Everard, Sir John (c.1560–1624), lawyer and parliamentarian, was the elder son of Sir Redmond Everard of Ballyboy and Fethard, a prominent landowner in Tipperary and MP for Cross Tipperary (1585). Redmond's younger son, James, was a Jesuit, based in Callan from 1608 (CSPI, 1606–8, 507). John began his legal studies in Clifford's Inns, London, and transferred to the Inner Temple on 28 August 1579; his fellow students there included his cousin Michael Cowley, later recorder of Kilkenny, and Gerard (‘Garrett’) Comerford (qv) of Callan, later attorney general of Connacht. John's delayed call to the bar on 11 October 1590, after twelve years studying law rather than the standard seven years, was due to his marriage to Catherine Comerford, Gerard's sister, and probably the daughter of Fulke Comerford of Callan, treasurer of the earl of Ormond, and the birth of his eldest son, Nicholas, by 1588. They had a further three sons – Richard, who was created baronet in 1622, John, and Gabriel – and a daughter who married Henry White of Clonmel, son of John's fellow MP in 1613, Nicholas White fitzHenry. Catherine was presumably dead by 1624, as she is not mentioned in John's will.
He commenced legal practice on his return to Ireland and rapidly became important to the Butler peers, acting as attorney to recover the annuity of Theobald, Lord Cahir, in 1595, and serving as one of the trustees of Thomas Butler (qv), 10th earl of Ormond, in land settlements. He continued to play a significant role as an adviser, agent, trustee, and confidant to the Ormonds until his death three decades later. He was also in demand as an arbitrator, acting with his fellow lawyer Patrick Archer in a 1596 dispute between the ‘High Town’ and Irish Town of Kilkenny, and four years later with Garrett Comerford in a land dispute between the archbishop of Cashel and Derby fitz Philip O'Dwyer, sheriff of the liberty of Ormond, when the earl described them as ‘two gentlemen learned in the law’ (CSPI, 1600, 11, 378). Ormond appointed John justice of the liberty of Tipperary in April 1601, and the crown made him second justice of the queen's bench on 10 May 1602. He held both offices simultaneously and was serving as justice of assize in Meath and Kilkenny (1603) and in Louth (1606), and in the court of castle chamber; his place on the bench explains the favourable terms of admission of his eldest son, Nicholas, to the Inner Temple in 1604.
John was knighted on 10 February 1605, but by this time his position on the bench was becoming increasingly difficult; despite his ability, integrity, and accepted loyalty to the crown, his refusal to conform to the established church was at odds with the increasingly strict crown policy. Ignoring hints to conform or resign, he was retained only because there was no one conformable to replace him; in January 1607 he resigned, succeeded by the conformist Dominick Sarsfield (qv). He petitioned for a pension to compensate for the practice he had lost during his period on the bench, and was granted an annuity of £66 13s. 4d. on condition he would not act in any case against the king. He returned to practice and was, with his former colleagues in the administration and the coterie of Ormond's legal advisors and agents (including Patrick Archer and Michael Cowley), a founder member of the revived King's Inns on 21 June 1607; he had chambers there, initially with his son Nicholas, and attended its council. With Patrick Archer he arbitrated a land dispute between Ormond and Lord Upper Ossory in 1609. He continued to act as justice of the Tipperary palatinate under the protestant earl of Ormond, whose catholic heir, Sir Walter Butler (qv), was John's fellow MP for Co. Tipperary in 1613.
Everard was opposition candidate for speaker of the commons in 1613; an unseemly fracas broke out over the administration's dubious electoral strategy and the hotly contested speakership, during which the catholic MPs put Everard in the speaker's chair, which he only vacated when the corpulent Sir John Davies (qv) sat on top of him. The recusants withdrew from the parliament, and John was one of the agents sent to represent the views of the catholic MPs to the king in London, where he was imprisoned. On the resumption of parliament in Dublin, he led the recusant opposition, serving on many committees, supporting the granting of subsidies, and petitioning for catholic lawyers to be restored to practice and for suspension of the penalties for non-attendance at church. Catholics were barred from the King's Inns in retribution for their behaviour in parliament, but Chichester (qv) ensured Everard's readmission as a special case in 1615. After that date, his public role significantly limited by his catholicism, he remained in private practice, remaining closely associated with the Ormonds, regularly acting as trustee in their property deals and marriage settlements, and witnessing and overseeing Thomas's will. With another trusted Ormond associate, Robert Rothe (qv), he was imprisoned without trial in 1620–21 to facilitate the forfeiture of the Ormond estates. In 1622 he resumed a representative role as one of the peers and gentry who contributed a list of grievances to the team of experts examining the ecclesiastical and temporal state of Ireland (which resulted in the publication of ‘His majesty's directions for ordering and settling the courts within his kingdom of Ireland’ in August 1622). In that forum, he played a prominent role as a legal expert, arguing against the operations of the presidency courts.
While pursuing his legal career, John was also maintaining and developing his property around Fethard. He inherited substantial possessions from his father, including over seventy houses in the town, which he surrendered to the crown, receiving a regrant of the same property under English tenure in 1602–3; and he paid a fine of £2 on a grant passed on the commission of defective titles in 1607. He increased his property in Fethard and developed the town, negotiating its new charter in 1608, building two almshouses and a substantial tholsel/market house there after 1612, restoring his mansion house, laying out the main street, and preserving and extending his oak wood. By the time of his death he had eighty-four houses, over 100 gardens, three castles, two watermills, and substantial land in Fethard, as well as property in the towns of Clonmel and Cashel and in Co. Tipperary and Co. Waterford. With his son Richard, he was defendant in a case in chancery taken by Sir William Fenton concerning lands in Tipperary in 1623.
Everard's personal and business relationships were largely within the clique of Ormond lawyers and agents – Archers, Comerfords, Cowleys, Rothes, Tobins, and Whites – and in 1597 he was granted the wardship of Edmund Blanchville, son and heir of his father's fellow MP Gerald Blanchville. John's sons’ and grandsons’ marriages were to members of noble families, including the Lords Dunboyne, Fermoy, and Upper Ossory, demonstrating the social advances Everard had been able to make through his legal work and acquisition of property.
He entertained the earl of Cork (qv) at Fethard in the summer of 1624, some months before his death on 14 September 1624. His will was proved the following November.
While he was respected as a jurist, parliamentarian, and public representative, his religion ensured his removal from crown office and restricted his judicial function to the Ormond liberty, where he served the earls’ interests as honourably as he had earlier served the crown's.