving at the battle of Minden. One of these brothers was Lt. Colonel William Walcott of the 5th Regiment of Foot who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Germantown in 1777. Augustine’s eldest sister Jane Walcott was married, as his first wife, to the Rev. William Cecil Pery, and was thus mother to the 1st Earl of Limerick.
On 6th September 1777, the War Office published a list of promotions in The London Gazette, and ‘His Majesty was pleased to appoint’ John Augustus [sic] Ivers of the 30th Foot a Captain. Charles Eustace and Archibald Erskine were also promoted Captain that same day. At this time the regiment was stationed in Ireland, where they were based from 1775 to 1781.
The ‘Eyre H Ievers’ file at Mount Ievers includes a copy of a recruitment poster from the first part of this time. The poster is for ‘the King’s own Yellow Regiment of Foot, the Thirtieth’ and states that Lieutenant General John Parslow was its Colonel ‘and in the Company of Light Infantry commanded by John Augustus [sic] Ievers, Esq., Captain in the said Regiment’.[vi] Volunteers were invited to report to Captain Ievers ‘at his Station at Boston, in the County of Lincoln [ie: Lincolnshire, England], or to his Recruiting Party in this Town, where they will receive His Majesty’s Bounty, and enter into present pay and Good Quarters’. The poster stated that the 30th was then ‘fixed in the plentiful and flourishing Kingdom of Ireland’ and promised new recruits ‘New Cloaths [sic], Arms, and Accoutrements, and every Appointment necessary to compleat [sic] a Gentleman Volunteer’. The recruiting poster describes the joys of serving the King in Ireland: IRELAND is the only Part of His Majesty’s Dominions where the Price of Provisions had not been raised. Beef and Mutton are sold at two-pence a Pound throughout the Year, and every other Article proportionably cheap. Vegetables of all Kinds are in such Profusion, that for one Penny as much may be bought as will serve six Men.[vii]
In 1781 the regiment embarked for North America once again, arriving in Charleston under the command of Lt. Col. Christopher Maxwell and served in the southern campaign during the final stages of the American War of Independence. Both John and his son William were with the 30th on this assignment. On 7th November 1782, John was promoted to Major, although a ‘Pay Account of Major Ievers Company for the period 1st Sep to 26 Oct 1778’ suggests he was by then Acting Major.[viii]
On 14th December 1782, the British surrendered Charleston and the 30th regiment sailed for the Caribbean where it spent the next nine years between Antigua, St Lucia and Dominica. However, a letter written by Colonel John Ievers’ son William to Lord Limerick in 1800 reveals that the Colonel was given leave of absence to return to England shortly after the Evacuation of Charleston. William travelled with his father but they were ‘captured by two Privateers, and next day carried into Dunkerque where my father was plunder’d of all his property [including his silver] … and what he regretted most was a Pedigree which left no *** [proof?] of his being Baron of Evers.’ The Colonel spent the remainder of his life trying to regain his right to this title, despatching William to Dublin to search the Heralds Office, but the closest they got was a letter, referred to elsewhere, which linked the Ivers to Sir Peter Eure of Washingborough.
