Mount Ievers or Ballyarilla Castle

Mount Ievers, or Ballyarilla Castle. Ristéard Ua Cróinín and Martin Breen. Introduction: The very fine article on Mount Ievers Court, which appeared in Volume 40 of this journal, prompted the authors to add some further information on this
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  5 Introduction: Te very fine article on Mount Ievers Court, which appeared in Volume 40 o this journal, 1  prompted the authors to add some urther inormation on this historically interesting location and the castle o Ballyarilla, later called Mount Ievers Castle, which once stood at this site. 2  While the house was constructed by an English settler’s descendants and dates to the early 18 th  century, the castle was in existence rom the early 16 th century and was a MacNamara oundation, subsequently becoming an O’Brien property. Mount Ievers, (Ballyarilla Castle – Baile a’ Reidhligh - Level Area). CL052-023, 052-/06/2, 14856/16629, Mount Ievers (1923).O.D. 100’ – 200’ (ower House Site).Very little remains o the 16 th  century tower house built on this site by Lochlann McNamara. It was likely demolished in the early 18 th  century to construct the present, magnificent Mount Ievers Court between 1733 and 1737. 3  One 17 th  century sketch shows it to have been a typical, Gaelic, five-storey tower house in a rectangular bawn, with a central gateway which was flanked by high heavy gate-piers, and circular corner turrets.Te ew extant vestiges o this late mediaeval complex appear to include an arched gateway set in a nearby garden wall, which, by its dimensions (1.2m. wide), design and decoration may be the main entrance door-case o the tower house, shown in Dineley’s sketch o 1680. Mount Ievers, or Ballyarilla Castle. Ristéard Ua Cróinín and Martin Breen Tis gateway, which has richly carved jambs, also has floral motis carved on the underside o the pointed arch. Tere is also a great stone chimney-piece, dated 1648, in the ront hall o Mount Ievers Court which once contained a heavy cast-iron fire-back dated 1582. A similar fire-back rom Leamaneh Castle can be seen in the Leamaneh Hall o the Old Ground Hotel, dated 1553. Te chimney-piece is comprised o a huge plain stone lintel, and angular mantle-piece, supported by a pair o ornate, limestone jambs. Te pair o jambs does not appear to match the lintel in proportions, design or decoration, and may have come rom another 17 th  century chimney-piece.Hidden behind vegetation, set in the east acing balustrade o the entrance steps o the brick-aced, garden-ront o Mount Ievers Court, is an interesting, decorated, stone lintel rom another 17 th  century chimney-piece. Te lower, chamered, curved edge is View of the northeast prospect of Mount Ievers Court today, from approximately the same angle as Dineley used in 1680.View of the northeast prospect of  Mount Ievers Castle by Tomas Dineley in 1680, looking to the southeast. Late Mediaeval arched Gothic doorway from Mount Ievers Castle now at the entrance to the walled garden.Floral motif decoration on the underside of the late mediaeval doorway in the courtyard of Mount Ievers Court  Mount Ievers chimney-piece with date, 1648, carved on mantle, with fireback dated 1582 in place  6 indicative o its srcinal purpose as a chimney-piece. Carved in typical high-relie letters are the words:ANNO DOMINI u  1630 u  IOHN IEUERS u  E  S u  MR 4 Numerous, heavy, long stones, with carved, concave-profiled aces, can be seen inverted and re-used as side entrance steps; some are also used as bridging rom the entrance landing to the garden-ront, main door o the house. Tese, by their design, appear to have served as an ornate, plinth-coping, possibly rom the old tower house or an associated structure.Used as a lintel over a window in the long shed, inside the main armyard entrance gate, is a limestone step rom the tower house circular staircase. Many other stones in this building appear to show late mediaeval dressing and were likely recycled when the tower house was demolished in the early 18 th  century.Te brick-aced ront and garden, or courtyard, o Mount Ievers Court, when viewed rom outside the gates bears a ascinating resemblance to Dineley’s sketch. When orientated on the lines o other castles in the drawing,  visible on the landscape at the time, it would appear to strongly indicate that the present house is located on