Colonel Henry Ievers (1696-1758)
FROM COLLEGE BOY TO HIGH SHERIFF
Colonel Henry Ievers, the prosperous barrister who built Mount Ievers, was the eldest son of Colonel John Ievers, whom he succeeded in 1729. He was a grandson of the Henry Ivers who acquired so much of County Clare during the latter half of the 17th century.
He was born in 1696, midway through the reign of William III, aka William of Orange. On 23rd January 1713, the 17-year-old entered Trinity College Dublin where he obtained a Doctorate of Law (LLD) in the spring of 1719.[i] His younger brother Augustus obtained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the same college in 1718.[ii] The Ivers brothers would have commenced their studies during the tenure of Provost Benjamin Pratt (1710-1717) and would then have kowtowed to Pratt’s no-nonsense successor, Richard Baldwin (1717-58), described by the college as ‘a strong disciplinarian who strove to prevent the boisterous high spirits that characterized contemporary Anglo-Irish society from playing havoc with academic peace’.
From 1715 through until 1727, Henry’s father was MP for Clare in the Irish Parliament and thus arguably the most influential commoner in the county. His power was such that 22-year-old Henry was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the county in 1718, and filled the seat of High Sheriff two years later. Teige M‘Namara was also High Sheriff in 1720.
MARRIAGE TO ANNE CRAVEN
In 1724, Henry married Anne Craven, with whom he had a daughter Mary.[iii] Mary was married twice. Her first husband was Newport White, whose grandfather Simon White was Mayor of Limerick in 1696. Newport built Kilmoylan House in Doon, Co. Limerick where he and Mary lived until his death on 13th April 1780. She was married secondly to Mr. Harding of Dromsally.[iv]
KING’S INN BARRISTER
Henry’s law doctorate from Trinity, combined with his experience in local affairs, propelled him into the legal world. Just months after his father death in 1729, he was admitted as a barrister-at-law to the King’s Inns in Dublin.
MARRIAGE TO ELIZABETH FITZGERALD
After Anne Ievers’s death, Henry married secondly his cousin Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of Col. William Fitzgerald of Silver Grove, Co. Clare. They had two sons, Colonel John Augustine Ievers and Captain Henry Norton Ievers, and four daughters, all of whom married, namely Jane (Ingram), Mary Anne (Wilson), Ellen (Bridgeman) and Catherine (Keane). Further details of these children will follow below.
THE NEW HOUSE
By the mid-1730s, Henry Ievers had determined to knock down the old Ballyarrilla tower house and replace it with a sumptuous new tall house, to be designed by the architect Joseph Rothery. This was almost certainly based on the designs of Chevening House in Kent. All that survived of Ballyarrilla was a stone fireplace, dated 1648, which was re-erected in the hall of the house where it still stands. [1648 could be the date that Henry Ivers acquired Ballyarrilla so is this fireplace still there, and is this different to the one from 1620?]
The construction of Mount Ievers necessitates a chapter of its own but it should be recorded here that Henry Ievers became one of the greatest employers of stonemasons, cutters and labourers in the county during the late 1730s. He also gave significant business to the slate quarries of Broadford, the woodcutters of Portumna, the boatmen of the O’Garvey and Lough Derg, and the millers operating in George Pease’s mill at Ballintlea. The entire project, complete with gardens, courtyards and stables, was a massive enterprise. By the time Dr. Richard Pococke, Archdeacon of Dublin, arrived in Sixmilebridge from Quin on his tour of Ireland in 1752, he found a small neat town [boasting two new cut-stone streets], a handsome new church and ‘a pleasant new built house’ at Mount Ievers.
Henry was appointed High Sheriff of Limerick in 1743 and elected Mayor of Limerick two years later. These were difficult times for Ireland. In 1740, shortly after Henry moved into the new house, Ireland was hit by a severe potato famine caused by an intense and prolonged cold spell which lasted from 27 December 1739 to late February 1740, and during which time the ground froze solid. Irish potatoes, generally stored in underground clamps, froze and then rotted. The only potatoes above ground were the seed potatoes for the next season, which were soon eaten so that there was nothing left.
Impoverished peasants were often evicted from their cabins round big estates for non-payment of rents. Homeless and destitute they took to the roads leading to the cities in search of employment, and fed off berries in hedges, and blood taken from cows. The cities were overwhelmed with the emigrants from the country who also brought famine-related epidemics with them. Between 16% and 20% of the population of Ireland are said to have perished as the result of this famine which some hold to have been far worse than the Great Famine of the 1840s.
