Eyre Ievers (1797-1860) of Mount Ievers
Born on 1st March 1797, Eyre Butler Ievers of Glanduff Castle, Co. Limerick. was the youngest of six sons (with four daughters) born to George and Elinor Ievers of Mount Ievers. He took the name ‘Butler’ from his mothers’ family, the Butlers of Castle Crine, and he may have been named ‘Eyre’ for his uncle Eyre Edward Butler who reputedly prospered as cotton planter in British Guyana.
Eyre was eight years old when his mother died in 1805 and only 11 when his father died three years later as a consequence of a fatal duel. As such, someone else must have looked after both him and Mount Ievers until he attained his majority circa 1815. According to Griffith’s Valuation, compiled several decades later, he held Mount Ievers from his older brother James. By that time, almost all the Ievers lands in Co. Clare were in the parish of Kilfinaghta.[i]
One of the legacies from Eyre’s time at Mount Ievers was the Bossi marble mantelpiece in the drawing room. Pietro Bossi, an Italian marble craftsman, was based in Dublin between 1785 and 1798, and specialized in the scagliola technique. In 1937, The Irish Times referred to this work ‘of inlaid marble by Bossi, in the centre of which is a wreath of ivy leaves, exquisitely finished. This beautiful specimen of Bossi’s wonderful art was put in by Eyre Ievers whose grandson Major Eyre Ievers did much to restore the mansion’.[ii]
On Thursday 5 February 1835, Eyre Jevers [sic] of Glenivers, County Limerick, was married at Springfield Church (by the Rev Rich. Plummer) to Barbara Ahern, youngest daughter of Maurice Ahern of Harris Brook, Co. Limerick. (Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier, 10 Feb 1835). Barbara was Maurice’s daughter by his 1805 marriage to Miss Nunan, daughter of Philip Nunan of Moygap, Co. Cork. Harris Brook appears to have been renamed Hernsbrook; Maurice Ahern was living there in 1853 when the Dublin Evening Mail recorded the death at Hernsbrook of his granddaughter, Elizabeth Lynch, only daughter of Thomas Lynch, Esq., of Granagh, Co. Limerick, on 16 December. (The Limerick Evening Post recorded the marriage on Sunday 21 October 1832 of a Philip Nunan to Miss Margaret Lynch.)
An undated [?], surviving letter at Mount Ievers from Eyre’s sister-in-law expresses her condolences on the loss of Barbara and hopes that his children with Barbara will be a comfort to him! It is not clear what became of these children. So, what became of the children of Eyre and Barbara Ievers? There is no mention of them in Eyre’s will, or in contemporary newspapers.
On Thursday 28 April 1842, 45-year-old Eyre Ievers of Glanduff House was married, secondly, at Frankfield Church, Cork, (by the Rev John Alcock) to Mildred Nunan, only daughter of Maurice Nunan of Moyge [or Moyage] in Liscarroll, Co. Cork, by his wife Mildred (nee Glover). (Cork Examiner, 2 May 1842, p.2). Presumably the Nunans were kinsmen of Barbara Ahern’s mother? The name Nunan is sometimes spelled as Newman (as in ‘Maurice Newman’, who was recorded in Griffith’s Valuations as holding the propert from the Earl of Bandon) and Newnan (as in a sale of the Moyge lands of Philip Glover Newnan in 1870). In 1827, it was recorded that a daughter had been born on 21 April, to ‘the lady of M. Newman, Esq. of Moyge, Co. Cork … at her brother’s house in Dublin.’ (Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier, 28 April 1827); I suspect ‘M. Newman’ was Michael Newman who was at Moyge by the 1850s. Philip Glover Newman died at San Remo, Italy,. aged 77, on 20 May 1892. Eyre and Mildred Ievers had five sons and three daughters, listed below.
Eyre Ievers was a magistrate for Limerick and Clare. This must have been particularly difficult following the horrors of 22nd July 1852 when troops from the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot opened fire on a crowd gathered in Sixmilebridge, killing five men and wounding eight others, two of whom later died of their wounds.[iii] The calamity was provoked when 18 tenants from the Marquess of Conyngham’s estate were seen being escorted into the town by a magistrate and a detachment of the 31st, with the specific purpose of voting for Colonel Vandeleur, the Conservative candidate, in the election. The crowd protested at such blatant vote-rigging. Tensions grew and ultimately became fatal. The jury’s verdict of murder at the coroner’s inquest was subsequently overturned by the Attorney General, prompting widespread disenchantment with the law.