LANDLORD IN IRELAND
In between the wars, John was an Irish landlord. He had presumably succeeded his father at Mount Ievers at the height of the Seven Years War in 1758. Both John and his brother Henry were amongst the 496 potential Freeholders of County Clare named on a list from 1796. John Augustine Ievers of Mount Ievers claimed £10 freehold over Mount Ievers, while Henry Norton Ievers of the City of Bath claimed £10 on a freehold at Rossdillon. However, an X beside their names indicates that their names were crossed off the original list for reasons beyond my present understanding.[ix]
John became a Justice of the Peace for Co. Clare in 1769. In 1790, he was elected High Sheriff of Limerick City, alongside Bryan McMahon, just before the city celebrated the 100th anniversary of the epic siege of 1691. Over thirty five years later, the elderly McMahon came forward as an absolute opponent of Limerick’s election process, arguing that the system of grand juries and high sheriffs was anti-Catholic and effectively a monopoly of the Gort family monopoly. While reminiscing on his sixty years of service, he gave these details of the early years:
‘I was appointed by the late Lord Kiltarton in the year 1791 when he was Colonel Smith. The election is a mere mockery. The elective body consists of the corporation, consisting of the mayor, aldermen and common council, but the appointment has been made on the nomination of the late Lord Kiltarton and, since his decease, on that of his nephew, the present Lord Gort … My first colleague in the year 1791 was Colonel Ivers. He was a delicate, elderly gentleman and I undertook to do all the duties, and to give him a fair participation of the emoluments. He died and was succeeded by Mr Michael Furnell, a gentleman of fortune, and he suffered me to take the entire emoluments, relieving him from all responsibility.’[x]
John Ievers retired with the rank of Colonel shortly before he became ill. He never recovered and died on the 14th of Feb 1791, having served in the 30th for 38 years, his death. By his marriage to Mary Prestwich he left two sons, William and Henry, and a daughter Harriet. While William succeeded to Mount Ievers, Henry Norton Ievers inherited Carrowmore and Moughboy. Henry practiced as an Attorney in Limerick, where he died unmarried at Richmond Row on 17th April 1854. Their sister Harriet was married in July 1805 to a Limerick merchant called B. Clancy.
WILLIAM IEVERS (c. 1766-1830)
William Ievers, eldest son of Colonel John Augustine Ievers by his wife Mary Prestwich, was born in about 1766. He joined his fathers regiment, the 30th Foot, while a young boy and sailed for North America in 1781 as a cadet. It’s possible he was the William Ivers, Ensign, 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot, who was made a Freeman of Limerick on 11th October 1790, not least given that his father was High Sheriff for the city that year. He inherited Mount Ievers upon the Colonel’s death in 1791, when William would have been about 25 years old.
At some stage he transferred to the 9th Light Dragoons and held the rank of Cornet. The 9th Dragoons were to play an important role during the 1798 Rebellion which swept through Ireland. However, William appears to have retired from the army by Thursday 15th January 1795 when he was married, by official licence, at Deerpark, the seat of Simon O’Donnell, Esq.[xi] His bride was Ellen Smyth, daughter of the late Samuel Smyth Esq of New Garden in the Kings County (now Co. Offaly). They were to have five sons and five daughters together. As head of the family, it seems likely that he was the William Ivers who wrote a letter on 11th January 1802 to Viscount Limerick (whose mother was a sister of his aunt Augustine Ievers) about the families of Evers and Ivers, and claiming the title of Lord or Baron Eure. This document, which I sourced a copy of it at the Genealogical Office in Dublin in August 2012, provides some vital new information on a possible link to the Eure family of Lincolnshire.[xii]
Ellen Ievers was buried in Sixmilebridge on 30th April 1827. Her husband William survived her by nearly three years, dying on 8th February 1830. Their first-born son William Ievers died in 1812, presumably when he was a teenager or younger. As such, the property passed to their second son, John Augustus Ievers, who is dealt with separately.
THE SIBLINGS OF JOHN A. IEVERS OF IEVERSTOWN
As for William and Ellen’s other three sons and five daughters, we do have some details.
Their second son George Lionel Ievers, who was baptised on 20th February 1803, went to America. Another son Henry Norton Ievers was baptised on 17th June 1808 and also went to America.
William and Ellen’s second son Samuel Smyth Ievers was born at Sixmilebridge and baptised on 1st Dec 1805. He enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery (F Troop) in 1824 aged 18 years. He transferred to H Troop in 1834 and apparently became Paymaster-Sergeant. He was discharged with a pension in 1845.
As to William and Ellen’s five daughters, the oldest was Hannah Elizabeth Ievers who was married on 15th June 1825 to Edmund Wilson of Streamstown, Co. Clare. The second sister Martha Anne Ievers was married in December 1837 to Joseph Edward. Another sister Ellen Ievers died unmarried on 30th April 1828 on what appears to be the first anniversary of her mothers’ death. And there were two other sisters, Harriet Ievers, who died unmarried, and Mary Ievers, who was baptized on 29th November 1803, about whom no more is known.
