Eure of Belton

At the National Library in Dublin, there is a letter dated 11th January 1802 written by William Ievers of Mount Ievers to Viscount Limerick in which he claims the title ‘Lord Baron Eure’ by dint of a kinship with the Eure family of England. Mr. Ievers is sketchy on the details because, he claims, the initial pedigree proving his link was stolen by French pirates while he and his father were fleeing from South Carolina at the end of the American War of Independence. However, his letter – which follows below - includes details from another Mr. Ievers, living in England, linking the Irish branch to the Eure family of Washingborough and Belton in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately, while this branch appears to be reasonably well documented, I can find no definitive link with the Irish branch. Indeed, the greatest connection seems to be that Sir Peter Eure, MP, may have once visited Ireland in the 1570s to survey some of the estates of Lord Burgh.

Belton is one of the eight original parishes in the Isle of Axholme, north-east Lincolnshire. It lies just north of Epworth and south of the M180 Motorway. The hamlets of Westgate and Sandtoft are within the parish boundary. The area is about 8,500 acres of flat moorland. The Eures of Belton claim descent from William Eure, a younger son of the Sir William Eure who fought at Agincourt by his marriage to Maude FitzHugh. William was born circa 1416 and died in March 1481, his life being dominated by the Wars of the Roses. His older brother Sir Ralph Eure was killed in action at Towton Field; Sir Ralph’s grandson Ralph was to become the 1st Baron Eure.

William Eure was succeeded by his son, also William Eure (1434-Feb 1501) of Belton, who married Anne (Agnes?) Gardiner (1438-16 Nov 1500), daughter of William Gardiner.

William and Anne were the parents of John Eure (b. 1461) and William Eure. John married Alice *** (1465-7 Sep 1543) and was father to Robert Eure (1488-1 Mar 1526/1527) who married Isabella Reresby (1492- 30 Apr 1541), daughter of Ralph Reresby.

Robert and Isabella Eure were the parents of at least two sons, Robert (who succeeded) and William, as well as four daughters, Elizabeth (m. Mr. Farmery), Jane (married Richard Bellingham of Bromby Wood, near Scunthorpe), Helen and Margaret. The Bellinghams were the grandparents of Richard Bellingham, one of the first Governors of Massachusetts Bay Colony in north America.

The relatively short-lived Robert Eure (1515-1558) married Maria Vavasour (b. 1519), daughter of Sir Peter and Lady Elizabeth Vavasour. They had issue four sons - Sir Peter, William (bapt. 1543), Ralph (bapt. 1551) and Robert(buried 1594) – six daughters, Margaret (bapt 1542, a. 1558), Elena (bapt. 1544, a. 1558), Dorothy, Mary, Bridget and Anne.

After Robert’s death, Maria married secondly Richard Neville.


Robert and Maria Eure were the parents of Sir Peter Eure, or Evers, lawyer and MP, of London and Washingborough, Lincolnshire. He was born in Belton sometime between 1538 and 1549 and was their second but eldest surviving son. He succeeded his father in December 1558. He was educated at Thavie’s Inn and then Lincoln’s Inn from 1578. Peter Eure served as MP for Lincoln in 1589 and for Derby in 1601. He was also a JP for Lincolnshire from 1583 until his death, although he was briefly removed from office between 1587 and 1594.

On 7 March 1602/1603, he was married at St. Martin’s in Lincolnshire to Barbara Meres (1569-1642), daughter of Sir John Meres, Knt, of Auborn, Lincs. His marriage in his fifties caused John Chamberlain to comment: 'I am sure it will be news that Master Evers hath got a young wife in Lincolnshire, where he was hammering about her all last term, and hath not yet showed his face among his friends.’

Peter was knighted on 11 May 1603 and died in 1612.

