Turtle Bunbury

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The following is the second part of an essay on the Yelverton family, commissioned by the Green family of Ballyvolane in 2006 and sporadically updated.


The Origins of Francis Yelverton

During the late 17th century, Sir William Yelverton is said to have settled in Ireland and married Miss Jones. However, the family may have been connected to Ireland from long before that. The archives of the Galway Archaeological & Historical Journal apparently has an article about silver marriage chalices of the Galway Tribes which includes reference to one inscribed Catherine Fallon and Cornelius Yelverton which is believed to date to circa 1640. My source believes these Yelvertons lived at Meelick Abbey, that Cornelius was a Captain and that Miss Fallon may have been connected to the Westmeath-Meath Fallons who were also inter-married with the Jones family.(6a)

Sir William's son Walter was probably the Captain Walter Yelverton who, by 1670, was owner of 144 acres at Banteer, Co. Cork, which had been seized from Donough O’Callaghan, ‘Irish Papist’, after the Confederate Wars of the 1640s.

Walter's son Francis (Frank) Yelverton, father of the 1st Viscount Avonmore. Frank is said to have been born in 1705 and to have died on 27th March 1746. He had an address somewhere in the Blackwater Valley of Co. Cork. His wife Eliza (d. 1804) was co-heiress, with her sister Mary Nash, to her father, Jonas Barry of Cork. By this Barry marriage, Francis Yelverton became a kinsman of the Nash, O'Callaghan and Nugent families. (6b).

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Above: 1st Viscount Avonmore, courtesy of Mark Yelverton.

Barry Yelverton, 1st Viscount Avonmore (1736 - 1805)

Barry was born in 1736 and educated at Careys (Casey's?) School in Middleton. In 1754, he went to Trinity College Dublin. In 1761, Barry married Mary Nugent, daughter of William Nugent, an influential Freemason who lived at Clonlost, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. His first cousin, John Nash, married Mary's sister Elizabeth. Mary's cousin Thomas Nugent, 6th Earl of Westmeath, became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1763. (7) Such connections may have been useful when, the following year, the charismatic Barry was called to the Bar, becoming King's Counsel in 1772. In the election of 1774, he was returned for Donegal. Two years later, he secured the seat as MP for Carrickfergus.

The Monks of the Screw

At this time Barry was probably as well known for his fondness for the Turf as he was at the Bar. However, he made his mark on 3rd January 1779 when, just over a month before parliament met, he and his friend, Lord Tracton, co-founded a new Patriotic Society - the Order of St. Patrick. The Masonic Order comprised 56 members, primarily barristers (including Henry Grattan, Henry Flood, Arthur O'Leary and Bowes Daly), but including six peers (such as Lord Charlemont) or heirs to peerages. Their stated aim was simply to give Ireland a constitution "and to nourish and diffuse among her people the spirit and intelligence which should render them worthy of the gift". The Order had its more convivial side in a Dublin drinking club called the "Monks of the Screw" which ran from 1779 to 1785, "screw" being an old word for "drink". Barry modelled the club rules on a quaint and common Monkish Latin verse. The society met every Sunday during the Law Terms at Lord Tracton's house on Dublin's Kevin Street. John Philpott Curran, a childhood friend of Barry and father to Robert Emmett's beloved Sarah, was Grand Prior of the Monks. Curran composed the charter-song which began thus:

When St. Patrick our Order created,
And called us the Monks of the Screw,
Good rules he revealed to our Abbot,
To guide us in what we should do.
But first he replenished his fountain
With liquor the best in the sky,
And he swore by the word of his Saintship,
The fountain should never run dry.
My children , be chaste, till you're tempted;
While sober be wise and discreet;
And humble your bodies with fasting
Whene'er you've got nothing to eat.
Then be not a glass in the covenant,
Except on a festival found;
And this rule, to enforce, I ordain it
A festival-all the year round.

In later years, wringing tears from his aged eyes, Curran recalled the club's hey-day as a time "which we can remember with no other regret than that they can return no more … we spent them not in toys, or lust, or wine, but in search of deep philosophy, wit, eloquence and poetry." (8)

Yelverton's Act, 1781

One of Barry Yelverton's greatest achievements occurred in 1781 when he successfully introduces a bill to amend Poyning's Act so that only bills passed by both Irish Houses of Parliament would be forwarded to England for assent. The bill, enacted in 1782, paved the way for two Catholic Relief Acts (4 May, 27 July) which allowed Catholics to own land outside parliamentary boroughs, to be teachers and to act as guardians.

The Fighting FitzGerald

Barry became Attorney General of Ireland in 1782. He later succeeded the brilliant Hussey Burgh (see de Burgh of Oldtown) as Chief Baron of the Exchequer. As such, in June 1786, he presided over the famous trial of George Robert Fitzgerald, otherwise known as The Fighting Fitzgerald, who had cold-bloodedly murdered Patrick Randal McDonnell, Colonel of the Mayo Volunteers. Yelverton passed a verdict of guilty and George was carted out to Castlebar, a bottle of port to the good and slowly, very slowly, hanged.

Selling his Soul?

