Friday, 4 April 2014

Ancestry of Butlers of Wexford- Ch:20- The MacRichard line

The MacRichard line, descendants of Richard of Knocktopher, 2nd son of James 3rd Earl of Ormond

Piers the 8th Earl of Ormond, was the son of Sir James Butler (great grandson of the 3rd Earl of Ormonde through his second son Richard of Knocktopher, and Richard’s son Edmund MacRichard), and Sadbh Kavanagh, the sister of Art Bui Kavanagh of Enniscorthy known as the MacMurrough or King of Leinster, and daughter of Donnell Reagh Kavanagh eldest son of Gerald, Lord of Ferns.[i]
Piers, great great grandson of the 3rd Earl of Ormond, eventually inherited the Ormond title several decades after the death of his 3rd cousin the 7th Earl who left no male heirs. This branch of the Butlers was known as the ‘MacRichard’ line.

The ancestry of the MacRichard Butlers:

The 3rd Earl of Ormond, James, built the castle at Gowran and then purchased Kilkenny Castle from the heirs of Hugh Despenser on 12th September 1391, where he entertained King Richard II. He was appointed governor of Ireland several times. He had several legitimate and illegitimate sons, all of whom would hold powerful positions, as would their heirs: James, his heir; Richard of Knocktopher; and illegitimate sons James “Galda” ancestor of the Cahir line; and Thomas, Prior of Kilmainham.

James’s heir, James the 4th Earl, known as the White Earl, had three sons, James, John and Thomas who successively became the 5th, 6th and 7th earls, all of whom left no legitimate male heirs, although the 7th Earl’s grandson Thomas Boleyn, (by his daughter Margaret who married William Boleyn), held the title for a while until his daughter Ann Boleyn fell out of favour with her husband Henry VIII and was beheaded.
The White Earl and his successors were continuously absent from Ireland, preferring the English Court, which resulted in the disintegration of the earl’s authority and the growing influence of the junior branches.
The White Earl gave the deputyship in 1462 to Edmund MacRichard, his brother Richard Butler of Knocktopher’s son- his line was known as MacRichard for a period before reverting back to Butler. Sir Richard’s sons “were not brought up after the English fashion”. Edmund MacRichard, referred to as ‘MacRichard’, was renowned for his knightly exploits.
The White Earl also gave the keepership of his kern (household troops) to his half-brother, James Galda, lord of Cahir; and, very probably, the seneschalship of the liberty of Tipperary to the Butlers, lords of Dunboyne and Kiltinan. Yet such a solution merely intensified existing rivalries. When Edmund MacRichard’s grandson Piers succeeded to his father’s inheritance in 1487 he inherited not only the deputyship (held by his father James, and grandfather Edmund), but historic rivalries as well, the most bitter undoubtedly being the conflict, now in the third generation, with the descendants of James Galda (Barons of Cahir). When the White Earl’s successors, James , John and Thomas, absented themselves for more than half a century (1452-1515) the junior branches were given free rein to indulge their rivalries unchecked.” [ii]

MacRichard’s exploits were often recalled in the ‘Annuls of the Four Masters’ [iii], which contain records of events between 550 AD and 1616 AD.
In 1464, the Annuls recorded:
 “MacRichard Butler, the most illustrious and renowned of the English of Ireland in his time, died.”
He was succeeded in the deputyship by his son James Butler of Pottlerath.
1486 A.D.- “James, the son of MacRichard Butler, the representative of the Earl of Ormond, died.”

Sir James Butler had two sons with Sadbh Kavanagh, before they had received the necessary papal dispensation for their marriage. When they eventually married in 1465, these two sons, Edmund and Theobald “lay under a cloak at their parents wedding”. Edmund’s line became known as the Butlers of Neigham and his granddaughter would marry his younger brother Piers’ second son Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarrett. At one stage, his son Theobald would claim the Ormond Earldom on grounds that his father was not illegitimate and therefore, as the eldest, should have inherited the earldom instead of younger brother Piers.