the site o the old tower house, and that the present walled garden and gate piers stand on the oundations o the ormer bawn and its gate-piers. It is difficult to say how much o the srcinal late mediaeval masonry abric remains in these structures, but it is likely that the brick  visible today, is simply a cosmetic ace to more ancient masonry. Te lef gate pier contains early 18 th  century local brick, while the right pier was re-built in the past with mid 19 th  century, poorer quality, stock brick.It seems that the old tower house and bawn o Ballyarilla Castle were demolished, and the stones used to build Mount Ievers Court in 1733-37. Tere is a report that oundations o older structures were still visible into the late 19 th  century, more o which will be discussed below. Surveyed: UaCróinín and Breen, October 2016. Mount Ievers – History: Mount Ievers Castle, anciently known as Ballyarilla Castle, was built around the beginning o the sixteenth century by Lochlann, son o Seán, son o Lochlann Óg ‘Broad-Shank’ MacNamara. 5  From a perusal o the MacNamara genealogies o this branch o the amily, 6  Lochlann, the builder o Ballyarilla, was o the same bloodline as Seán Fionn MacNamara, Chie o Clann Cuilein, who built Quin Friary and the castles o Bunratty and Knappogue, both individuals being seventh in descent rom their common ancestor Lochlann, son o Cumheadha Mór MacNamara, Chie o Uí gCaisin in 1278. 7  Cumheadha Mór ought against Sir Tomas de Clare and demolished his castle o Quin in 1286. 8  He died in 1306 and was buried beside his ally, King urlough O’Brien, in Ennis Friary. 9  Seán Fionn MacNamara died in 1467 AD, and was buried in Quin. 10  Allowing about thirty years per generation, this places the lietime o the builder, Lochlann MacNamara, and the construction o the castle, approximately, in the early 1500s. From what is known about this line o the MacNamara clan, we can establish that the descendants o Lochlann Óg were also the builders and inhabitants o Enagh Castle, which they held until 1641. 11  Enagh Castle stood to the south o Kilkishen village. Only a ew ragments o this mediaeval castle remain on the site today. Te amily o Lochlann MacNamara do not appear to have maintained ownership o Ballyarilla Castle or more Drawing of a decorated stone lintel from another 17th century chimney-piece, located on the outside of the balustrade at the northeast entrance to Mount Ievers Court, with the date 1630 and the name John Ieuers.Decorated stone lintel from 17th century chimney-piece.Step from spiral stairs from Mount Ievers castle reused as a window lintel in later farm building.  7 than a ew decades afer its construction, as the O’Brien records o ownership begin in 1563. Tere were later periods o MacNamara occupation, more o which will be discussed below. Lochlann MacNamara, the builder o Ballyarilla Castle, was also a contemporary and first cousin o Seán MacNamara o Danganbrack Castle according to the wigge genealogies. 12  Seán was living in 1545, as evidenced by a deed o mortgage o that date. 13 Te mediaeval castle o Ballyarilla was demolished sometime in the early eighteenth century, and its site is now possibly occupied by Mount Ievers Court, built in 1733-37 by Henry Ievers to a design by the architect John Rothery. 14  Te tower house is indicated by a castle symbol, and recorded as ‘Balliarrell’ on the Down Survey map o the1650s, telling us that the castle, or tower house, was still in existence at that date. 15  Another representation o the castle can be seen in the 1675 ‘Edenvale Survey’ and, although this representation is o a much simpler type, some similarities are evident. 16  A more significant record o the appearance o Mount Ievers Castle can be seen in the drawing o its north-eastern prospect made by Tomas Dineley in the 1680s. 17  Also included in Dineley’s sketch are representations o other tower houses in the distance such as Bunratty, Rossmanagher and Cappagh, as well as the town o Sixmilebridge, the river, and ‘Te Wood o the Oyl Mills’. wigge’s interpretation o Dineley’s sketch merits being quoted here. wigge wrote: ‘He [Dineley] depicts a tall gabled tower of five stories standing on the slope of a hill, in a courtyard, 18  which has at its eastern corners two low round turrets with bee-hived roofs, and each with a door and window above it. Between the two turrets and in the centre of the wall facing east is a gateway approached by a flight of six steps, bordered by a low balustrade. Within the courtyard another flight of steps leads up to the pointed door of the castle, which is protected by the usual machicolated gallery  projecting from the battlements. Tere is a bartizan at the N.E. angle of the battlements and a tall chimney rises above it on the north side. In the eastern face of the tower the windows are mere slits, except the one in the top room. Te whole structure seems to have closely resembled Beal-an-Chuillin, 19  both in fabric and in outlook’. 