On 19th June 1795, George III raised Barry to the peerage as Baron Avonmore. In return for his support of the Act of Union of England and Ireland, he was created Viscount Yelverton in the Irish peerage on 29th December 1800, as well as being made a Baron in the UK. Barry's support for the Act of Union created a serious rift within his own family, half of whom were entirely opposed to the Act and appalled that Barry's loyalty could be bought so easily. Did the Viscount's kinship with Cork have anything to do with his decision? Where did those who supported the Union generally live? Do the electoral results indicate that certain areas were keen to see control wrestled from the exclusive grasp of the Dublin elite? Was there a deliberate move by Munster's ascendancy to shift power from Dublin to London? Is there any correlations to be worked out from the way people voted or was it really all down to fast and hard cash bribes?

Death of the 1st Viscount

Lady Yelverton passed away in 1802. Barry died at his home at Fortfield, Rathfarnham, on 19th August 1805. The house was built in 1785 and he moved there from his Ely Place townhouse soon afterwards. His portrait hangs today in the Dining Hall of the King's Inns in Dublin.

He left three sons and a daughter, the Hon. Anna Maria Yelverton, who was married in 1791 to John Bingham of Newbrook, Co. Mayo. On 31st July 1800 - five months before his father-in-law became a Viscount - Bingham was elevated to the peerage of Ireland as Baron Clanmorris.

Barry's feckless second son the Hon. Barry Yelverton is recalled in the memoirs of the Dublin brothel-queen Peg Plunkett who married him briefly in the 1780s but conceded to dissolve the union in return for 500 guineas.

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Above: The wife of the 2nd Viscount Avonmore was
Mary Reade, daughter of John Reade of East Cams,
Hants. (With thanks to Mark Yelverton.)

2nd Viscount Avonmore (1762-1814)

William Charles Yelverton, 2nd Viscount Avonmore, was born on 5 April 1762. In 1787, he managed to secure a special license to marry a minor, Mary Reade, daughter of John Reade of East Cams, Hants. He died on 28 November 1814 at age 52 in Clytha, Monmouthshire, Wales. His widow, the 2nd Viscountess died in 1834. They left two daughters, Mary (d. 1859) and Louisa (d.1866), and three sons, Barry, 3rd Viscount (1790-1870), the Hon. William Henry (1791-1884) and the Hon Augustus (1802-1864).

The Hon. William Henry Yelverton, MP; Louisa Morgan; Mrs Pender Roberts; Mrs. Yelverton
The Morgan Connection & Whitland Abbey

The Hon. William Henry Yelverton, MP, is of most relevance to this tale as it is through him that their ownership of the South Wales estate of Whitland Abbey came about. Born on 5th March 1791, William was the second son of the 2nd Viscount Avonmore. He was 14 when his grandfather, the charismatic 1st Viscount died and his father succeeded. In 1814, his brother succeeded as 3rd Viscount, a dignitary he would retain for the next 56 years. WH Yelverton's land agent was Henry Shingleton.

On 2nd June 1825, William married Lucy Morgan. She was the only child and heiress of John Morgan of Furness House and Whitland Abbey near Narbeth in Carmarthenshire. (*) The marriage brought William into possession of the great Cistercian abbey and Victorian house at Whitland. These had been purchased from a gentleman named Bludworth in 1749 by Lucy's great-grandfather, the iron-works magnate John Morgan. The property included a forge, the oldest ironworks in Carmarthenshire, where the cannonballs used by Cromwell to besiege Pembroke were reputedly made. However, the forge is not mentioned after 1800 and was probably closed down by Lucy's grandfather, Charles Morgan. (9) In 1832, William, already a JP and sometime DL, was elected MP for Carmarthen, a seat he retained until 1834.

* By other accounts, Lucy was a sister of Charles Morgan of Ailtygog, Carmarthen, and later of Bryngarn, St. David's.

The Longworth Scandal Part One

The Yelvertons became wholly embroiled in the scandal during the Thelwell v. Yelverton case. Their position was made all the more extraordinary when they took the side of the injured Miss. Longworth as opposed to that of William's nephew, Major Yelverton, the future 4th Viscount Avonmore. Indeed, by 1862, William and Lucy were themselves in court, concluding an action of libel against Major Yelverton's brother-in-law, James Walker, who had written a letter berating them for continuing to associate with Miss. Longworth after the trial. In Walker's mind, the Yelvertons were supporting Miss. Longworth because, if her marriage to Major Yelverton was upheld as legitimate, then the Majors' children by his second marriage would have been declared illegitimate - and thus their own son, Willie Yelverton, would have become heir to the Avonmore estates. Walker accused William Yelverton of conduct "so selfish, so base, so unnatural that it is hardly possible to believe it". He further censured them for maintaining a friendship with Miss. Longworth, a "most degraded woman" and it was on account of this that the libel action arose. Walker was obliged to pay a nominal sum in damages. Lucy Yelverton turned Catholic just before her death in 1863 and, as noted in the History of Antiquities of Whitland by the Rev. William Thomas, was buried in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Carmarthern. (10) Her widowed husband, the Hon. William died aged 93 in 1884.