As Colonel of the Clare Militia Dragoons and a soon-to-be Mayor of Limerick, Henry would have been on standby when the threat of a Jacobite rising swept through the country in 1743 and early 1744. The initial danger dissipated when the combined Franco-Scottish fleet was annihilated by a freak storm in February 1744. Poor old Bonnie Prince Charlie pawned off his mothers jewellery in order to fund an attack the next year but he never secured Irish support, save for the 700 strong Irish Brigade, and his gallant Highland swordsmen came a cropper to Cumberland’s canon-balls at Culloden.
Credit for keeping Ireland at peace during this time was given to Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, who commenced his short but successful 23-month run as Lord Lieutenant - or Viceroy - of Ireland in January 1745. Chesterfield was certainly acquainted with Henry Ivers and a decade later penned a letter to his son John Augustin Ievers regarding a proposal to establish a company of foot. At the height of the Jacobite troubles, one of Chesterfield’s aides reported how a paranoid Protestant firebrand had burst into his lordships bedroom at the Viceregal Lodge one morning, roaring ‘All the papists in Ireland are up, my Lord’. 'Then it's high time for all the Protestants to be up too,' remarked his Excellency drolly, looking at his watch, ‘Tis half-past ten; good day, Sir.'
FREEMEN OF LIMERICK
Henry Ievers obviously impressed the citizens of Limerick a good deal during this period as, on 6th March 1746, his young sons John Augustine and Henry Norton Ievers were made Freemen of Limerick, along with his brother William Ievers of Fort William. The Rev. Jacques Ingram, Henry’s son-in-law and husband of Jane Ievers, was made a Freeman that same day.
Two of Colonel Henry Ievers’ grandsons were made Freemen on 9th September 1748 (Robert Ivers of Ballylusky and John Ivers of Mongboy).[v] Augustine Ievers, another of the Colonel’s brothers, was made a Freeman on 22nd September 1750. Henry Ievers Ingram, another grandson, was made a Freeman on 13th October 1760. These guys had the run of the city.
DEATH OF HENRY IEVERS
Colonel Henry Ievers was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Aungier Street, Dublin, on 26th May (or March?) 1758. By Elizabeth, he left two sons and four daughters (see Eyre Ievers notes).
The eldest of Henry’s younger brothers was Augustine, who had been at Trinity with him in the 1710s. He was married at the age of 35 in 1734 to Susannah, the widow of James Rice of Mount Rice, County Kildare and a daughter of Henry and Susanna O’Brien of Stonehall, Co. Clare.[vi] By her marriage to Rice, she had two sons, the eldest of whom, Stephen, succeeded at Mount Rice and married a daughter of Joshua Meredith. Augustine Ievers was made a Freeman of Limerick in 1750 and died in 1769, having no issue.
WILLIAM IEVERS OF FORT WILLIAM
Henry’s second brother William Ievers lived at Fort William near Sixmilebridge with his wife Alice (nee Brereton).[vii] He became a Freeman of Limerick in 1746, along with his nephews, John Augustine Ievers and Henry Norton Ievers.
In 1768, he was named as one of 496 potential Freeholders of County Clare, claiming £10 at Fort William. However, his name was crossed out and the accompanying notes relate that this was ‘objected to by Mr. Burton as outlawed & putt on the scrutiny, a capias ultegatium? produced, the Sherriff’s Col having then declared he thought that evidence insufft. But reserved it for further consid. & no person appearing to [???] the vote was allowed.’ I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it looks like Burton’s objection was overruled.[viii]
William died without issue in 1770. Four years later, the Limerick Chronicle included an advertisement stating: “To be let, the dwelling house and lands of Fort William near Sixmilebridge. Proposals to Mr. Thomas Ievers merchant in Dublin or John Ievers Wilson of Ballyvorgil near Sixmilebridge. Mr. Roger Cusack will show the lands.”[ix] Thomas Ievers was William’s brother and Wilson was quite possibly his nephew.
THOMAS ARTHUR NORTON IEVERS
Henry’s youngest brother Thomas Arthur Norton Ivers was a merchant based on Stafford Street (now Wolfe Tone Street) on the north side of the River Liffey in Dublin City.[x] Born in about 1712, Thomas was married in 1747 to Sophia Stewart. He became a Freeman of Limerick in 1750.
He apparently died in 1770 leaving a daughter Elizabeth. Along with John Ievers Wilson of Ballyvorgil, he was assigned to look after Fort William, the house and farm of his brother William Ievers who also died in 1770.
HENRY IEVERS SISTERS
Henry’s sister Mary Ievers died unmarried on 30th August 1730, less than 9 months after her father, and presumably in the first decades – if not years - of her life. She was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Aungier Street, Dublin
Henry’s sister Elizabeth Ievers, lived at Kilcroway near Newcastle, and died unmarried in 1779 by which time she was presumably a venerable spinster.