Piers, born c.1466, was James and Sadbh’s first ‘legitimate’ child, and was known as Piers Roe, which means ‘Red’ due to his colouring, and it was he who eventually inherited the Earldom, to become the 8th Earl of Ormond. His succession to this title would be a long and difficult road.

The powerful Fitzgerald family (two factions- Earls of Kildare and Earls of Desmond), known as the Geraldines, became increasingly involved in Butler affairs.
 “ The Geraldine dominated Irish administration did everything it could to frustrate the restoration of the earldom of Ormond as an effective political force; lower down the political scale the lords of Cahir appear to have been involved with the earls of Desmond, while the MacRichard Butlers leaned towards the earls of Kildare. This became a political minefield. Although in theory, Thomas 7th  Earl of Ormond was in control of the earldom in Ireland, in practice his kinsmen were in complete authority of the Tipperary-Kilkenny heartland.”
 “Piers, who married Margaret Fitzgerald, second daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare, was heir to the MacRichard estates in right of his father. They included Paulstown (co Carlow), Callan, (Co Kilkenny), and Carrick-on-Suir. The MacRichard family also had interests in northern Tipperary and more importantly, Piers’ father bequeathed him ‘the custody and defence of the lands of my lord the earl of Ormond’, which meant in effect that as deputy he controlled the demesne manors in County Kilkenny, including the castle of Kilkenny itself. There were limits to his influence, most notable in the liberty of Tipperary, where the earl exercised a viceregal authority. Here the junior branches reigned supreme, including the two most important families, Cahir and Dunboyne, neither of which was prepared to submit easily to the scion of the house of MacRichard.”[iv]

Ormond coat of arms on tomb of Piers 8th Earl of Ormond in St Canices' Cathedral, Kilkenny

Notably, the second heraldic symbol of a rose inside a rose was the symbol used by the House of  Tudor to represent the joining of the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York. However, this particular symbol has three roses and the meaning and relevance to Piers and Margaret is uncertain.
Also, strangely, the Ormond Coat of Arms on the tomb contains a crescent in the centre which usually denotes a second son as on the tomb of their son Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett- why it should be on Piers' tomb is also a mystery.