Willie Yelverton of Belle Isle (1840 - 1909)

The Hon WH Yelverton (1791-1884) employed Henry Shingleton (b c. 1817 Saltwood, Kent- 1875 Narbeth) as a Farm Bailiff, cum Land Agent, at Whitland Abbey from about 1862/3 until Henry's death in 1875. Henry, who had started as a farmer in his own right in Kent, had worked as Steward to Thomas Field Esq of Acton Castle, Perranuthnoe, a mine owner with mines in Carmarthenshire and Cornwall. Prior to his move to Whitland Abbey, he had been Steward at The Lodge Llanarthne in Carmarthenshire (i.e. working for Abadam at Middleton Hall). His son Henry Shingleton (1855 Perranuthnoe-1906 Narbeth), rode for Yelverton at Longchamps, Paris and his descendants still have his jockey suit, navy with white spots. Young Henry was just 21 when his father died, an event celebrated in great style with a beacon on the hill. Two of Henry senior's 6 children died at Whitland within ten days of one another, aged 6 and 4, so probably in an epidemic. They are buried beneath a rather grand grave. Henry died while a relatively young man and his widow and family used to visit the grave often; the Hon WH Yelverton's daughter Miss Henrietta Maria Yelverton, who died 1920, always gave them tea there. With thanks to Rosemary Bentley, great-great-granddaughter of Henry Shingleton.

Willie Yelverton

William and Lucy's son, William "Old Willie" Henry Morgan Yelverton of Belle Isle, Lorrha, Co. Tipperary, was born in February 1840. He was heir presumptive to his cousin, the 6th Viscount Avonmore, until he died unmarried in Biarritz on 3rd March 1909. Willie left an estate valued at about £28,000. Like his mother, he died a Catholic and bequeathed £1000 to the Catholic Bishop of the diocese in which Carmarthen is situated, and a further £1000 for the benefits of the Catholic clergy in the diocese. He also provided that his inheritance should only pass to a Roman Catholic. As it happened he was succeeded by his sister, Miss. Henrietta Maria Yelverton (born 30 Jan 1842). (11) Upon the death of Miss. HM Yelverton on 3rd November 1920, the Whitland Abbey estate passed to her niece, Harriet Blake.

Belle Isle was eventually purchased by the Waller family but was also at one stage owned by Sir Henry Seagrave, the early 20th century land speed record holder. While breaking the world water speed record on Lake Windermere in June 1930, Sir Henry and his engineer were killed near Bowness in front of hundreds of spectators.

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Lizzie Pender Roberts with
her two daughtes,
Mary Ellen Louisa Roberts
and Harriet Blake.

Harriet Blake

Harriet Blake was the daughter of William and Lucy Yelverton's eldest daughter Mary Elizabeth (known as "Cousin Lizzie") by her husband, the Rev. William Pender Roberts, variously Rector of Trevalga and Bocastle in Cornwall. William was the son of a naval captain. Lizzie was born on 20th April 1826. The Rev. and Mrs. Lizzie Roberts had two sons and two daughters. They subsequently moved to Fern Villa in Carmarthen where the Rev. Roberts passed away, as did his eldest son, who must have been a boy at the time. Sometime before his death, the Rev. Roberts resigned his rectory and, with Lizzie, converted to Catholicism. He was duly buried in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Union Street, Carmarthen.

Lizzie Pender died aged 67 on May 14th 1893 and was duly buried in the same grave as her husband and son in the burial ground attached to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Carmarthen. The grave lay next to that of her mother and late sister, Madame Salamon. The Very Rev. Father Placid officiated. They left a son and two daughters, one of whom was the afore-named Harriet Elizabeth, who married Major Charles A. Blake of Meelick House, Co. Galway.

In 1927, the King granted permission to William Walter Yelverton Bruce Blake of Whitland Abbey to take and use the surname and arms of Yelverton in addition to those of Blake. Harriet died in September 1945 and was buried at St. Mary's Church, Whitland Abbey. For more on the Blake connection, click here.

Harriet's unmarried sister Mary Ellen Louisa Roberts died in August 1942 and was buried in St Mary's (Anglican) churchyard in Whitland with her unmarried aunt Henrietta Maria Yelverton and her grandfather, the Hon W H Yelverton, MP.

The photograph on the left is possibly Luttrell Blake. In the centre, Luttrel stands with Surgeon Walter Blake and his wife Ellen before a canon in India in the 1870s. The house at Whitland Abbey passed from the Yelvertons to the Blakes.




The Blakes of Whitland Abbey

Major C.A. Blake reputedly "died of grief while attending Eisteddfad of Wales at Carmarthen in 1911 because the agent had the woods cut before he and Mrs. Blake came into the estate". Whitland Abbey was left to Charles' nephew, Luttrell Bruce Blake, who, with his wife Lucy Moore, had an only son Walter, aged 6 at the time. Walter Blake had lost his mother at the age of 1 or 2 and when his father Luttrell died in 1919, he was orphaned at 14. This rather tough situation possibly contributes to the fact that Walter was deemed 'brain damaged at birth'.

Luttrell's brother, Major Cecil Blake, was appointed Walters' guardian but, having recently returned from Gallipoli with a hole (and a plate) in his head and a strong taste for the liquor, was later deemed unsuitable for the task. Walter was made a ward of the chancery court and the estates of Whitland Abbey were therefore sold in trust for him by the court. Harriet Blake then purchased the house at Whitland Abbey back from the Chancery Court. When she died, without issue, she left Whitland Abbey to her great-nephew, Lt.-Col. (Charles) Anthony (Howell Bruce) Blake.

