John Chevir

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John Chevir (c.1410-1474) was an Irish judge and politician of the fifteenth century. He held the offices of Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and was also one of the first recorded Speakers of the Irish House of Commons.[1]

He was born in Kilkenny, younger son of John Chevir senior, justice of the peace. He was the brother of William Chevir (died 1446) who also had a successful, if somewhat turbulent career: William held office as a judge of the Court of King's Bench (Ireland), Deputy Treasurer of Ireland and Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.[2]

John was at Lincoln's Inn in 1442 and soon afterwards was acting as legal adviser to James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormonde in London, but he returned to Ireland before 1450. John and his brother were strong supporters of the Earl of Ormonde's faction, one of the two major parties in Irish politics in the 1430s and 1440s.[3] He was then appointed Master of the Rolls;[4] this was then a less important office than it became later, and its duties were administrative rather than judicial. It was clearly a part-time office since he was returned to the Irish House of Commons at the same time and was one of the first known Speakers. The Parliament of 1463 passed an Act restoring to him the mill and watercourse at Esker; [5] this was probably the manor of Esker near Lucan, Dublin, a Crown property which was often leased to public servants for their lifetime. In 1468 he was appointed joint Lord Chief Justice with Sir Thomas Fitz-Christopher Plunket and became sole Chief Justice in 1471. He remained in office until his death in 1474.[6]

He married Anne Bermingham, who outlived him; given the rarity of his surname (which is thought to be the original form of Cheever[7]) it is likely that they were the parents of John Chevir, merchant of Dublin, who in 1479 was one of those permitted by Edward IV to build a chantry at the Church of St. Nicholas Without, Dublin.[8]


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 p.102
  2. ^ Ball, p.177
  3. ^ Ball p. 180
  4. ^ Statute of the Irish Parliament 29 Henry VI c.9 "Confirmation of Letters Patent to John Chevir, Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery"
  5. ^ 3 Edward IV c.24 "John Chevir restored to the mill of Esker, watercourse etc." It was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 2007
  6. ^ Ball p.180
  7. ^ Chevyr was another contemporary spelling.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Sir John History of Dublin Vol.1 1854 James McGlashan Dublin p.183
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas Fitz-Christopher Plunket
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
1468 - 1474
Succeeded by
Philip Bermingham