20  Some items o carved stone rom the castle are still to be ound within the present complex. Tese include a late-mediaeval arched gateway which is set into the garden wall; a chimney-piece rom the tower house which now occupies the ront hall o Mount Ievers Court with the Pedigree of MacNamara of Mount Ievers.Tumbnail depiction of Ballyarilla from the 1675 ‘Edenvale Survey’.  8 date 1648; a stone step rom the spiral staircase o the tower house; and the above-mentioned stone lintel rom another chimney-piece with the date 1630.   Te chimney-piece in the ront hall has the date 1648 carved on a panel in the centre o the mantle, and the letters, (or initials), P R I, and, E : I, carved within panels on the two extremities o the mantle on either side o the date. It is likely that these letters commemorate some members o the Ievers amily. Te first member o this amily to appear in Ireland was Henry Ievers who arrived beore the 1641 rebellion. 21  Te date 1582 was to be seen on a screen at the back o the hearth. Tis screen, which is no longer in the fireplace, is, we were inormed, still stored at the house, and was thought to have had a connection with the Spanish Armada. 22  Te date on the chimney-piece would appear to suggest a later reurbishment by the Ievers amily o the srcinal MacNamara tower house rather than a oundation date. Most tower houses lacked luxuries such as fireplaces and chimneys when first constructed, and rom the extant remains in Co. Clare, there is evidence that many tower houses had their chimneys added in later centuries. We can clearly see that chimney flues were later insertions by the act that they block up existing windows. 23  Te carved mantle rom a chimney-piece on the balustrade o the steps leading to the present house poses more questions than can be confidently answered here. Te date 1630 would appear to be too early or the amily at this location, and the name carved on the mantle, ‘John Ieuers’ does not appear within the present known history o Mount Ievers at that period, though there may be some connections which need to be urther investigated. It is said that this carving might connect the Ievers amily to the Euer amilies o Oxordshire and Kent. It is also possible that this carved mantle was transported rom another Ievers house at some time in the past. A ‘John Euer’, son o Sir Sampson Eure and Elizabeth Lennard o Chevening House in Kent, can be traced to the mid seventeenth century. 24  It has been said that the Ievers amily o Co. Clare descend rom Sir Sampson Eure. Sir Sampson had a second son, Henry, o whom little is known, and who might have been written out o the English amily pedigree as a result o his connections to the Cromwellian Commissioners. 25  Another possible connection lies in the act that Sir Daniel O’Brien, 3 rd  Viscount Clare, or whom Henry Ievers was appointed agent, was married to Philadelphia Lennard, daughter o Lord Dacre, 26  whose ancestral home was Chevening House. Te perplexing coincidence is that Chevening House and Mount Ievers Court share many similarities, both in their strikingly comparable visual aspects, and in their period o construction. Te various spellings o the surname also bear similarities. When we look at the spelling on the carved stone, and take into consideration the inter-changeability o the letters ‘U’ and ‘V’, in late mediaeval spellings, we can see how Euer, Ever, came to be, Iuers, Ivers and later, Ievers. A study o this connection 27  deserves a separate undertaking which is not relevant in the late-mediaeval history o this place.In 1563 Mount Ievers, or ‘Ballyarrelee’, was under the control o Conor O’Brien, third earl o Tomond. A ormal demand to the earl or its restoration was made through the English Council by eige O’Brien o Smithstown Castle, Kilshanny. Most likely eige thought he had some right to the castle. eige, who became sheriff o Co. Clare in 1570-71, 28  was the son o Conor’s grand-uncle, Murrough, first earl o Tomond, and was in open conflict with the earl regarding succession rights to the earldom. 