Friday, 24 November 2017

Mount Ievers Court

THE IEVERS' OWNED 1,203 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CLARE

This family is descended from HENRY IVERS, who settled in County Clare in 1643.

He was Clerk to the King's Commissioners for settling the quit rents, and afterwards became the Deputy Receiver.

Mr Ivers was a magistrate and High Sheriff of that county, in which he held considerable landed property.

Further lucrative positions followed after the Restoration and, in 1680, Thomas Dinely estimated his income at £2,600 a year, which allowed him to amass a considerable fortune and some 12,000 acres before his death in 1691.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Stephens, of Ballysheen, and had issue,
Henry;
John;
William;
Thomas;
Robert;
GEORGE, of whom we treat;
Ambrose;
Ellen.
The sixth son,

GEORGE IEVERS, wedded a daughter of _____ Seward, of County Cork, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
George;
Henry.
The eldest son,

ROBERT IEVERS, espoused Mary, daughter of ______ Parsons, of County Limerick, and died in 1783, having had issue,
Henry;
Richard;
John Henry;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Mary; Anne; Frances.
The youngest son,

GEORGE IEVERS, married, in 1783, Eleanor, daughter of James Butler, of Castle Crine, County Clare, and died in 1808, having had issue,
Robert;
William;
George;
Thomas;
James;
EYRE, of whom hereafter;
Mary; Elizabeth; Jane.
The youngest son,

EYRE IEVERS JP (1797-1860), of Mount Ievers, wedded, in 1842, Mildred, daughter of Maurice Newnan, and had issue,
JAMES BUTLER, his heir;
Eyre;
George Maurice;
William;
Philip Glover;
Mary Shinkwin; Mildred; Elizabeth Anne.
Mr Ievers was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BUTLER IEVERS JP (1844-1915), of Mount Ievers, and Quinville Abbey, County Clare, who espoused firstly, in 1866, Elizabeth Buchanan, second daughter of Robert Blackwell, of The Prairie, County Down, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
Mildred.
He married secondly, in 1899, Ernesta Carlotta Nina, younger daughter of Surgeon General George Whitla.

Mr Ievers was succeeded by his son,

EYRE HERBERT IEVERS JP (1867-1922), of Mount Ievers, and Glenduff Castle, County Limerick, Captain, 5th Battalion, RM Fusiliers, who wedded, in 1902, Frances Hetty Webb, only daughter of Herbert Webb Gillman, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
James Henry Gillman, b 1910;
Mildred Vivian; Annie Muriel Elizabeth.
The elder son,

COLONEL EYRE HERBERT IEVERS (1904-), wedded, in 1934, Moirin, third daughter of the Very Rev Dr Henry John Gillespie, Dean of Killaloe, and had issue,
Nial (1946-64);
Fiona, b 1948.

MOUNT IEVERS COURT, near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, was built in 1738 by Colonel Henry Ievers to the design of John Rothery.

It replaced an older tower house, shown in Dinely’s drawing, which Henry Ievers may actually have built, since a chimney-piece re-used in the house bears the date 1648.

His eldest son was disinherited for marrying “a person of noe fortune” and the estate was inherited by the second son, Colonel Thomas Ivers, MP for County Clare, who changed the family name to Ievers.

Henry’s grandson, another Henry, inherited in 1731.

Within two years he had begun the construction of a new house, Mount Ievers Court, completed in 1738 at a cost of £1,478 7s. 9d. (about £316,000 in today's money), plus the value of two horses, two mules and various other expenses.

The house was built of red brick, which became fashionable for Irish country houses in the 1730s, and has faded to a wonderful rose pink, the plan derives from Inigo Jones’s Chevening in Kent, although the facades are both simpler and more accomplished, diminishing subtly as they rise to the bold cornice.

There are two formal fronts: the south front is of cut limestone, and the north front, originally the entrance front, of brick “exquisitely disciplined by the limestone of coigns, strings and cornice”.

The builder, John Rothery, who hailed from a prominent family of architects and builders in counties Limerick and Cork, died during construction.

In the words of the architectural historian Maurice Craig, “Superlatives have been used about out this house, and with good reason” though he also admits that the building was not in the forefront of fashion since “in style and spirit there is nothing about it which could not be of 1710,” an impression heightened by the combination of heavy glazing bars, small panes and sashes four panes wide.

Set above a high basement the interior is plain but grand, with a profusion of plaster panelling, elaborate cornices, simple compartmented ceilings, unusually generous doors with robust joinery, and a splendidly carved staircase with alternating barley-sugar and fluted balusters.

The topmost floor contains a long, barrel-vaulted gallery which stretches across the full length of the building, a feature of other Rothery houses such as the long-demolished Bowen’s Court, where it was used for dancing and exercise on wet days.

A Naïf painting, used as an overmantel in one ground floor room, shows a faithful reproduction of the present garden front with a splendidly baroque double-curved perron, instead of the present arrangement of steps, all set in an elaborate formal layout that has either largely disappeared or may never have been fully completed.

The Ievers family’s prominence in local affairs faded over the years and much of the estate was lost in the 19th and 20th centuries before the house was sold to a cousin, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers (1912-93), in 1939.

Returning at the end of the 2nd World War in 1945, after his retirement from the Royal Air Force, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers was able to re-purchase the house from his cousin’s daughter and set about a sympathetic and sensitive restoration with his wife.

Today the house is owned by their son, Norman Eyre Ievers (b 1973), together with his wife and family.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

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