Tony Blake fought in the Second World War and was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.) of the USA and the Military Crosses of Poland and Czechoslovakia. He commanded the Royal Ulster Rifles during the Korean War. It was in the capacity that he was effectively murdered in January 1951 at the age of 39. His death was not recorded in The Times until the following June. His devastated widow, Elspeth, an Arnott from Carcolston, Nottinghamshire, put the Whitland estate up for sale. The Blakes failed to raise the necessary £7000 to keep either the estate or the Abbey & Home Farm and it was sold for that same sum to a Mr. Legge. In 1958, the Abbey was owned by Dr. M. Thomas of Parke, while the farmland had been divided amongst surrounding farmers.

Bentinck Yelverton (1792-1837)

Returning to the Hon. Walter Yelverton, second son of the 1st Viscount Avonmore. He was born in 1772 and married aged 19 to his cousin Cecilia, daughter of George Yelverton of Belle Isle, Lorrha, Co. Tipperary. She was a daughter of the 1st Viscounts brother. Belle Isle lay along the banks of the Shannon on the road to Portumna. In 1797, Walter was elected MP for Naas and, the following year, he became MP for Tuam. Cecilia died in 1801 leaving Walter with two sons - Bentinck Walter, aged nine, Frederick and two girls, Mary and Cecilia. Walter had by now left politics and was cursitor in the Court of Chancery in Ireland.

In 1808, 17-year-old Bentinck was admitted to Trinity College Dublin as a Fellow Commoner. He attained a Bachelor of Arts in the summer of 1814. He subsequently secured a commission in the 6th (or 1st Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot but narrowly missed service in the Napoleonic Wars. He was with the regiment in Cape Town when word arrived that his father, Walter, had died in Ireland in June 1824. Bentinck Walter Yelverton duly succeeded to Belle Isle but his attempts to manage his fathers affairs and to look after his two unmarried sisters earned him an unfortunate blot in his copy book when the Adjutant's Roll noted he had been 'Absent without Leave from 31 March 1826'. He subsequently retired on half-pay. In June 1829, he married his cousin, the Hon. Anna Maria Bingham, eldest daughter of John Bingham, 1st Baron Clanmorris of Newbrook, County Mayo. Their daughter Anna Maria Cecilia was born in 1833. Bentinck died in Florence in 1837, aged forty-five, and was interred in the Swiss-owned 'English' Cemetery. His daughter died in Nice aged just 13 in 1846.

Bentinck's younger brother, the Rev. (Benjamin Chapman) Frederick Yelverton (1800-1849) joined the church and was married in 1838 to another of Baron Clanmorris's daughters, the Hon. Louisa Bingham. Their grandson Admiral Bentinck John Davies Yelverton, CB, became Senior Admiral of the Royal Navy following the death of Admiral de Chair in the summer of 1958. He was educated on the Britannia in the 1880s and served in both wars.

Rev. James Yelverton Wilson (1811–1875)

Also of interest is the Reverend James Yelverton Wilson (1811 – 1875), a missionary affiliated with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) in England. Quite how he is connected to the family is uncertain but the names ‘Avonmore’ and ‘Yelverton’ were deeply important to him. He came to Australia with his wife Charlotte Louisa Barber and two children on 10th July 1839. The Society recorded that he had previously been ‘curate of Carlton near Snaith (Yorkshire) on a stipend of £60 a year’ and ‘has been four years in orders.' He apparently drew 2 years wages (£100) before leaving. He settled in Portland, Australia and was later succeeded by his eldest son, Frederick Alfred Adolphus Wilson (1841 – 1894). I don’t know the name of the other child who came to Australia but he had a further five children, born in Australia, namely Mary Jane (1842), Charl Maria (1843), Eliza (1844), George St Vincent (1846) and Arthur (1847). The Yelverton name has continued down through the Wilson line to the present day from Frederick’s son Arthur Avonmore Wilson (1881 – 1951) to Barry Yelverton Wilson (ukn) to John Yelverton Wilson (1947 – present) to David Yelverton Wilson (1974 – present). (11b)

3rd Viscount Avonmore (1790-1870)

Barry John Yelverton, 3rd Viscount Avonmore was born on 21 February 1790. At the age of 21 he married Jane Boothe, daughter of Thomas Boothe. He succeeded his father as 3rd Viscount three years later. By his first wife, who died young, the 3rd Viscount had two sons and three daughters. (12) Both sons predeceased him. (13)

He was still a young man of 32 when, in August 1822, he married, secondly, his cousin Cecilia, eldest daughter of Charles O'Keefe of Hollybrook, Co. Tipperary, by his wife Letitia. The cousin connection came through Letitia O'Keefe's father, George Yelverton, of Belle Isle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. (13a) The connection between the two families went back by at least a generation; Manus O'Keeffe married Charity Yelverton in 1776. The O'Keefes also had a residence at Hazelrock, Ayle, Westport, Co. Mayo, where the 3rd Viscount lived. That house is now a ruin. By his second wife, the 3rd Viscount had five daughters and two sons. (14) Cecilia died on 1st February 1876 and the 3rd Viscount aged 80 on 24 October 1870.