Eyre Ievers died aged 63 on 27th September 1860 and was buried in Glanduff. His widow Mildred lived until 12 December 1903 at which time probate was granted to their daughter Mildred.[iv]
Eyre and Mildred had eight children as follows:
1. Mary Shinkwin Ievers, author of ‘Glimpses of Mount Ievers Past’ (1929), who was born in 1843. As Kaen Ievers relates: ‘Mary was part of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, founded in 1876 by Douglas Hyde and Count Plunkett. She began teaching Irish to local ladies at Mount Ievers. She later became a member of the Gaelic League, after hearing a speech by Thomas Concannon in Sixmilebridge, which inspired her to write a poem about the Irish language that was later published. The first ever Feis Ceoil in County Clare was held at Mount Ievers in 1899 and included prizes for the best spoken and written Irish. It was evidently such a success that Mount Ievers hosted a second Feis Ceoil in 1900. As one commentator remarks: ‘Miss Ievers was a successful student of the language long before it was popular to do so and that much if not all of the Irish renaissance in Sixmilebridge was due to her inspiration. This really shows how the Ievers family was more than willing to integrate with the local people of Sixmilebridge after years of being seen above the common person but also tried to help the locals find their own traditions again in the Irish language. While also trying to learn the native Irish tongue and as a standing testimony to this work completed by the Ievers family, the family still exists today in Sixmilebridge with the next generations having married local people within the village.’ [‘The changing ruling class in Sixmilebridge and the impact they left on the community, 1650-1900‘ by Jayme Keogh]. Mary Shinkwin Ievers also established a knitting industry for the benefit of the local ladies; their works were sent to London, as well as the Countess of Aberdeen‘s celebrated Village of Irish Industries in Chicago. Lady Aberdeen came to Sixmilebridge train station on her way to Ennis and was briefed by Father Little, PP, on the work of Miss Ievers. The local ladies presented some of their knitted goods to Lady Aberdeen who, duly impressed, asked that more winter items be made to send over to the Irish Village. Mary died unmarried on 4th October 1934, aged 91. She was buried in Limerick with a memorial at the Church of Ireland in Kilfinaghty Church.[v]
2. James Butler Ievers, of whom presently.
3. Mildred Jane Ievers was married on 6th or 7th January 1871 to the Rev. Francis Hewson Wall, M.A. (1869), LL.D. (1879), whose family lived at Ennismore, Co. Kerry. He appears to have grown up at Arlington House, Portarlington, Queen’s County in Ireland. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, he was Vicar of Denton, Leeds (1899–1904) and subsequently Rector of Aldingham in Lancashire. Mildred died on 9th May 1916 and the Rev. Hewson in October 1920.
4. Dr. Eyre Ievers (1848-1926) qualified as a doctor in Dublin in 1869 and proceeded to secure his MD in 1873. Shortly afterwards he joined Dr. John Gorham as partner in the town of Tonbridge, Kent, which had a population of 7000. Three years later, according to the Warder’s Medical History Centre, Dr. Ievers had a stroke of luck that made his name in the town.[vi]
‘He was crossing the Big Bridge in his carriage when he saw a man capsize his canoe and sink. In a moment he stripped his coat off and jumped in. At first he was unable to find the man, but as he was giving up, a hand came to the surface, and he pulled the man ashore alive. As he walked wetly to his carriage, a voice in the crowd shouted “Three cheers for Dr. Ievers”. In the next edition of the Tonbridge Free Press there appeared:
The man appeared ungrateful, and a further comment appeared three weeks later:
‘And still he strives: what is his daily life, but with disease and death a constant strife?’
For this he was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Medal, which was presented at a Grand Dinner. A public subscription paid for a gold watch for him, and a clock for Mrs Ievers.
When Gorham retired in 1894, Ievers took Isaac Newton as a partner. He had qualified MRCS LRCP in 1892 from Charing Cross Hospital. In 1894 he published a paper describing a small number of patients who developed a short-lived fever and chest pain, which he entitled “Epidemic muscular rheumatism” and published in the British Medical Journal (2-651). In 1905, he described “A rare form of bronchial cyst” for the British Journal of Children’s Diseases. Thereafter he settled to a life of serving his patients until retirement in 1929.