29  Te earl answered that the castle belonged to its ree-holder, acknowledging that it was MacNamara property, and eige’s claim was not allowed. 30  Te details o this submission appear to indicate that there had been a period o O’Brien ownership o the castle prior to that time, although this might also mean that, as the land ormed part o the earl o Tomond’s estate, that Mount Ievers was nominally belonging to the earl, and that he had leased it back to the MacNamaras as his tenants. Te castle was again in the hands o the MacNamaras in 1574 as confirmed by the castle owner’s list o that year when ‘Ballyarilly’ was held by Brian, son o Donell Roe MacNamara. 31  Ballyarilla does not eature in the 1570 castle list. In 1589 a pardon was granted to urlough, son o Donell MacNamara o ‘Balle-Arellye’ or being in rebellion. 32  By 1602 the castle once more appears to have been in O’Brien hands, as another pardon was issued in that year, this time to eige O’Brien o ‘Ballyarrelle’, son o Donough O’Brien, who was also stated to have been in rebellion. 33  Tis was not the above-mentioned eige o Smithstown, whose ather was Murrough, 1 st  earl. eige died in 1577. 34 According to an Inquisition dated 1626, the earl o Tomond had leased the lands o ‘Ballyarrilly’ to Patrick Fanning, to be ‘held in soccage’. 35  Te Inquisition ound that Fanning had died in 1612 and that his son Clement succeeded and was the incumbent in 1626. Clement was ound to have assigned the land at ‘Ballyarrily’ to Tomas Burke and Phillip Garrett. No mention was made o the castle.  36  Te above Inquisition provides us with some evidence o the colonisation o the Tomond estates with English settlers, at the expense o the native owners such as the MacNamaras at the beginning o the seventeenth century by the O’Brien earls. Tis scheme was initiated by Donough, 4 th  earl, and continued by his sons, Henry and Barnaby, 5 th  and 6 th  earls during this period. 37  Unusually, Mount Ievers, or Ballyarilla, does not eature in the earl o Tomond’s ‘Rental’ or 1626, though Ballyluddane, an earlier name or Ballyarilla 38   Te initials P.R.I. carved on the 1648 chimney-piece.Te initials E:l, carved on the 1648 chimney-piece.  9 does appear, and was leased to one ‘Michaell Bellamye’, no doubt an English settler. 39  Afer the 1641 Rebellion Tomas Fanning, (probably a son o the above Clement), lost ‘Ballyarrilla’ to Tomas Green, sheriff o County Clare, and aferwards to Henry Ievers, as an assignee o Green, 40  afer whom the castle and lands were subsequently renamed. Various sources indicate that both the Green and the Ievers amilies appear to have srcinated in Kent. 41  In 1664 one John Stockton occupied the land at Ballyarilla,  42 most likely as a tenant o Ievers. Henry Ievers had become a very wealthy individual through land speculation in the post Cromwellian period. 43  He had obtained 2,133 acres o land in 1667 as an adventurer. He also obtained the castle and town o Kilkishen, and the rights to hold markets and airs at Mount Ievers and Knockalough. 44  Tere are a significant number o leases and mortgages o land in Clare to be noted in the Inchiquin Manuscripts between Henry Ievers and the O’Briens in the seventeenth century. Te number o land transactions and leases to Henry Ievers and other members o the Ievers amily runs to over fify examples, an indication o their activity in land speculation in this period. 45  Tomas Dineley, the English travel-writer o the 1680s who visited and sketched Mount Ievers Castle, complained that it required ‘considerable improvements’. Robert O’Brien in his notes in the 1860s on Dineley’s  journal, wrote that, ‘Henry Ievers, Gent., appeared in Dr. Petty’s census, 1659, as ‘itulado’, (titled land owner)  , at Ballymolony, in the parish of Killokennedy  ’, and continued his commentary by inorming us that Ievers had obtained several grants o land, including Ballyarilla, alias Mount Ievers, rom Charles II. His grants rom the King totalled 5,773 acres. In 1668 he was appointed agent to Colonel Daniel O’Brien, 3 rd  Viscount Clare, rom whom he obtained urther considerable leases o land.  46  O’Brien’s