NB: Edward Yelverton O’Keefe. Esq., of Deswillstown, Co. Dublin, was married on 5 April 1832 at St. Peter’s Church, to Louisa Disney (born 1813), youngest daughter of the late Fownes Disney, Harcourt street. Esq., by his wife Ann Prendergast. (Dublin Evening Packet Correspondent, 14th April 1832). Fownes Disney, an attorney (Fownes Street, 1783) and gentleman, married Anne Prendergast at the Parish of St Bride’s in Dublin on 6 Dec 1788. Anne was a daughter of Sir Thomas Prendergast and a sister of General Sir Jeffrey Prendergast. At the time of their wedding, Fownes Disney was listed as an attorney of the Exchequer at the Kings Inns. Louisa Disney’s only brother Alexander was born in the East Indies on 12 Feb 1804 [and ed TCDH 1828, GI H1826, T1831, but I’m unsure what all that means!]. One of Louisa’s sisters was Emily Isabella Wise, wife of Thomas A. Wise, Esq., East India Company’s Service, who died in Calcutta on 12 May 1839. [Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, 17 Aug 1839]. Another sister Anne Disney was married on 24 April 1822 to Lieutenant Colonel Grove. [Yorkshire Gazette, 4 May 1822]. Fownes Disney died in the 65th of his age, at his house in Harcourt-street, Dublin, on 14 March 1823. [Morning Post, 27 March 1823] His widow Ann died in Piccadilly, London, at an advanced age in 1848. [Cork Examiner, 6 Oct 1848]. If anyone knows any more of the Fownes Disney connection, please be advised that Marilyn Watson of Australia seeks more. You can hopefully find her through Carlow Rootsweb or by emailing me].

The 4th Viscount & the Longworth Trial

Major William Charles Yelverton (1824 - 1883), 4th Viscount Avonmore, was born on 27 September 1824, the eldest son of the 3rd Viscount by his second wife, Cecilia, eldest daughter of Charles O'Keefe of Hollybrook, Co. Tipperary. He was educated for military service at Woolwich and became a Major in the Royal Artillery. He served in the Crimea, fought in the Battle of Inkerman and won medal and clasps at the Siege of Sebastopol. He was awarded 5th Class Knight of Medjidie in Turkey. On 15th August 1857, he was married in Rostrevor, Co. Down, to Marie Theresa Longworth. This marriage would form the basis of Thelwall v. Yelverton, a court case which preoccupied scandal-lusting Victorians throughout the spring of 1861.

The 4th Viscount had met Theresa shortly after the battle of Balaclava. He was a decorated officer and she a nurse who had tended to the wounded in the aftermath of the battle. She was born at Chetwode in Lancashire, the daughter of a silk merchant, and educated at a French convent with her sisters. She became a Roman Catholic during her teenage years and spent two years in Italy completing her education. One of her sisters married Monsieur La Favre of Boulogne. It was during a return to England from a visit to the Le Favres that Theresa met Major Yelverton. They were married by Scots Law in April 1857 and at Killowen in August 1857. However, after what must have been a serious fall out, Yelverton abandoned Theresa, now pregnant, and, on 26th June 1858, he was married again, in Edinburgh. His second wife was Emily Marianne, the youngest daughter of Major General Sir Charles Ashworth, KCB.

When Theresa began legal proceedings against her "husband" he countered that their so-called marriage had not taken place.Though the legal question of the case concerned events which occurred in Britain after the war, the trial nevertheless focused much attention on Yelverton's alleged seduction of the nurse. Mrs. Yelverton claimed she and her husband did not "cohabit" until after the Roman Catholic ceremony, but Major Yelverton testified that after determining in a Crimean hospital to make Theresa Longworth his mistress, he "attempted her virtue" on a transport ship to Constantinople. She became, he said, "a slave of her passion for him," engaging in "illicit intercourse" in the Crimea. Chief Justice Whiteside delivered a hugely popular speech in which he found in Miss Longworth's favour. He said that even though Major Yelverton was a Protestant, and Miss Longworth a Roman Catholic, and that they had been married by a Roman Catholic priest, their marriage was still valid. Major Yelverton was court-martialled for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and suspended from military service. Whiteside's verdict was greeted with cheers in the House of Commons. However, on 28 July 1864, Whiteside's decision of Thelwall v. Yelverton was reversed when House of Lords decided 3-1 that the marriage was illegal. The Irish Times noted that "more than one enthusiastic sympathiser wrote to Mrs. Yelverton offering marriage as soon as the decision of the Lords was known; thus adding injury to insult". Therese Longworth moved to South Africa and died at Pietermaulzburg, Natal, in November 1881. She is buried in the Church of England cemetery there.

Peace in Biarritz

The Major fared better with his second wife, Emily. Her father, General Ashworth, was a veteran of the Peninsula War but was badly wounded at St. Pierre and died when she was just a small girl. She had previously been married to the botanist and geologist Edward Forbes, President of the Royal Geological Society from February 1853 until his sudden and premature death aged 39 in 1854. Major Yelverton succeeded as 4th Viscount in 1870 and died thirteen years later at the Villa Gobert in Biarritz. He left two sons, Barry Nugent, 5th Viscount (1859 - 1885) and Algernon

5th Viscount Avonmore (1859 - 1885)

Captain Barry Nugent Yelverton was born in 1859 and succeeded to the title in 1883 when he was a 24-year-old officer in the Hampshire Regiment. Two years later he went on the Sudan Expedition but died of enteric fever while stationed at Kerbekan on 13th February 1885. (15)

6th Viscount Avonmore (1866 -1910)