In his earlier years, after his marriage to Margaret Fitzgerald in c.1495, they were ‘reduced to penury’ by Sir James Ormond (bastard son of the 6th Earl), and at one time were forced ‘to lurk in the woods’.
Sir James Ormond had been appointed by his uncle Thomas 7th Earl of Ormond and Henry VII when the Earl of Kildare and his protégé Piers, fell out of favour with the king who suspected them for supporting Henry’s enemies. In 1491 Henry commissioned Sir James Ormond to go to Ireland and “he was given command of a small force with additional power to array the men of Tipperary and Kilkenny, to arrest and imprison, and to act without reference to the lieutenant (Kildare) ‘for the time being’. On the following day, the earl of Ormond made James his deputy and special attorney in Ireland to command the castles of Kilkenny and Carrick, administer the earl’s manors, lead his tenants in war, and direct his officers and kinsmen. The most likely target for his attack was the MacRichard camp and their Irish allies in Leinster (the MacMurrough/Kavanagh connection). Piers was later to complain to the earl that Sir James Ormond ‘took and kept me in prison by a long season contrary to his oath and promise made upon the holy Cross and other great relics… til my lord of Desmond by his great instant labour had gotten me to my liberty’. [v]
The king arranged for a cessation of the enmity between the ‘two noble bloods’ at a meeting in Salisbury in 1496, attended by the earls of Kildare and Ormond. Sir James had outlived his usefulness. The effect was therefore to declare an open season on Sir James.  Piers with Lady Margaret ‘being great with child and upon necessity constrained to use a spare diet’, was ‘so eagerly pursued by the usurper (Sir James), as he durst not bear up head, but was forced to hover and lurk in woods and forests’. Margaret ‘was not able any longer to endure so straight a life’. Whereupon Piers swore that ‘he never would return before he did relieve her grief’. He set out to scour the countryside around Dunmore (near Kilkenny) for a cask of wine, when whom should he meet but “Black James” whose thoughts at that moment were directed towards ‘a fair and beautiful gentlewoman called Rose Barre, which he promised to have seen the morrow after.’ Not one to miss an opportunity, Piers ‘with a courageous charge gored the Bastard through with his speare.’[vi]  Writing to the earl on 7 Sept, 1497. Piers explained how he had endeavoured to save the earl from the machinations of that ‘great and ancient Rebel’ Sir James. He even managed to suggest that although James fell by his hand he was acting only as an agent of God’s grace ‘which would that every ill deed should be punished’. Piers implied that he would like to be appointed as the earl’s deputy. The earl however, did not appoint Piers as his deputy, preferring instead to run his lordship through his agents. Piers seems still to have been out in the cold as late as 17 May 1504.” [vii]
When Thomas 7th Earl of Ormond died without a male heir, Piers embarked on a course to deliver the earldom into his hand. He would have to prove that the earldom was entailed and that the MacRichard Butlers were the true heirs through his great grandfather Richard of Knocktopher brother to the 4th Earl. He would also have to prove that his elder brothers were illegitimate despite an act of the Irish Parliament legitimizing them in 1468, and that his own birth was legitimate. His mother, Sadbh/Sabina MacMurrough Kavangh, had required a dispensation to legalise her marriage (which contravened the ‘Statutes of Kilkenny’ laws against unions between English and Irish) and Piers had a ten year battle to prove that the dispensation had been legitimately granted and that consequently his claim to the Ormond title was valid. Some eighteen witnesses testified that Piers was born after his parents had obtained a dispensation to marry in the parish church of Listerlin, and that his brothers were present at the ceremony ‘laying under a cloak’. As late as 1521, Piers was petitioning the king to repeal the act of 1468. His brother Theobald was still laying claim to the earldom in the 1530’s. [viii]
Piers appointed himself Earl of Ormond on the death of Earl Thomas in 1515 and the claim was generally recognized in Ireland, especially after he made peace with the two rival Butler branches, the Lords Cahir and Dunboyne.

However, Piers had to surrender his hard won prize in 1529 to Thomas Boleyn, father of Ann Boleyn and grandson of the 7th Earl of Ormond through the Earl’s daughter who married William Boleyn. In compensation, Piers was created Earl of Ossory in 1527 and made governor of Ireland. The fall from grace of the Boleyns provided Piers with the opportunity to recover his lost titles and estates. He had retained influence at the English Court through his close friendship with Cardinal Wolsey and when the titles and estates were declared forfeit to the Crown, Piers was granted the estate,s and the title as 8th Earl of Ormond in February 1538.

Piers and Margaret were a formidable team, establishing a weaving trade by “bringing out of Flanders and other countries, artificers who …make diaper, tapestry, turkey-carpetts, cushion, and other workes”, and founding Kilkenny College “out of which schoole have sprouted such proper ympes” and as having “planted great civility in the countyes of Tipperary and Kilkenny”. The city of Kilkenny was in a thriving condition and Piers encouraged trade and industry.[ix]

Margaret was known as “a ladie of such port that all estates of the realm crouch unto her”.
Margaret favoured Ballyraggett Castle in northern county Kilkenny as her favourite residence and is said to have “ frequently issued from the castle at the head of her armed retainers to ravage the property of such of the neighbouring families as she deemed to be her enemies.” Ballyraggett Lodge was described as a “fine mansion”. Margaret’s favourite property at Ballyraggett was inherited by her second son Richard Butler.[x]