JOHN AUGUSTUS IEVERS OF IEVERSTOWN (1800-1876)
John Augustus (Augustin) Ievers, Esq., was born in 1800, the second son of William and Ellen Ievers of Mount Ievers, and named for his grandfather Colonel John Augustin Ievers, 30th Foot. He became heir to his father upon the death of his older brother William in 1812. He duly inherited Mount Ievers from his father in 1830, but appears to have lived instead at Ieverstown, just west of Mount Ievers. At the time of Griffith’s Valuations, he held the house at Ieverstown in fee and the building was valued at £11.10 shillings. Still inhabited, Ieverstown stands close to the road between Annagore and O’Garney Heights.
The 1839 Ordnance Survey for County Clare indicates that John A. Ievers was leasing farms in Mount Ievers townland of between half an acre and eighteen acres in size to some 42 tenants, who held leases of both years and lives, bringing in a yearly rent of £2 to £3 per acre. The prevailing name amongst his tenantry was Brenan or Brennan (who ran the Paper Mills which produced lapping rather than paper). As well as Mount Ievers house, there were 35 houses in the townland. He also owned the townland of Ballyliddane which was let on an annual basis to eight tenants for between 20 and 30 shillings an acre. The Ballyliddane farms varied in size from one to 14 acres and there were 20 houses in the townland.
As for Mount Ievers House itself, this was described in the 1839 survey as ‘the residence of William Ievers, agent to James [sic] A. Ievers Esq. proprietor’. [Was William the elder brother of Eyre Ievers?] The property was deemed to be ‘in bad repair, the offices are in a state of dilapidation, an orchard and garden badly kept.’ The market house in Sixmilebridge, built by Rotherey a century earlier, was also now a veritable ruin. There was a new Roman Catholic school in Ballyliddane, established in 1836, and paid for by the families of the 40 boys and 20 girls who attended. There was also a thatched Roman Catholic chapel in Ballyliddane, built in the 1780s, which catered to a congregation of about 200 persons.
In 1837, John A. Ievers married Marcella Sampson. They had three sons, William, John Augustine and Henry Norton, and a daughter, Charlotte. Although he was a magistrate, he appears to have kept a low profile for much of his life. A rare reference to him came in the wake of a savage attack in 1848 on William Irwin, a Sixmilebridge publican who was “known to be worth money”. Irwin and his wife had managed to beat off their assailants. Reporting on the crime, the Preston Guardian reported that ‘a pistol, heavily loaded, a bayonet and a hat, left behind, were deposited in the police barracks by John Augustus Ievers, Esq.’[xiii]
Marcella Ievers was no more by the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ of July 1852 when John was married secondly, in Limerick, to Eliza Westropp, daughter of William Johnson Westropp, esq., of Roxborough, Co. Limerick. She was also a niece of the handsome Standish O’Grady, 1st Viscount Guillamore, who famously prosecuted 1803 rebel leader Robert Emmet before taking office as Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer for Ireland.[xiv]
It is not clear why John A. Ievers did not occupy Mount Ievers, or leave the house to his sons. It may be connected to a Memorial of Indenture of Assignment which survives from 5th April 1867 and seems to confirm an earlier agreement from 1859, namely when cork City merchant John Russell assigned over £500 ‘of the late Irish Currency’ to Eyre Powell (5 Newenham Street, Limerick) and Robert Hunt (George street, Limerick) to hold on trust for John Augustine and Eliza Ievers. The 1867 memorial states that the Ievers were living on Quinlan Street, Limerick City, and also refers to the remarkable William Lane Joynt (1824-1895), the only person to date who has managed to become Lord Mayor of both Limerick and Dublin. In fact, he was Lord Mayor of Dublin when the 1867 memorial was signed. The £500 was ‘charged [ie: by way of a mortgage] upon the lands of Ballyavilla (otherwise Mount Ievers), Bally Brehane, Fortwilliam, Ballyliddane West Ballyliddane East, Bunelagh (otherwise Heathmount) and Ieverstown, within the subdenominations in the Barony of Bunratty, and the lands of Carrowmore and Mongboy in the Barony of Tulla, and all within County of Clare.[xv]