Algernon William Yelverton was 20 years old when he succeeded his deceased brother as 6th and last Viscount in 1885. He was a 2nd Lieutenant with the City of Dublin Artillery in 1889. He was promoted to Lieutenant to 1891 and in 1893 gained the rank of Captain in the 4th Brigade of the Southern Irish Division of the Royal Artillery. On 17th December 1890 he married Mabel Sara, 2nd daughter of George Evans of Gortmeeron, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. Their only child, a daughter, the Hon. Evelyn Marianne Mabel, was born on 1 December 1892. In late 1897 he went to Canada as one of thirteen men involved in the Helpman/O'Brien Expedition to the Klondike. The party left Edmonton in early 1898, assisted by local guides and outfitters, intending to carry out mapping and mineral exploration along the way. While they successfully traveled overland part way, their party separated into two smaller groups and never reached Dawson City. By 1899 most members of this party had returned to England and Ireland.

Lord Avonmore's story is colourfully presented on the community website for Avonmore in south-east Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as follows:

"The community of Avonmore is named after Lord Avonmore. He was an adventurer of the Irish peerage who sojourned through Edmonton an 1897 expedition to the Klondike Gold Rush. Being a resourceful, far-seeing member of the First Estate, and no doubt hearing of the Dawson country’s ribald reputation, My Lord Ave-one-more (as he became known to local wags) made a point of providing space in his caravan for one of the largest stocks of liquor west of the Red River! Cases of Benedictine, champagne and cabaret; barrels of caret; and demijohns of amber brandy were laid in for the insatiable market of the masculine north. Unfortunately for the Sourdoughs, there was one small matter the Lord of Eire failed to account for in his scheme; the fact that the Klondike was under a period of prohibition. Now Lord Avonmore was no real law breaker. He hesitated to make a desperate break through the redcoats’ lines. He decided to get rid of the lot in Edmonton. But the city fathers saw the issue from a different angle and Lord Avonmore was refused a seller’s license. Consequently, Avonmore and his crew, accompanied by local socialites, polished off the booze in a six week drinking bout characterized by 'many arguments and flying fisticuffs in a wooly mingling of western and Irish traditions.'" (With thanks to Cynthia Ann McKeddie and to adam Green for observing that this be the plight of many a third son).

The 6th Viscount died on 3rd September 1910, whereby the title became extinct. His widow, the last Viscountess died at Bournemouth in 1929. There is a memorial plaque to the 6th Viscount on the wall of the Church of Ireland in Rathfarnham, Dublin. In their obituary to him, The Irish Times noted: "Viscount Avonmore had two seats in Ireland, Belle Isle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, and Hazel Rock, Westport, Co. Mayo". When Evelyn Yelvereton died unmarried on 16 Jan 1956, she left £53,000, less £28,000 duty, to cousins on her mothers' side of the family.

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Above left: Barry Augustus Yelverton (1895-1960), heir apparent, is on the left with his brother Macey Goring Yelverton. The car was a Jenson Healey.
Above right:
B. A. Yelverton's wife Margaret Ethal Green (1921-1970), daughter of John Thomas Green of Christchurch.
(Images courtesy of Mark Yelverton).

The Avonmore Claimant & the Mutiny of the Tory

Following the death of the 6th Viscount Avonmore in 1910, his titles became dormant. However, there is an on-going bid for the Viscountcy by the family of Ian Foster Yelverton of Australia. His grandparents were Barry Augustus Yelverton (1895-1960) and Margaret Ethel Green (died 1970), daughter of John Thomas Green of Christchurch. Barry and Miss Green were married in 1921. [John Thomas Green was the son of Thomas Hillier Green and Elizabeth Ann Amor who married in Pitcombe,Somerset, in 1861 - thanks to Mike Amor].

Barry Auguustus Yelverton (1895-1960) is deemed to have been a great-grandson of the Hon. Augustus Yelverton, third son of the 2nd [or 3rd?] Viscount. Augustus predeceased his elder brothers and died on 16th November 1863. However, by his marriage, in Howth, to Sarah Whiteside, he had two sons, who seem to have settled in the Isle of Man. The sons were William Henry Yelverton (baptized in the Parish of Rushden on the Isle of Man on 21st September 1825) and Barry Augustus Yelverton (baptized in Rushden on 11th December 1826). (16) The 1841 census of the Isle of Man notes 15 year old William and 14 year old Barry living at Banks Street, Castletown, with their 11-year-old sister Caroline and, most crucially, 9-year-old Augustus Yelverton. William and Barry both served upon the Tory, a ship that came to much notoriety when the crew mutinied in 1845. William Yelverton is certainly mentioned in The Times account of the mutiny, and he is 'said to be the grandson of the celebrated Lord Avonmore'.

The ultimate fate of William and Barry is unknown but, if it can be proved that they both died without male offspring, then the present heir to the Viscountcy is Ian Yelverton, the direct descendent of their younger brother, Augustus. Anyone with further thoughts on this claim should contact Ian's brother, Barry Yelverton [avbar at unwired.com.au] (17)

Charles Yelverton O'Connor, CMG (1843-1902)

One further member of the family worth considering is the great Irish-Australian engineer, Charles Yelverton O'Connor. He was born at Gravelmount, Co. Meath, on 11 Jan 1843 and educated at an endowed school in Waterford. After serving his apprenticeship with Mr. J Chaloner Smith in 1859, he was closely involved with railway engineering until 1865. He then moved to New Zealand and became Assistant Engineer for Canterbury Province in 1866. He later became Inspecting Engineer for the whole of Middle Island. In 1883, he was appointed Under Secretary of Public Works. In 1890, he became Marine Engineer for the whole colony but resigned the following year to take up office as Engineer-in-chief for Western Australia. In this capacity he oversaw the construction of the new harbour at Freemantle Port at which the mail boat Oremuz (sic) was able to unload in April 1899. Freemantle then became port of call for all important steamers to Western Australia. Twenty five years later the battle cruiser HMS Hood tied up at the wharf - with Captain Percy Benson on board ...