According to Art Kavanagh’s book “The Landed Gentry and Aristocracy of Kilkenny” [xi]:
 “Piers was given a Gaelic upbringing by his Kavanagh mother but his FitzGerald wife, the famous Lady Margaret soon brought him back to ‘civility’. She was the daughter of the Great Earl of Kildare but when she married Piers she soon became a dedicated Butler and used her not inconsiderable talents and influences to further her interests of that family. Her eldest son was James who became 9th Earl of Ormond, and Richard was her second son. She strove with all her maternal instincts to ensure that Richard became a powerful lord also.” The article also makes the vague implication that It might be possible that Henry VII had an affair with Margaret FitzGerald the wife of Piers Roe, the 8th Earl but if this is the case it is certainly not information that is in the public domain, while it may have been part of the family lore. It is well known that Margaret made every effort to advance her son Richard, but from what we know of her character this was to be expected.” (Notably, there is a striking resemblance between James, Piers’ heir, and Henry VIII, as seen in their respective portraits painted by Holbein, however, this may be purely artist’s license.)

Piers and Margaret made a series of powerful alliances through the arranged marriages of their children, thereby securing his position of power and influence in Ireland. His six daughters were married to Barnaby FitzPatrick lord of Upper Ossory, Richard le Poer of Curraghmore 1st Lord Power, James Butler lord of Dunboyne, Gerald Fitzgerald lord of Decies, Thomas Butler lord of Cahir, and the earl of Thomond. His son and heir James married the daughter of the Earl of Desmond, and his second son Richard would marry four times, to the daughters of powerful men.

Prendergast in his book “The Cromwellian Settlement”, [xii] noted that the Irish had accepted the Old English as their leaders and had forgiven the robbery of their lands.
 “The Fitzgeralds and the Butlers soon became to them as much their natural leaders and captains as the O’Briens, the McCathys and O’Neills. The English lived unharmed among the Irish, as secure of their castles and lands as native Irish, and in fact, their devotion to them was unbounded. And the love of lord and tenant was reciprocal.”

Piers died only eighteen months after the restoration of his title, on 26 August 1539, and was the first of the earls to be buried at St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny. His legacy was the survival of the lordship of Ormond. Piers was succeeded by his eldest son James, the 9th Earl of Ormond.

Tomb of Piers and Margaret in St Canice's Cathedral
(photo courtesy of Annabelle Taylor)

The Mountgarrett Line from Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett, 
son of Piers Butler 8th Earl of Ormond

Richard Butler, born c.1500-06, was the second son of Piers Butler 8th Earl of Ormond and Margaret Fitzgerald, daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare.
Richard would become a very powerful lord, and, following the premature death of his brother James the 9th Earl of Ormond in 1546 due to food [poisoning at a banquet at Holburn, London, and during his nephew’s minority, would continue to keep the MacRichard Butler power base in Ireland, alive and well. He was knighted in 1546/7 and created Viscount Mountgarrett 23 October 1550.

Prior to being created Viscount Mountgarrett, Richard was made keeper of the Castle of Ferns in Co. Wexford in 1538 in place of the MacMurrough (Kavanagh, King of Leinster). This was a significant step in the introduction of English rule in the Irish dominated County of Wexford and the decline of the powerful Kavanagh clan. Richard Butler was the last Anglo-Irishman, or Old English, to hold the position as after him the constableship was always granted to a ‘New English’ soldier by the crown.

Richard was appointed to two commissions for the preservation of the peace in the Counties of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Wexford. In 1541 Richard Butler was given leases of lands in Kilkenny and Wexford. Two years later, in 1543 he got a grant of all the Augustinian lands in and near New Ross in Co. Wexford.

He was created Viscount Mountgarrett and Baron Kells in 1550 in direct response to his plea to be given a title that would outshine that of the McMurrough. (ie. Kavanagh, King of Leinster, who was classed as “the Irish enemy”).
He was already installed in Mountgarrett Manor and castle, on the outskirts of New Ross, and it was from this that the name Mountgarrett derived. The Manor was formerly Church lands and the castle was the home of the famous Bishop Barrett. In addition Mountgarrett bought the lands of Kayer (Davidstown to Glynn) from Foulks Denn (ie. Furlong), in 1556. The Kayer lands were later demised to Piers Butler his son.