After his marriage, Eure became ‘a father of four children in five years’. There were four sons – Ralph (who seemingly moved to Virginia and changed his surname to Ussery)Edward (baptised 13 April 1606, buried 17 November 1630), Thomas (bapt. 2 Aug 1607, a. 1630), Michael (bapt. 7 Oct 1610, a. 1630) and a daughter, Barbara (b. 11 Sept 1608, a 1630). Barbara may have married William Ireland, of Crofton, esq. who captained a troop of horse in the civil war.

The following biography was published in 'The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603', ed. P.W. Hasler (Boydell and Brewer, 1981).[i]

"‘Peter Eure became heir to the small family estates at the age of nine, his elder brother William dying during their father’s lifetime. He entered Lincoln’s Inn from Thavie’s Inn as a man of nearly 30, and remained a practising lawyer. As late as 1603 his absence in Lincolnshire ‘all last term’ is mentioned as though it were unusual. For one reason or another he was struck off the Lindsey commission of the peace in 1587. The Privy Council had ordered a purge of justices on grounds of insufficient landed qualification, recusancy, or the presence of other members of the family on the commission. Eure was described as ‘unmeet, being in most respects to be touched with all the former articles’. The only thing known against him, however, is that in 1574 he had been sent to the Marshalsea for a short time on a charge of being privy to false coining in Lincolnshire. Any suspicion of recusancy was evidently dissipated by 1594, when his name reappeared on the commission: in any event, as a Member of Parliament in 1589 he presumably took the oath of supremacy. He sat on a committee, 11 Mar. 1589, for a bill about the city of Lincoln, and was probably the ‘Mr. Juers’ who was on the delegation from the Commons to the Lords on 29 Mar. 1589 urging a declaration of war against Spain. As burgess for Lincoln he was eligible to attend a committee on salted herrings on 11 Mar. 1589. There is no mention of Eure in the journals of 1601. His return for Lincoln might be ascribed to his local standing, but there is no obvious reason for his return at Derby. The most likely patron would appear to be the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury: perhaps Eure did legal work for him.

There is little information about Eure as a county official, apart from a reference as justice of the peace or commissioner of sewers. In the latter capacity he signed a letter in 1594 to Burghley and Egerton, recommending that Lincolnshire should have only one sewers commission instead of a separate one for each of the three divisions. At least once he was employed by the Crown outside his own county, as one of the commissioners to survey the Irish estates of Lord Burgh, who died in 1579. He presumably went to Ireland, but no details of his work there survive. He was one of the Lincolnshire gentlemen who met James I at York during the new King’s journey to London: on 11 May 1603 he was knighted at the Charterhouse.

On 6 Nov. 1611 John Chamberlain, invited to supper at the house of Walter Cope, wrote to Dudley Carleton:

‘Sir Peter Evers was likewise invited, but he is not in case to feast, being as they tell me in a desperate case and far gone in a consumption.’

He had for some time suffered from dropsy, and on 13 Nov. he made his will. To the poor of Washingborough, South Langton and Belton he left £3. His wife received her jointure lands in South Langton, the manor of Washingborough ‘wherein I do now dwell’ and household goods and plate. Provision was made for his sons Ralph, Edward, Thomas and Michael, and for his daughter Barbara. He died 25 June 1612, about a fortnight after leaving London for Washingborough, where he was buried, and where his widow continued to live until her re-marriage in 1614."


The ‘Lord Burgh’ referred to above may be connected to Sir Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh, KG, who was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and served as Lord Deputy of Ireland for the last six months of his life in 1597. Born in about 1558, he was the son of William Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh, by his marriage to Lady Katherine Clinton, daughter of Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln and Elizabeth Blount, former mistress of Henry VIII.[ii] His paternal grandfather, the 1st Lord Burgh, had been one of 26 peers seated at the trial of Anne Boleyn.

Thomas succeeded his father in 1584, which does not tally with the ‘1579’ date given by Hasler above, as none of the Lord Burghs died that year. He also succeeded as 3rd Baron Borough of Gainsborough, de jure 7th Baron Strabolgi and 9th Baron Cobham of Sterborough.