The Ballad of Dr. Ievers
You’ve heard of “plucky feats performed by divers,
Can you beat that of plucky Dr. Ievers?
Should folks against a river’s rush be strivers
What luck for them if men like Dr. Ievers
Be passing by – to pull them out alive as
Bravely and skillfully as Ievers.
If I had them, I’d give no end of fivers,
To populate the world with genus Ievers.
His work life saving – like the busy hivers
Untiring in that work is Dr. Ievers.
And now, good friends, for these same reasons divers
Three hearty cheers give our brave Dr. Ievers.
Dr. Ievers was married in 1871 to Jane Perrier Osburne, eldest daughter of Dr. John Osburne of Lindville, Co. Cork, with whom he had four sons and four daughters. [vii]
5. George Maurice Ievers (1850-1908) of Ballingarde House, Co. Limerick, the Australian gold mining tycoon and grandfather of Norman Lancelot Ievers to whom we will return.
Above: The death of William Ievers, 1897.
6. William Robert Ievers of Glenwood, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, was born on 3rd Sept 1851, the twin of Elizabeth. He joined his brother George in their successful gold mining venture in Queensland. On 4th August 1880, he married Georgina Maria Tuthill, daughter of Charles Langley Tuthill of Ballyteigue, Co. Limerick. He died aged 46 on 5th April 1897 following a tragic bicycle accident in Southport, Lancashire, when a runaway horse and cart smashed into him. He was buried in Kilfinaghty.[viii] Glenwood would later be the scene of an IRA ambush on 20th January 1921 in which six men from the Royal irish Constabulary were killed, prompting widespread reprisals. William and Georgina had two sons and three daughters.[ix]
7. Elizabeth Anne Ievers, William’s twin, was born on 3rd September 1851 and married on 26th May 1880 to Rev. John Sinclair Carolin, MA, Rector of Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex. She died on 20th June 1916, leaving issue. He died 1922.
8. Major Philip Glover Ievers was born on 25th May 1853 and initially educated at Portarlington School where he would have been a contemporary of Sir Edward Carson, the man who later dispatched Oscar Wilde to jail and became head of the Ulster Volunteers. Philip went on to Edinburgh University where he probably studied medicine. He served in the Afghan War (1878-1881) and later became a Major with the Royal Army Medical Corps. On 15th February 1883, he married Alice Margaret Chadwick, daughter of James Chadwick of Hoar Abbey, Co. Tipperary. However, she died at Barrington Street, Limerick, on 16th October 1883 following complications in childbirth. Their son Launcelot Glover Ievers died ten days later on 25th October.
When William Ievers – the Melbourne businessman as opposed to the gold-mining brother – returned from Australia to stay at Mount Ievers in July 1890, he wrote that “Mr. Philip Ievers of Mount Ievers was apparently a popular landlord. According to the local parish priest, Father Little, he was ‘one of the few gentlemen who was privileged to hunt in the neighbourhood. Moreover, he showed much sympathy for the ‘Nationalist Cause’. It is surprising that he suggests Philip Ievers was at Mount Ievers but given that two of Philip’s brothers were involved in Australian gold and a third was in Tonbridge Wells, perhaps he had the house in lieu of James Butler Ievers?
On 15th June 1897, nearly 15 years after the death of his wife and son, he was married secondly to Gertrude Marie Fitzgerald Studdert, eldest daughter of John Fitzgerald Studdert, RM, of Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. Philip died on 3rd June 1909 and Gertrude died on 28th January 1953.
Philip and Gertrude’s only son was the Very Rev Dom Philip Paulinus de Clare, OSB, was born 1 April 1898 and educated at Wellington and St. Anslem’s College, Rome. Professed a Monk in 1924 and ordained in 1929, he served as Prior of St. Augustine’s Abbey in Ramsgate, Kent, from 1954 until at least 1976.
THE VISIT OF PATRICK MCMAHON
On 28th August 1888, the Ievers received a visit from Patrick McMahon who was born at Clounteen near Sixmilebridge in 1831 and emigrated to Australia in 1854 where he prospered so well in Syddney that when he went on a European trip in 1888 he was on first name terms with former French Presidents.
