Thomas de Everdon

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Thomas de Everdon (c.1320–1413) was an English-born cleric and judge, who was a trusted Crown official in Ireland for several decades.

In a career which spanned almost fifty years, he served as Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Master of the Rolls in Ireland and Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. [1] In addition he was an exceptionally hard-working civil servant who was entrusted with a wide variety of civil, military and administrative tasks: in 1386 the King referred to Everdon's "labours on royal business throughout Ireland". There are so many references over a period of almost 60 years to him in his official capacity that some historians have questioned whether all of them can have been to the same man.

The Master of the Rolls in Ireland was a senior judicial office in the Irish Chancery under English and British rule, equivalent to the Master of the Rolls in the English Chancery. Originally called the Keeper of the Rolls, he was responsible for the safekeeping of the Chancery records such as close rolls and patent rolls. The office was created by letters patent in 1333, the first holder of the Mastership being Edmund de Grimsby. As the Irish bureaucracy expanded, the duties of the Master of the Rolls came to be performed by subordinates and the position became a sinecure which was awarded to political allies of the Dublin Castle administration. In the nineteenth century it became a senior judicial appointment, ranking second within the Chancery behind the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The post was abolished by the Courts of Justice Act 1924, passed by the Irish Free State established in 1922.

The office of Lord High Chancellor of Ireland was the highest judicial office in Ireland until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. From 1721 to 1801, it was also the highest political office of the Irish Parliament: the Chancellor was Speaker of the Irish House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor was also Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland. In all three respects, the office mirrored the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

His surname suggests that he came from Everdon in Northamptonshire. He is thought to have been the Thomas de Everdon who first appears in the official Irish records in 1343, and was presented with the living of Ardkeen, County Down in 1345, although he must then have been a very young man, since he had almost seventy years still to live. [2] He was a Canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, in 1374 and became its Dean in 1396. His tenure saw a dispute between the Pope and the Crown as to who had the right to appoint the Dean; eventually it was agreed that the Cathedral chapter would choose the Dean. [3] Thomas resigned in 1401 and became prebendary of Clonmethan, County Dublin. [4] He also held the living of St. Mary's, Kildalkey, County Meath, from which he resigned in 1411. [5]

Everdon village in United Kingdom

Everdon is a village in the Daventry district of the county of Northamptonshire in England, some 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Daventry. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 356.

Northamptonshire County of England

Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".

County Down Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

County Down is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, in the northeast of the island of Ireland. It covers an area of 2,448 km2 and has a population of 531,665. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland and is within the province of Ulster. It borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Sea to the east, County Armagh to the west, and County Louth across Carlingford Lough to the southwest.

He was Chief Clerk in Chancery in 1373, jointly with Robert Sutton; an order in Council states that the annual fee of £20 should be divided between them. He was joint Master of the Rolls in 1374 and sole Master 1386–1395. [6] He acted briefly as Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. He was Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland in 1374 and acted regularly as Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, particularly during the tenure of Thomas Cranley who was frequently unable to perform his duties as Chancellor through a combination of age, ill health and pressure of business. [7] Ball states that Everdon was spoken of as a possible Treasurer of Ireland in 1406. [8]

Chancery or chancellery is a general term for a medieval writing office, responsible for the production of official documents. The title of chancellor, for the head of the office, came to be held by important ministers in a number of states, and remains the title of the heads of government in modern Germany and Austria. Chancery hand is a term for various types of handwriting associated with chanceries.

Great Seal of the Realm Seal of the United Kingdom

The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents.

In addition he was employed by the Crown to carry out numerous administrative tasks: Mason states that they seem to have mainly involved keeping of accounts for the Army, and the hiring of troops. [9] He was appointed, by King Richard II, Royal Commissioner with John Lambard to collect the King's debts in Munster. [10] In 1386 the King authorised him to appoint attorneys to act for him in Meath and Louth, on the ground that he was so heavily employed on royal business throughout Ireland that he could not properly attend to his business in these two counties. [11]

Munster province in Ireland

Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south west of Ireland. In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a "king of over-kings". Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In later centuries, local government legislation has seen further sub-division of the historic counties.

County Louth County in the Republic of Ireland

County Louth is a county in the Republic of Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the village of Louth. Louth County Council is the local authority for the county. According to the 2016 census, the population of the county was 128,884.

He died in 1413, when he must have been well over ninety. [12] Mason wondered if there were in fact two officials of the same name: he doubted when one man could have performed so many varied duties and, given the life expectancy at the time, could have had a career lasting so many decades. [13] On the other hand, Robert Sutton, another contemporary Master of the Rolls, had an equally long and varied career and did not die until 1430.

Robert Sutton was an Irish judge and Crown official. During a career which lasted almost 60 years he served the English Crown in a variety of offices, notably as Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and Deputy Treasurer of Ireland. A warrant dated 1423 praised him for his "long and laudable" service to the Crown.

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  1. Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 pp.87–88
  2. Mason, William M. The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church and Cathedral of St Patrick's near Dublin Dublin 1820 p.130
  3. Mason p.130
  4. Mason p.131
  5. Mason p.131
  6. Ball pp.87-88
  7. Mason p.131
  8. Ball p.88
  9. Mason pp.130–131
  10. Mason p.131
  11. Mason p.131
  12. Ball p.88
  13. Mason p.131