O'Connor was also in charge of railways, the mileage of which trebled during his first five years in office. By 1897 his railways had reached the gold mines at Kalgoorlie. William Knox D'Arcy must surely have taken note in regard to his own gold empire at Mount Morgan in Queensland! As the driving force of the Coolgardie Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, he also constructed the 330 mile pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie. Water had previously cost 2/6 a gallon and the gold prospectors were struggling. A succession of gold rushes in the area since 1887 had caused a population explosion in the barren and dry desert centre of Western Australia. O'Connor's pipeline would cart five million gallons (23,000 m³) of water per day to the Goldfields from a dam on the Helena River near Mundaring weir in Perth, pumped in eight successive stages through 330 miles (530 km) of 30 inch (760 mm) diameter pipe to a tank on Mt Burgess to the north of Kalgoorlie. The reservoir and pipeline took seven years of work on pipelines.

However, 'anxiety led to sleepless nights and strain for Charles O'Connor'. His honesty was impinged and his resistance broke down. On the morning of March 10th 1902, he went for a ride on the beach at Freemantle and shot himself. In a letter he wrote, 'I feel that my brain is suffering and I am in great fear of what effect all this worry will have on me. I have lost control of my thoughts. The Coolgarde scheme is all right and I could finish it if I got the chance and protection from misrepresentation. But there is no hope of that now and it is better that it should be given to some entirely new man to do who will be completely untrammelled by responsibilities. 10-3-02. Put the wing wall to Helena weir at once'.

The job passed to his engineer CSR Palmer who carried it out with energy and success and water reached Kalgoorlie on 22nd December 1902. On 25th June 1903, Sir John Forrest went out amid temperatures of 106 degrees in the shade and turned on the water at Coolgardie. At 5 o'clock that evening, water began to flow steadily into the great reservoir at Kalgoorlie. The cost of the enterprise was paid off from revenue over the next thirty years. O'Connor left a widow and seven children. His bronze statue stands today in Freemantle. (18)

Henry John Yelverton (1854 - 1906) - Australian Politician

Another Yelverton to make an impact in Australia was Henry John Yelverton, the son of a timber miller, born in Fremantle, Western Australia on 6 April 1854. Educated at the Christian Brothers College, he started work as a timber contractor for his father's business in 1872. He would later work as a merchant, farmer and pastoralist. In January 1878, he married Eloise Guerrier; they would have four sons and five daughters. In 1900 he became a Justice of the Peace. On 24 April 1901, he successfully stood for election to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Sussex. He held the seat until the election of 28 June 1904, which he did not contest. Henry Yelverton died on 14 January 1906 in the Government Hospital at Bunbury. He is buried at Busselton Cemetery.

With thanks to Adam Green, Nathaniel Crowell, Rosemary Bennett, Richard Yelverton Simpson, Bethany Congdon, Benjamin Wilson, Mike Amor, Caroline Aliaga-Kelly, Grace Heraty, Cynthia Ann McKeddie, M. Smith, Marilyn Watson and others.


[6a] Catherine Fallon is mentioned in Symingtons transplantations. To establish the connection between the Galway branch and Miss. Fallon, and the branch of Sir William, it would help if we knew the lineage of Sir William’s wife, Miss. Jones. If she was one of the Jones’s who arrived in Elizabethan times, rather than a Cromwellian Jones, that is certainly of interest. For several generations, there were intermarriages between the Elizabethan Jones and the Westmeath and Meath branch of the Fallon family. There was a Franciscan Abbey at Meelick and the Athlone branch of the Fallon family acquired two Franciscan Abbeys in the late 1500s which, through their connected properties, may have had some claim to Meelick Abbey. The Fallons also held the wine prisage in Athlone and Athboy.

[6b.] Eliza's sister Mary was married to John Nash of Rockfield (or Ballyheen) near Kanturk. Their son, John Nash, an attorney, married Elizabeth, Nugent, daughter and co-heir of William Nugent of Clonlost, County Westmeath, and was forbear of the Nash family of Nash's Springwater fame. The Nash-Nugent marriage produced three daughters of whom the second, Catherine, married Robert Courtenay, JP, of Ballyedmond, Co. Cork, and was grandmother to Richard Hugh Smith Barry, ancestor of the Smith-Barry family and sometime Admiral of the Royal Yacht Club. Mary and John's second son, Thomas Nash, was ancestor of the Nash family of Finnstown House outside Lucan. For more, see Finnstown House by Turtle Bunbury.

[7.] Lepper and Crossle, History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, p. 211

[8.] Grattan's Failure, Danny Mansergh, p. 37.

[9.] The Forge was rebuilt at the expense of the younger John Morgan in 1788.