Mountgarrett Castle, Co. Wexford

The following entry from “The Peerage of Ireland[xiii] on the Mountgarrett Viscountcy:
Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett: Richard, the second son is described to have been a Knight of goodly personage, and as comely a man as could be seen; he was a very honourable and worthy gentleman, and performed many great services to the Crown of England. Created Viscount Mountgarrett on 5 August 1550 and by patent on 23 October 1550. In the Reigns of King Edward and Queen Mary, he was keeper of the castle of Fernes; and 20 Mar 1558 (Eliz I) joined in a commission of martial law with Sir Nicholas Devereux for the territories of Fassaghbentry and Le-Moroes country. 13 April 1559 was in several commissions for the preservation of the peace in the counties of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford, during the absence of the Lord Deputy Sussex in the North, upon his expedition against Shane O’Neile; and 12 Jan following was present in the Parliament, then opened by the said L.D. He departed this life in 1571 and was buried in the Cathedral Church of St Canice, Kilkenny, in a tomb, whereon is engraven his effigies in armour with his feet resting against a dog and a circumscription now defaced, what remained legible being
Ricardus Butler, Vicecomes Montgarrett - Qui obut 20 Dece bris 1571.

P. Hore’s book “History of the Town and County of Wexford”  has the following entries:
 “In October 1552, Richard Butler, Viscount Mountgarrett, was granted a lease of the lands of St. Johns by Enniscorthy and the Rectory of Kilcorbrey. To hold for 21 years from 1563 at the rent of 43s.[xiv]

 “c.1555- The Earl of Kildare claimed, amongst other Manors and lands, the Manor of ‘Inskorthy’ (Enniscorthy). In the Parish of Chaple and in Ballymacar 8 plowe lands within the Barony of Cayre (Kayer) etc.”

 “Again in 1562 we find the Manor of Ferns applied for to the Privy Council in England by Lord Mountgarrett, who declares he is “willing to kepe the same as all Captaines doth with the appurtenances. [xv]

Richard Viscount Mountgarrett continued to wield considerable power after the premature death of his brother James the 9th Earl or Ormond, as the heir Thomas was still a minor.

Richard married his uncle’s grand-daughter Eleanor/Ellen Butler (ie. the daughter of Theobald Butler and granddaughter of Edmund Butler of Neigham, Piers’s eldest brother), by whom he had six sons, (NB. Eleanor still living 4 June 1575, according to Burke), one of four marriages:
1.) Edmund (his heir, who married Grizel/Grainy FitzPatrick dau. of Baron of Upper Ossory), b.c.1540
2.) Pierce (of Kayer; who married Margaret Devereux dau. of Sir Nicholas Devereux of Balmagir, co Wexford)
3.) John (of New Ross, married _ O’Meagher),
4.) Thomas (of Castlecomer and Coolnaheen in Co. Kilkenny, who married Eleanor Power),
5.) James
6.) Theobald, d.s.p.
and daughters:
Margaret (married Nicholas Devereux Jnr of Balmagir);
Eleanor (married secondly Thomas Butler, 2nd Baron Cahir);
Ellice (married Walter Walsh of Castlehoel, High Sheriff of Co. Kilkenny- Burkes Peerage. NB Lord Dunboyne has name as Mary);
Ellen (married Sir Oliver Shortall of Ballylarkin);
Catherine (married Marcus FitzHarris of Macmine Castle- Burkes Peerage. NB. Lord Dunboyne has name as Joan).

Richard’s other marriages:
1. Catherine Barnewall, dau & heiress of Peter Barnewall- issue a son who died young and unmarried;
2. Married 1541 (divorced 1541) Anne Plunkett, dau of 4th Lord Killeen (she m. 2nd William Fleming);
3. Married (divorced 1546) Eleanor Fitzgerald. dau of John, Earl of Desmond, and widow of Thomas Tobin of Killaghy, feudal Lord of Cumphinsagh. Co Tipperary (she m. 3rd John Og Fitzgibbon the White Knight).
4. Ellen/Eleanor Butler (Burkes Peerage) NB. The Peerage of Ireland 1789 has Richard’s marriage to Eleanor Butler as his first marriage.

