Devereux

One of the researchers I correspond with sent me a copy of this report. It was found as a chapter in a book about the Devereuxs of Southwest Ireland and she never sent me the name of the book. There are, however, references to the book at the end of the chapter.

The Devereuxs became the most powerful of the first Norman settlers in Wexford and has been prominent in the life of the county ever since. Their name was taken form the town of Evreux in Normandy, France, from where the first of them went to England with William The Conqueror in 1066. Dr Gabriel Redmond, the historian of the family, says the Devereux are descended from the Duke of Normandy, ancestors of the Conqueror and his successors on the throne of England. One of the leaders of the Norman army at Hastings was Walter D’Evreux.

From the Devereux family of Boydham in Herefordshire sprang the famous Earls of Essex. The first to bear the title was Walter Devereux, who was the Earl Marshall of Ireland at the time of his death in Dublin in 1576. The second Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, was the unlucky favorite of Queen Elizabeth who had him beheaded in the tower of London in 1601 after his failure to subdue the great Hugh O’Neill in Ireland.

According to Dr. Redmond, Sir Phillip Devereux, a younger son of the Hereford house, was one of those who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland. The manor and lands of Ballymagir, between Kilmore Quay and Duncormick became the principal seat of the Devereuxs through the marriage with Alicia, daughter of Sir Alexander de Headon, the first grantee.

The first Devereux holder of the Ballymagir fees on record is Stephen in 1260-1. Ballymagir had been an important pre-Norman fortified site. In Irish it is Baile na Giorrai, meaning the town of the hares. Such was the richness of the land that a later owner (Loftus) changed its name to Richfield.

From the earliest times, states the family history, the Wexford settlers were led in their wars by a Devereux, and the number of Constables, Sheriffs, Justices and other officials which the family supplied to the county is too large to reckon. Right through the centuries from 1170 to 1641, Devereux was the bulwark of the English in Wexford. Sir Nicholas of Ballymagir, and the heads of other branches of the family, joined the Catholic Confederation in 1641 and are listed amongst the forfeiting proprietors in the Cromwellian confiscation. It appears, however, that the family was able to remain in Ballymagir.

Sir Stephen Devereux, who was knighted in 1307, was responsible for the completion of the new wall around Wexford town, begun in the reign of King John. Sir Nicholas, who succeeded to Ballymagir in 1540, was known as "The White Knight" and was one of the most powerful men the family ever produced. In 1543 he married the Lady Catherine le Poer (Power), daughter of Sir Richard, Baron of Curraghmore, County Waterford. As a marriage settlement he received ‘ a sheep from every sheephouse and a cow from every cowhouse in the county’.

In 1599, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, visited Ballymagir and knighted James Devereux, the then head of the house, in acknowledgment of the connection between the English and Irish families. Tradition has it that Devereux was obliged to sell three townlands to pay for the three days of feasting.

There were several other important branches of the Devereux family, notably those of Sallystown, Battlestown, Adamstown, Taghmon, Coolhull, carrigmannon, The Deeps, Ballyshannon and Tomhaggard.

Adamstown Castle was built in 1418 by Adam Devereux, after whom Adamstown is called. The castle was rebuilt in 1556 by Sir Nicholas. A stone above the entrance gate bore the family coat of arms and an inscription in Latin which translates ‘Pray for the souls of Nicholas Devereux, knight, and of the Lady Catherine Power, his wife, who built this manor house in the year of the Lord 1556. The stone is still preserved by the Rothwell family in the hall of Adamstown House.

Philip Devereux of Ballymagir purchased Carrigmannon from Thomas Furlong circa 1600 and gave it to his son Robert who was a member of the Superior Council of the Confederation of Kilkenny. His son Colonel James Devereux was MP for Enniscothy in King James Parliament in 1689. The family remained in Carrigmannon until going to France about the middle of the nineteenth century. John Devereux of "The Deeps" was deprived of his estates in the Cromwellian confiscation’s when they were granted to one of Cromwell’s standard bearers named Randall.

Other Devereux landowners at the Cromwellian period included James of Kiltra, John of Tomhaggard, Lawrence of Littlegraigue, Colonel John of Mountpill, Edward of Loughnageer, Nicholas of Clonsharragh & Nicholas of Ballyrankin. The Tomhaggard Devereuxs have remained in continuous occupation of their ancestral lands from medieval times down to the present owner, James Devereux, and his family and have faithfully preserved Ireland’s only surviving Penal days thatched chapel on their property.

 

 

Andrew Devereux, the last Cistercian Abbot of Dunbrody, became Bishop of Ferns in 1539, having taken the Oath of Supremacy under henry the VIII. Though he had been schismatically consecrated, he was recognized by Rome after the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary in 1553. He lived at Kilhile Castle and died at Fethrd in July 1556 and is buried in the chancel of the church there. During his reign he granted much of the church’s property to his relations. His nephew, John Devereux (son of Nicholas of Ballymagir) was appointed by Queen Elizabeth as the first Protestant Bishop of Ferns on October 14, 1566. He lived at Adamstown Castle.