[10.] In the Chancel of St. Mary's Church, Whitland, it says: "Sacred to the memory of Lucy, wife of William Henry Yelverton of Whitland Abbey in this county and only daughter of John Morgan, Esq, of Furnace, who died April 1st 1863 aged 56 years. RIP".

[11.] There is a caricature of WHM Yelverton somewhere; Adam knows more! Also a portrait of one of them in TCD…

[11a.] At the Trial of Philip Manuel in March 1836, the defendent 'committed February 22, by William Pender Roberts, Esq., for having discharged a gun at his daughter, Caroline Manuel, from which she received a mortal wound'. This may have been the Rev. Roberts' father.

[11b.] This information courtesy of Benjamin Wilson.

image title

The 3rd Viscount's grandson, who founded
the New Zealand Permanent Artillery.

[12.] On 19th July 1839, the 3rd Viscount's eldest daughter, the Hon. Sydney Eloise Yelverton married Forster Goring (1810-1893), fourth son of Sir Charles Forster Goring, 7th Bt, Sheriff of Sussex. The Gorings were an old Sussex family who came to prominence with the Tudors. Forster served as a Cornet in the 1st King's Dragoon Guards and was Clerk of the Executive Council of New Zealand (1862-89). They had three sons and three daughters.

In 1897, the eldest son succeeded as Sir Harry Yelverton Goring (1840-1911) on the death of his cousin.

Another son, Lt. Col. Forster Yelverton Goring (1846-1923) served in the New Zealand War of 1861-1866 and was the first commanding officer and Founder of the New Zealand Permanent Artillery. He was next appointed as commanding officer of the Dunedin District, and in 1890 was transferred to Auckland, where he assumed the command of the Permanent Artillery, the forts, and the volunteers. Unfortunately, through failing eyesight, Lieut.-Colonel Goring was obliged to retire from the command in 1897.

[13.] The 3rd Viscount's second son George Frederick Yelverton (1818 - 1860) married Louisa, daughter of GL Prendergast, MP. In January 1876, Louisa married secondly Charles Fetherstonhagh (d. 10-1-1886) of Staffield Hall in Cumberland.

[13a.] There appears to have been two George Yelvertons around at this same time. The Viscount's brother (www.thepeerage.com/p5475.htm#i54750), apparently had two daughters, one of which (Cecilia) married the Hon Walter Aglionby Yelverton, who is the 2nd son of Barry Yelverton, 1st Viscount Avonmore, which would make them 1st cousins. George's other daughter, Letitia, married Charles O'Keefe, and their daughter, Cecilia, married Barry John Yelverton, 3rd Viscount Avonmore, making them 2nd cousins. Small wonder it's an extinct peerage! The other George Yelverton mentioned is this one:www.thepeerage.com/p14402.htm#i144013 - his daughter, Mary, married Dominic Joseph Blake (great grandfather to Granny Green), establishing the first Blake-Yelverton connection. Since this George was married to a Letitia Burke, is it reasonable to suggest that these two George Yelvertons were one and the same? Since the other George had a daughter called Letitia, mostly likely named after her mother, Letitia Burke … it would be good to confirm this from another source.

[14.] By his second marriage, the 3rd Viscount left a daughter, the Hon. Maletta (Maura Letitia) Yelverton (1839 - 1910) who married Captain Crofton TB Vaudeleur (d. 1881) of the 12th Lancers, son of CJ Vaudeleur of Wardenstown, Co. Westmeath & Moyula, Co. Galway. Upon her death in 1910, Maletta's estae passed to Mr CJ Bayley, Vicar of Wardenstown. Another of the 3rd Viscount's daughters, Louisa Elizabeth (b. 1827) married Herr Herman Hultysch in 1873.

[15.] A memorial tablet to his memory in the South Aisle of Winchester Cathedral reads: "To the Glory of God and in affectionate memory of Barry Nugent Yelverton, 5th Viscount Avonmore, Captain in the 1st battalion Hampshire Regiment who, whilst on duty with the Nile Force, died at Kezbekan on the 13th February 1885 aged 26 years. Erected by his brother officers, the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers of the battalion". The Yelverton arms are at the top of the memorial.

[16.] "Irish Intelligence" 20th August 1828. In a Dublin court, the Hon August Yelverton is quoted as saying: 'I was married by the protestant Minister of Howarth Mr. Gavua. My wife is in Howth, and I have two little boys, but they are in the Isle of Man'.

[17.] One can trace the lineage from Augustus through to Barry and Ian by following these links:
1) William Charles Yelverton, 2nd Viscount Avonmore (1762-1814) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5445.htm#i54445
2) Hon. Augustus Yelverton (1802-64) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5510.htm#i55092
3) Augustus Barrymore Yelverton (1829-1909) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5532.htm#i55312
4) Foster Goring Yelverton (1867-1952) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5535.htm#i55343
5) Barry Augustus Yelverton (1895-) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5538.htm#i55377
6) Barry Goring Yelverton (1923-) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5553.htm#i55523
7) Ian Foster Yelverton (1950-) - http://www.thepeerage.com/p5555.htm#i55545

[18.] See: M. Tauman, The Chief, C. Y. O'Connor, 1843-1902 (Perth, 1978); Merab Harris Tauman, 'O'Connor, Charles Yelverton (1843 - 1902)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, Melbourne University Press, 1988, pp 51-54.