‘After this I went with Mother to Mount Ievers. It is at present occupied by Mrs. Ievers, the wife of Eyre Ievers. She has five sons and three daughters, the sons, are, James, a farmer, County Limerick; Phillip is at present laid up with a broken leg, thrown from his horse in Mount Ievers Avenue. He was married to a Miss Chadwick who died in confinement with her first child. The child lived for some time and was named Lancelot. George and William have returned from Australia, both being very successful. Three daughters, one is married to a Mr. Carlisle, an English gentleman, a Minister in London. Another married to a Mr. Wall, a Professor in a College in England. The third is unmarried and living with her mother. I was most kindly received by the family, had wine and cake. I showed Mrs. Ievers billhead memorandum which interested them very much. Mrs. Ievers said she thought she knew the gentleman in Melbourne and that a sister of his named Fanny used to visit her in days gone bye. I noticed the following on the mantlepiece:
R.I. 1648 E.T.
I also noticed the following on a side parapet leading to the hall door in front:
The building is a fine old house of its day, built of cut stone and backed with bricks. It is in a fair state of preservation, all the outside walls and houses are in a state of ruin like Ralahine and other places I have seen. I must say that I was particularly well received at this house. Mrs. Carlisle sang and played for me. I had to promise to call again and that I would get a copy of some old documents connected with the family. I may notice an old tradition. I have been told by some of the old people that Mount Ievers was built with money borrowed from “Damer”. The money used to be brought in flrkinson carts. The money was to be repaid when the building was finished; the building was never finished nor is it finished to this day, 1888, consequently the money was never paid.
Pat McMahon returned to Mount Ievers on Tuesday, October 2nd 1888 from Clounteen and rote as follows: ‘Went this morning to Mount Ievers, met Mrs. Eyre Ievers, Miss Mary Ievers and Doctor Ievers. Miss Mary Ievers gave me some very valuable documents connected with the history and genealogy of the family for Mr. Ievers of Melbourne.’
Friday October 5th, Clounteen:
‘Posted letters for home and Melbourne first thing this morning. After this went to Mount Ievers; had a long talk with Mrs. and Miss Ievers and Doctor I evers. Was shown the remains of old sentry boxes when soldiers were kept at Mount levers in the days gone bye. Some Fresco paintings and Flemish bricks used in building the house. The building of the house of Mount Ievers was commenced in 1620.’
[A Sixmilebridge Emigrant, by BILL McINERNEY, http://www.duchasnasionna.eu/other_clare/vol_8.pdf]
THE VISIT OF WILLIAM IEVERS
On Thursday 10th July 1890, another visitor was William Ievers of Melbourne:
-Sixty years since I had last seen it, and, oh, how changed everything! and how changed myself! Old friends dead, and of course strange faces to be seen. Mrs. Eyre levers and Miss levers gave us a warm welcome in a truly Irish manner. The house has an arched basement-storey under-ground, and three storeys over- ground, with seventeenth century windows and very thick walls, approached by wide stone steps into a large hall, tiled and furnished in the old style, with emblems of the chase, and old arms, and old-style furniture. We were taken to our apartment on the first floor, through a large’ reception room, and up old oak stairs with the family coat-of-arms cut in oak on the first landing, and the stairs so wide that a horseman could easily go up them. There is a corridor some thirty by twenty-five feet with old- fashioned rooms all round, and stairs leading up to the next storey. Our room was spacious and high, very ancient, looking over the front lawn and distant hills of Clare. The furniture is so very old -not of this century, Then the Bedstead! I wondered how many generations of the levers’s had been born and died there; and I at once recollected the old stories I had heard in childhood from the lips of an old retainer of the family – Jack Mackey – who had accompanied Colonel Ievers in the American and Dutch wars; he used to tell how, on wild nights, the colonel, at the head of a phantom troop of dragoons, used to parade in front of the house and then dismount, and in heavy jack-boots enter the door and march up the old stairs. There was also a legend of a lady ancestress who had done something very wrong, and was often seen and heard ascending the stairs at midnight, and the rustle of her dress could be plainly heard. These old stories must, of course, in these frightened days, be taken cum grano salis, but I believed them all in early lifeand, although an old man, I could not rid myself of the strange feeling when I went to bed and blew out the light, as I did not open my eyes til morning lest (I’m almost ashamed to say) I should encounter a sight of the old colonel, or my ancestress, promenading the room by the light of the moon’.
‘Here I was standing in the graveyard of my father and mother, and yet no living person could give me any intelligence of where there graves were situated …’ So wrote William on his second failed attempt to find the grave of his father,– Hawkins Ievers, in the Killaloe, Co. Clare.