Rev, William Devereux, parish priest of Piercestown from 1730 to 1771, compiled a catechism for the Diocese of Ferns. He was the Chancellor of the diocese in 1739 and Vicar General. Canon Mark Devereux was Pastor of Bree for 62 years (1774-1836), being succeeded by Canon Philip Devereux who built the present parish church. Archdeacon Peter Devereux, who was parish priest of Kilmore for 43 years (1751-1794), provided in his will for the founding of a catholic seminary in the diocese of Ferns. He lived at Ballyhealy and is buried in Tomhaggard.

Right Rev. Adian Devereux, a native of Poulmarie, Taghmon was consecrated Bishop of Grahamstown, South Africa and first Vicar Apostolic of the Eastern Vicariate of the Cape of Good Hope in 1847.

In recent times Rev. James Devereux, a native of Ramsgrange, was parish priest of Piercetown until his death in April 1798. He was a former Superior of the House of Missions, Enniscorthy.

A distinguished Devereux of the nineteenth century was John of Taghmon who became a lieutenant-General in Bolivar’s Army fighting for the liberation of South American States under Spanish Rule. John Devereux had figured prominently in the 98 insurrection, especially at the Battle of New Ross. He afterwards went to France and Napoleon offered him a General’s command in the army he was preparing to invade England. Subject to satisfactory service he was to be given the whole domain of Evereux in Normandy, from which the family took its name and created a Duke of the Empire. Devereux’s sense of liberty obliged him to decline the tempting offer. He then went to South America, returning to England and Ireland to recruit volunteers for service there. He changed his name to D’Evereux.

In the last century Devereuxs were the merchant princes of Wexford town. Richard Devereux owned the largest fleet of sailing ships in Ireland and brought the first cargo of Indian Corn to Wexford during the Famine. He amassed a fortune from his shipping and malting business and was a munificent benefactor in the interests of Catholic education and the church. He built and endowed the Convent of Mercy at Summerhill and enabled the Christian Brothers to establish a foundation at Wexford. In recognition of his generosity he was conferred with the Knighthood of St Gregory by Pope Pius 1X. He died in 1883

His brother, John Thomas Devereux, who lived at Rocklands, was MP for Wexford Borough in the 1840s and 50s and Deputy Lieutenant. He died in 1885. Another brother, Nicholas, founded the Bishopswater Distillery. He married Ann Scallan, whose father owned a brewery at Spawell Road, Wexford. He died in 1840 and his son Richard who succeeded him also represented Wexford Borough in Parliament for some years, having defeated John Edward Redmond of the Deeps. The distinguished brothers were sons of Richard Devereux of Ballyminane, Killinick, who went to live in Wexford about the middle of the eighteenth century, or later. He married Christina Herron of an important family engaged in shipping and malting and lived in Kenny’s Hall (now Penny’s) in South Main Street. All are buried in the cemetery attached to the Franciscan Church.

The name Devereux is still prominent in the business life of Wexford town where John (Jack) Devereux owns a paper and office supply business in School St. He is a former president of the Wexford Chamber of Commerce. In the public life, Thomas Devereux, Broom Cottage, Brinagh was a member of the old Wexford Board of Guardians; William R. Devereux, Tomhaggard, who died in 1939 and Gregory Devereux, Ballyfinogue, were members of Wexford Co. Council. Richard Devereux (son of William, above) is a veterinary surgeon in Wexford.

For generations Devereux have been associated with the famed Kilmore carol singers, a tradition that that is continued to the present time. Jack Devereux, of Kilmore Quay is an authority on the folklore of the Kilmore area.

A Protestant Devereux family was long seated at Ballyrankin House, Ferns. They were descended from Nicholas Devereux, Ballinaberny (Kilrush), who died in 1698. His son Nocholas, who succeeded him, married a daughter of Gerald Kavenaugh of Ballybranagh, Co. Carlow, a branch of the Borns family. Another son, Ignatius, became a Catholic priest.

John Devereux of Ballyrankin House, born 1798 was a Major in the Wexford Militia in 1801. He married a daughter of Hyacinth Daly, of Kilmore Castle, who was Mayor of Galway. Dying in 1841, he was succeeded by his elder son, the Rev. Nicholas Devereux, D.D. Ballyrankin House, who was the Rector and Prebondary of the Parish of Kilrush. He died in 1867 and was succeeded by the eldest of his five sons. John Daly Devereux who was a barrister and who served as Captain in the Wexford Militia. On his death Ballyrankin passed to his brother, the Rev. Nicholas J. Devereux, London who was chaplain to the Duke of Portland.

There are only two notes at the end of the Devereux chapter in this book. It says Wm. Jeffrey. The Devereuxs of Ballymagir and Adamstown, Journal of Old Wexford Society, No 3 and Burke’s Landed Gentry 1912 Edition.