Henry also had twin sisters Jane and Lucy who were confirmed at St. Peter’s on 29th June 1722. Jane later married Mr. Wilson with whom she had two sons and two daughters. One of her sons was quite possibly John Ievers Wilson of Ballyvorgil who was assigned to look after her brother William Ievers house and farm at Fort William in 1770. [xi]
As for Lucy, she was married on 29th June 1722 to Jeffrey Prendergast, son of Thomas Prendergast (d. 1725) of Croane, County Limerick, and Eleanor Condor.[xii] Jeffrey’s older brother Brigadier General Sir Thomas Prendergast (1660-1709), 1st Bart, was knighted for saving William III from a planned assassination attempt in 1696. He simultaneously received the O’Shaughnessy’s forfeited Louth Cutra estate at Gort, County Galway. Sir Thomas served under Marlborough during the War of the Spanish Succession but was killed at the Battle of Malplaquet on 11 September 1709, whilst leading his regiment against the French at Blaregnies.
Sir Thomas’s wife Penelope (or Elizabeth) Cadogan was a sister of William Cadogan who fought alongside him at Malplaquet, and was wounded in the neck at the siege of Mons, but quickly recovered and subsequently became the 1st Earl of Cadogan. This connection lends further credence to the possibility that John Ivers (Henry and Lucy’s father) was the ‘Col. Ivers’ who served as quarter-master, alongside Cadogan, under Marlborough in 1704.
Lucy and Jeffrey had five children. Their son Thomas married Mary, daughter and heir of John Keating, and was killed in a duel in 1761. From this couple descend the Prendergasts of Ardfinnan and Johnstown, Co. Tipperary.
JANE IEVERS & THE INGRAM FAMILY
Colonel Henry Ievers’ eldest daughter Jane Ievers married the Rev. Jacques Ingram, Rector of Kilmurry parish in Co. Limerick from 1772 to 1793, and a chaplain to Limerick Cathedral. His father John Ingram was Sheriff and Mayor of Limerick. Jacques and Jane had at least two sons.
Jane Ingram appears to have died on 14th February 1762 and Jacques was married secondly to Mary Smyth, daughter of the Rev. John Smith and a niece of Dr. Arthur Smith, Archbishop of Dublin. In May 1789, John Wesley, founder of Methodism, stayed with this ‘lovely family’ in Limerick, ‘where I wanted nothing which the kingdom could afford’. Jacques’ daughter, Mrs. Morton, subsequently became a Methodist and one of Wesley’s correspondents.[xiii]
Another highlight of the Rev. Ingram’s career must have been when ‘the Rev. Patrick Prendergast, a priest of the Church of Rome, renounced the Popish communion, and embraced the Protestant religion at Kilmurry church before the Rev. Jacques Ingram’.[xiv] Among his pupils was Daniel Hayes, patriot, poet, libertine, buck and translator of Cicero.
Jacques died in Nicholas Street, Limerick, in April 1796 aged 69.[xv]
Jacques and Jane’s son the Rev. Henry Ievers Ingram, was Rector of Kilmurry from 1794 to 1827, as well as Vicar Choral of St. Mary’s, Limerick, and Military Chaplain of Limerick for forty years. He repaired Kilmurry Church at his own expense after it was nearly destroyed during a thunderstorm in November 1812.[xvi] Henry was married in 1783 at Castle-Taylor, Co. Galway, the seat of Walter Taylor Esq., to Miss Mary Tyrrell, daughter of the late Major Tyrrell of Gort, ‘a young lady endowered with every qualification necessary to render the Marriage State truly happy.’[xvii]
ANNA MARIA & REV. JOSEPH WILSON
Two years after Henry’s death, his second daughter Mary Anne Ievers (described in EHI’s notes as ‘Anna Maria’) was married on 20 August 1760 to Rev. Joseph Wilson of Moygallow, Co. Clare.[xviii] The Rev. Wilson died at Sixmilebridge in February 1771.
ELLEN & HENRY BRIDGEMAN
Henry’s third daughter Ellen [Dorothea? Elizabeth?] married Henry Bridgeman of Woodfield, on the southern shore of Lough Gur, County Clare. The Bridgemans had been settled in county Clare from the late 17th century and were head tenants on lands in the parishes of Killuran and Kilseily, barony of Tulla Lower. Woodfield House was built in the 1720s and subsequently sold to the Rev. M. Locke in 1780. Henry and Ellen had a daughter. There is a memorial to the family in Kilseily, erected by Henry and Catherine Bridgeman in 1714, which may give further insight.
CATHERINE AND CAPTAIN KEANE
Catherine married Captain Henry Keane and had three daughters.