Sir Nugent Talbot Everard was born at Torquay, Devon in England in 1849 and he was the first of the Everards to make their home at Randalstown for more than 60 years. In 1863 at the age of thirteen he inherited Randalstown. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. He settled at Randalstown about 1870. At the time the estate amounted to 2311 acres. Everard was a supporter of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society which established the co-operative movement in Ireland. Everard was elected President of the co-op movement, the I.A.O. S., in 1905. On the occasion of the coronation of King George V in 1911 Everard was created a baronet. He was a member of the Grand Jury of Meath and its successor Meath County Council. He held the position of High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant for Meath, and was a co-opted member of the county council, serving continuously from 1899 to 1922. He served with his wife, Lady Everard, on the Meath Agricultural Society and the County Committee of Agriculture. He served in the Royal Meath Milita and served as colonel in the Regiment in Belgium and at Ypres.
Sir Nugent Everard and his son, Richard, were staying in the Sackville Street Club when the rebellion broke out and remained there while the fighting continued. They witnessed the fighting at the GPO and the surrender of the leaders. Sir Nugent kept a diary now in the possession of the family of the five days of the rebellion. In 1922 he was appointed to the Senate of the new Irish Free State by William T. Cosgrave.
The demise of tillage farming in the 1880s and the consequent decrease in employment opportunities on the land for his workers made him turn his attention to tobacco. In 1898 Sir Nugent Talbot Everard obtained a special licence to grow tobacco. He was joined in the next few years in the experiment by Sir John Dillon of Lismullin, R.H. Metge of Athlumney and F. Brodigan of Piltown. His tobacco growing is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses – “there was that Colonel Everard down there in Navan growing tobacco”. From 1898 to 1938 the Randlestown area of Navan was central to plans to introduce tobacco growing on a commercial basis in Ireland. The estate had its own tobacco plantation and also acted as a rehandling station – taking in tobacco from the local growers and processing it for sale to factories. At its peak, the industry provided almost 100 jobs and played a vital part in the local economy.
Col. Everard died in 1929 in his eightieth year. He was interred at Donaghpatrick – his grave is near the entrance. There is an article about Sir Nugent Everard in the 2000 issue of Riocht an Midhe. After his death the local growers formed the County Meath Co-Operative Tobacco Growers Society. The Co-Operative continued into the 1930s, and closed in 1939, the last year in which tobacco was grown in the county.
Sir Nugent’s only son, Major Richard Everard succeeded him at Randalstown but eleven days later died suddenly. His eldest son became Sir Nugent Everard. He decided to join the British army in 1926 and saw active service during World War II.
Richard Everard provides much information of the Everard family in the 1993 and 1994 issues of the Irish Genealogist journal.