Above: The death of Eliza Ievers, 22 November 1897. [xvii]
John was still performing his duties as a magistrate in 1862.[xvi] At the time of his death aged 76 on 16th November 1876, he still owned 420 acres in County Clare. His widow Eliza survived him by over twenty years, dying at her residence, 7 Quinlan Street, The Crescent, Limerick, ‘at an advanced age’ on 22nd November 1897.[xvii]
Two of his three sons died young. His unmarried eldest son Lieutenant William Westropp Ievers, 13th Prince Albert’s Light Infantry, predeceased him on 11th November 1869 and is recalled by a memorial tablet in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. It is not yet known how he died. The 13th was two battalions by that stage and, in 1869, the 1st Battalion was based in Gibraltar while the 2nd in England.
John and Marcella Ivers second son John Augustine Ievers only survived his father by less than two years and died unmarried on 30th April 1878. ‘His end was peace’, stated the Limerick Chronicle who said he died at ‘his mothers’ home’, The Crescent in Limerick, but I think that should read stepmother? His remains were interred in the family vault in Limerick Cathedral ‘on Friday morning at 8 o’clock’.[xviii] John’s only daughter Charlotte Ellen Ievers was also destined to die, unmarried and before her time, at 7 Quinlan Street on 18th March 1887.[xix]
John and Marcella’s third and youngest son Henry Norton Ievers was born on 7th August 1850 and married on 20th July 1899 to ‘Fanny’ or Frances Westropp. He died without issue on 15th December 1916. His widow survived him by seven years and died at 6 Swanson Terrace, Limerick, on 20th March 923.[xx]
ABOVE: Eyre Ievers map and key for Kilfinaghty, 1935.
Kilfinaghty at the time of Samuel Lewis’s Survey of 1837
KILFINAGHTY, a parish in the barony of Tulla, county of Clare, and province of Munster, on the river Ougarnee, and on the old road from Limerick to Ennis; containing, with the greater part of the post-town of Six-mile-bridge, 4132 inhabitants. It comprises 7212 statute acres, including a large portion of coarse mountain pasture and bog; the remainder is in general of good quality and chiefly under tillage. Slate exists but is not worked. The gentlemen’s seats are Castle Crine, the residence of H. Butler Esq; Mount Ivers, of W. Ivers Esq; Castle Lake, of J. Gabbett Esq; Springfield, of F. [Francis] Morrice Esq; and Mount Ivers Lodge, of E. Ferriter Esq. It is in the diocese of Killaloe; the rectory forms part of the union of Omullod and the vicarage is united to those of Kilmurrynegaul, Tomfinlough, Finogh, Clonloghan, Kilconry and Bunratty, constituting the union of Kilfinaghty in the gift of the Bishop. The tithes amount to £177-15-2¾ of which £85-7-4¾ is payable to the rector, and the remainder to the vicar, who receives the entire tithes of the townland of Ballysheenmore, containing 180 plantation acres; and the entire tithes of the vicarial union amount to £3309-4. The church of the union is at Six-mile-bridge, and the glebe house is in the parish of Bunratty. In the RC divisions, it forms part of the union or district of Six-mile-bridge, where the chapel is situated. About 210 children are educated in three private schools. At Ballysheen are the ruins of an ancient church, with several tombs of very early date, and within the limits of the parish are the remains of the old castles of Cappa, Castle Crine, Mountcashel and Ballycullen; those of the last are extensive, and some vestiges of the outworks are still visible, and those of Mountcashel stand on an eminence near a lake, which thence takes its name.