© Donal G. Burke 2013
Early references to Yelvertons established in County Galway date from about the early seventeenth century. In the late 1630s one George Yelverton held property in the parish of Ardrahan, in the barony of Dunkellin, in right of his wife Kate Donnellan, while both Cornelius and Catherine Yelverton were responsible for the production of a Galway-made mass chalice bearing the date 1640.[i]
In the latter years of the seventeenth century members of the family appear to have been seated in the parish of Killinane or Killinan, between the towns of Loughrea and Gort, but maintained a close connection with the Franciscan friars at Meelick in east Galway, the principal members of the family still members of the Roman Catholic faith at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
William Yelverton of Killinane, Co. Galway, gentleman, born about 1645, would appear to be the same man as ‘Mr. Yelverton’, tenant of the lands of Killinane, approximately 676 Irish acres, rented from the Dowager Countess of Clanricarde in the second decade of the eighteenth century.[ii] He was well known to the friars at Meelick and was involved in decisions taken regarding rebuilding work undertaken by the friars to their convent about 1685.[iii] Four years later he was again described as ‘of Killinane’ as one of those to whom the friars entrusted a number of their valuables for protection in 1698 at a time of persecution.[iv]
William Yelverton’s wife Anne died on the 4th December 1707 and was buried in the church of the Franciscan friary at Meelick and he himself, dying a Catholic in 1714 was likewise buried in the same church.[v] William’s son Matthew, who died in 1764, erected in 1727 a stone tablet at Meelick friary to his parent’s memory and that of his brother John who died in June 1708.
Another of the family, George Yelverton, seated at Bellisle, on a hillside on the eastern bank of the River Shannon in County Tipperary overlooking the town of Portumna, ‘a hospitable and charitable man’ was recorded by the Meelick friar as having died in November 1787. He buried in the tomb of his family and, at the foot of the 1727 tablet, a monument was erected, no longer extant, to the memory of Miss Louisa O Keef, who died in 1825, granddaughter of George Yelverton of Bellisle.
The arms of the Rt. Hon. Barry John, Viscount Avonmore, Baron Yelverton of Avonmore in the County Cork, seated at Bellisle, County Tipperary were given in the mid nineteenth century as ‘Argent, three lions (two and one) rampant Gules, a chief of the last charged with a crescent of the field, with crest of a lion passant regardant Gules and supporters of two lions regardant Gules, langued Azure and for motto ‘Renascentur.’[vi]
An early emblazon of the arms of an Yelverton in Ireland occurs in the funeral entry records of the then Ulster King of Arms, wherein are recorded the arms of Thomas Adish of Portmarnock, County Dublin who died on the 6th June 1616. This Thomas Adish was married to one Anne Yelverton and his funeral entry displayed his arms upon an impaled shield. The Adish arms on the dexter side appear to have been ‘Argent on a chevron between three martlets Sable, two in chief and one in base, three mullets Argent.’ On the sinister side of the shield the Yelverton arms were displayed again as ‘Argent, three lions (two and one) rampant Gules, a chief of the last charged with a crescent of the field.’[vii]
The letters patent of King George III, by which the King granted to Barry Yelverton the title Lord Yelverton Baron of Avonmore, dated 15th June 1795, and bearing his arms, was offered for sale in April 2012 by Mealy’s Rare Books Ltd., Ireland.
[i] Egan, Rev. P.K., Clonfert Museum and its collections, J.G.H.A.S., Vol. xxvii, 1956-57.
[ii] MacLysaght, E., Dunsandle Papers, Analecta Hibernica, No. 15, IMC, 1944, pp. 398, 401.
[iii] Giblin, C., OFM, Papers relating to Meelick Friary 1644-1731, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 16, B. Millett OFM (general editor), Naas, Leinster Leader ltd., 1973, p.65.
[iv] Giblin, C., OFM, Papers relating to Meelick Friary 1644-1731, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 16, B. Millett OFM (general editor), Naas, Leinster Leader ltd., 1973, p.69.
[v] Fennessy, I., OFM, The Meelick Obituary and Chronicle (1623-1873) (with index), Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. LX, 2006-7, pp.352, 411.
[vi] Skey, W., The heraldic calendar: a list of the nobility and gentry whose arms are registered and pedigrees recorded in the heraldic office in Ireland, Alexander Thom, Dublin, 1846, p.61.
[vii] N.L.I., Dublin, G.O. Ms. 66 Funeral Entries, p. 55. The funeral entry of Thomas Adish states that Anne ‘was afterward wife of St. Lawrence and then of Osburn Itchingham.’