ortunes changed dramatically afer the reaty o Limerick, along with those who had supported the Stuarts, although the Ievers’ property appears to have emerged unscathed, and in act Henry continued to prosper and enlarge his property portolio, to become one o the new elite county gentry.According to Dineley, Henry Ievers srcinally came to Ireland as a clerk to a Dublin Barrister, one ‘Mr. Fowles’, and later worked as a clerk to the King’s Commissioners in Revenue, rising through several departments through his own industry and, ‘ had acquired one Tousand  pounds a yeer  ’. He became a Justice o the Peace in 1669, and was at this time worth sixteen hundred pounds a year,  47  a considerable amount o money in that period. He was elected High Sheriff o the county in 1673. Henry Ievers married a daughter o Captain Stephens o Ballysheen and was succeeded by his son John, who was elected MP or the county in 1715, 48  though his election was suspected as having been manipulated.  49  Henry disinherited his eldest son, also Henry, or marrying a lady ‘ of noe fortune and rejecting considerable fortunes I had proposed for him ’, so Henry senior settled the estates on his second son, the above-mentioned John Ievers. Te will is dated 10 August 1690. John, who was the ancestor o the present amily,  50  was elected sheriff o County Clare in 1710. 51  John appears to have had the industrious nature o his ather as can be seen rom his correspondences with the O’Briens o Dromoland regarding land transactions and the building o a barracks in Sixmilebridge in 1714, 52  and also rom his activities in purchasing the estates o Jacobite supporters in the large-scale confiscations which ollowed the capitulation o Limerick in 1691. 53 Henry Ievers, son o the above John, was elected sheriff o the county in 1720.  54  It was this Henry who built Mount Ievers Court in 1733-37 on the site o the old castle o Ballyarilla, which they no doubt had occupied until this period. Bishop Richard Pococke, (Archdeacon o Dublin), in his tour o Ireland in 1752, noted on his  visit to Sixmilebridge, that the village had a handsome new church, and near it, ‘Mr. Ivers has a pleasant new house built’. 55  Clearly there was a surge in construction in the village to support the rapidly expanding Protestant population o the period. In 1878 Mildred Ievers owned 501 acres with a rateable valuation o £416, the great bulk o the estate having passed away rom the amily in the intervening years. Squadron Leader Norman Ievers, who died in 1993, bought the property rom his cousin, Olga Morrow about 1945.  56 References 1. Gerard G. Costello, ‘Mount Ievers Court, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare’, Te Other Clare , Vol. 40 (2016), p. 90-94.2. Te authors would like to acknowledge the assistance o Michael MacNamara & James McKeigue o Sixmilebridge.3. Costello, ibid, p. 91.4. Tis date has also been read as 1620, but on closer inspection, it would appear to be 1630. See: Te Other Clare , Vol. 8, (1984), p .9, in Bill McInerney, ‘  A Sixmilebridge Emigrant’  , where the author is quoting rom a diary entry o a visit to Mount Ievers in 1888.5. See: Royal Irish Academy, Ms 24.D.10,  f. 70, where the entry appears as ollows: - Ballyarila by Loghlen, M  c .Shane,  M  c .Loghlen M  c .Namara.  Tis line o MacNamara descent appears in the Ó Clery Genealogies. See:  Analecta Hibernica , No. 18, ‘Te O Clery Book of Genealogies’,  edited by Séamus Pender, M.A., (Dublin,1951), p. 153, under the heading, ‘Meic Con Mara Béus’ or, ‘urther MacNamaras’.6. Robert Williamwigge,  Materials for a History of Clann-Cuilein , Mss, B.L., Add., 39270, Pedigrees O & Q. Manuscripts available on microfilm at the Local Study Centre, Clare County Library, Ennis. Te srcinal Mss are housed in Te British Library.7. Ibid.8.  Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1900 , ‘Proceedings’, (no author quoted), Quin , p. 429.9. John Mac Rory Magrath,  Caithréim Toirdhealbhaigh,  Vol. II p.34. Irish exts Society Vol. XXVII (London, 1929, reprint 1988, Cambridge University Press). See also wigge, op. cit  ., Pedigree O. See also; . J. Westropp, ‘ Te Normans in Tomond  ’ – part II, JRSAI  , 1891, p. 382.10. Annals o Lough Cé, sub anno,  1467. See also wigge, op. cit  ., pedigree Q.11. wigge, op.cit., Add. Ms 39263,  f207.


Sep 22, 2019
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