Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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George and Ada’s third son Norman Lancelot Ievers ultimately succeeded to Mount Ievers and to him we shall return. Be was born at Patrickwell, Co. Limerick, on 16 March 1912, he was educated at Aravon and, from September 1926, Campbell College, Belfast, where he played for the 1st XV rugby team in 1928, 1929 and 1930.

In 1930, he took up an engineering apprenticeship at Messrs. J. I. Thornycroft in Basingstoke and spent four years learning the whole process of engine manufacture, fitting and testing. He was subsequently employed within the factory workforce and acquired a motorbike. However, the ongoing recession led to mass lay-offs and Norman instead found work as a farmhand near Winchester. His eldest brother George was tragically killed in a car crash in 1932. Norman continued to play rugby, for the London Irish XV in 1934 and for the Monkstown XV in 1935.

He became a pilot officer with the Royal Air Force in 1937 and, by 1941, was ranked as Squadron Leader. His cousin F/O Eyre Osborne Ievers was killed in April 1942. His older brother Freddie died in a Japanese POW camp in 1943 and his father passed away on 15th September 1944. The Battle of Britain website gives a useful biography of his time in the war here. John Colclough told me he once took a Lady Mayor (or Burgomaster) of Dresden to stay at Mount Ievers in the 1970s. There was an awkward moment during dinner when the Squadron Leader said 'yes, well, I've, um, been to Dresden ... sort of'.

On 30 March 1970, the 58-year-old war veteran married the late Breda O’Halloran, third daughter of Martin O’Halloran of Sooreeney, Co. Clare. The Ievers began a new restoration programme in the 1980s. A grant from the Irish Georgian Society offset some of the subsequent costs of cleaning and repairing the gutters, as well as restoring the sash windows which had been damaged due to water ingress.

Norman Ievers died aged 81 on 21 November 1993 and was succeeded by his only son Norman Eyre Ievers who was born on 23 May 1973. Norman married Karen Font on 7th November 2011 in Cyprus. Born near the naval base of Anacortes, Washington, USA, Karen is the daughter of Kathleen Lord (nee Harris) and the late Lt. Cmdr. USN ret. Carlos G. Font who, like Norman’s father, was a pilot, serving on American navy aircraft carriers during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Prior to moving full-time to Mount Ievers in March 2020, they currently split their time between Mount Ievers Court and Jerusalem, Israel, along with their twins and Karen’s daughter Shirel (born 2003), one of three children born to her from a previous marriage. In 1997, the house served as a location for the movie The Serpent's Kiss, directed by Philippe Rousselot. It is a story about a Dutch garden architect named Meneer Chrome (Ewan McGregor) who has been hired by a wealthy metalworker (Pete Postlethwaite) to create an extravagant garden. The film, which also stars Greta Scacchi and Richard E. Grant, was entered into the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.