In his younger years, he was one of the peers who conducted the trial of the Duke of Norfolk in 1573. He was invested as a Knight of the Garter on 23 April 1593 and appointed as English Ambassador to Scotland the following year. On 18 April 1597, he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland and held the office until his death at Newry, Co. Down, on 14 October 1597. His wife Frances was a daughter of John Vaughan of Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire.

On the premature death in 1602 of his only surviving son, Robert, 4th Baron Burgh, aged 8, his baronies of Burgh, Strabolgi, and Cobham of Sterborough fell into abeyance between his daughters.

I do not know whether this branch of the Burgh family had any land in Co. Clare.

RALPH EURE / USSERY (1604-1665)

Upon his death in 1612, Sir Peter was succeeded by his eldest son (William) Ralph Eure. Baptized at Washingborough on 19 October 1604, Ralph was educated at Eton and matriculated from Magdalene College, Oxford, on 12th October 1621.[iii] He was admitted at Gray’s Inn in 1623.

He married firstly Eleanor Dolman, daughter of Thomas Dolman (1580-1639) of Pocklington, Yorkshire, by his marriage to Temperance Watson (b. c. 1585) of Yorkshire. Eleanor was born in 1609 in Yorkshire and died in 1646.

They had at least four sons - John Richard Ussery Eure (1640-1687, emigrated to New Kent, Virginia, and has issue), Peter (bur 23 Aug 1634), Ralph (bur 28 May 1640) and Thomas (d. before 1664) and two daughters Eleanor (who married John Leigh, son of Sir Ferdinand Leigh) and Prudence (bur 25 Sept 1641).

In 1626, the Dutch engineer Sir Cornelius Vermuyden was commissioned by Charles I to drain the marshland surrounding the Isle of Axholme. That same year Ralph endowed a school for teaching all the poor boys in Washingborough and Heighington how to read. On 20 June 1646, he “compunds for delinquency in bearing arms at the beginning of the wars against parliament. Laid them down two years ago and went beyond seas. Begs a letter to the County Committee to certify the value of his estate’.[iv]

It looks like he was fined £400 on 3 Nov 1646.

After Eleanor’s death in 1646, Ralph married secondly Thomasine, daughter of John Adderley of South Mimms. Mr. Adderley was elected a governor of the Barnet School on 29 May 1634.

Ralph and Thomasine may have been the parents of Charlotte Eure who married, as his first wife, Nicholas Stapleton. Nicholas Stapleton was married secondly to Mabel, daughter of Walter Bagenall of Dunleckny, Co. Carlow, Ireland; and thirdly, to Winifred, daughter of John White of Dover Street, London.

Ralph Eure of Washingburgh esq is mentioned in the will of William Saltmarsh of Strubby juxta Wragby, co. Lincs, 8 July 1652 - ... Ralph's mother was Barbara Saltmarshe.

Ralph appears to have changed his name to “Ralph Ussery” and emigrated to Virginia where he died on 16 January 1665. Perhaps he changed his name in the wake of the Restoration, given the heightened sensitivities over who supported who during the Civil War. While many Eures fought and died for the Royalists, the Eure name was also much sullied by Isaac Eure’s role as regicide, which may be why the Irish ‘Eure’ family became ‘Ievers.’ Or perhaps they symbolicly changed their name to become members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, which they seem to have done. In their book 'Long Ago Tales’ (Lulu, 2016), authors David Carver Caldwell and Peggy Anderson Caldwell state that Ralph’s heir, Sir John Thomas Ussery (1740-1885/6), was born at Belton and sailed for America in August 1682 on board the ship Welcome with the Quaker leader William Penn. His name does not appear on the manifest but several of his offspring were named Welcome. The Usserys were associated with both Hanover County and Lunnenburg County, in Virginia.