Richard died in 20 December 1571 and his elaborate tomb is in St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, along with many other members of the Ormond line.

Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett c.1506-1571 (married to Eleanor Butler d/o Theobald Butler of Neigham, s/o Edmond of Neigham);
second s/o Piers 8th Earl of Ormond 1466-1539 (brother of Edmond of Neigham) (married to Margaret Fitzgerald, d/o Gerald 8th Earl of Kildare);
s/o James Butler of Pottlerath/Callan d.1487 (married to Sadbh Kavanagh sister of King of Leinster and d/o Donnel Reagh, Lord of Ferns);
s/o Edmund MacRichard (Butler) of Polestown and Knocktopher d.1464 (married to Catherine/Gylys O’Carroll d/o Mulroney O’Carroll);
s/o Richard Butler of Knocktopher 1395-c.1440 (married to Catherine O’Reilly d/o Gildas O’Reilly, Lord of East Breffny, co Cavan);
s/o James 3rd Earl of Ormond 1360-1405 (married to Anne Welles, d/o John de Welles 4th Lord Welles);
s/o James 2nd Earl of Ormond 1331-1382 (married to Elizabeth Darcy d/o John 1st Lord Darcy);
s/o James 1st Earl of Ormond 1305-1338 (married to Eleanor de Bohun d/o Humphrey de Bohun 6th Earl of Hereford High Constable of England, and Princess Elizabeth d/o of King Edward I);
s/o Edmond Butler of Roscrea 6th Chief Butler of Ireland 1270-1321 (married to Joan FitzGerald d/o John 1st Earl of Kildare);
s/o Theobald le Botelier 4th Chief Butler c.1242-1285 (married to Joan FitzGeoffrey g/do Earl of Essex Justiciar of England);
s/o Theobald le Botelier 3rd Chief Butler of Ireland b.c.1210 (married to Margery de Burgh d/o Richard, Lord Deputy of Ireland);
s/o Theobald le Botelier 2nd Chief Butler b.c.1180 (married to Joan du Marreis d/o Geoffrey du Marreis, Justiciar of Ireland;
s/o Theobald fitzWalter 1st Chief Butler of Ireland d.1205 ( married to Maud Vavasour d/o William le Vavasour, Justiciar of England);
s/o Hervey Walter d.1189 (married to Maud de Valognes);
s/o Hervey Walter b.c. 1090/1100- d.1168, (probable son of ‘Walter’).

© B.A. Butler

contact email:  butler1802   @  (no spaces)

Link back to Introduction- Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett

Links to all of the chapters in this blog:

Pierce Butler of Kayer Co. Wexford (the elder) c.1540-1599
Edward Butler of Kayer Co. Wexford, 1577-1628
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore (the younger), c.1600-1652, Part I

Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part II- Pierce Butler's role in the 1642-49 Catholic Confederate Rebellion
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part III- Depositions against Pierce Butler of Kayer on his role in the 1642-49 Catholic Confederate Rebellion
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part IV- Land Ownership by the Butlers in County Wexford
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part V- Pierce Butler and the Cromwellian Confiscations of 1652-56
Sons of Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore- Edward, James, John, & Walter
Walter Butler of Munphin, Co. Wexford, c.1640-1717, Part I
Walter Butler of Munphin, Part II
Walter Butler of Munphin, Part III
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part I- exile to France in 1690
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part II- Military record
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part III- Marriage to Mary Long
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part IV- Last years
Younger sons of Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett: John Butler of New Ross, Thomas Butler of Castlecomer, James and Theobald Butler:
James Butler of Dowganstown and Tullow Co Carlow- 2nd son of Pierce Butler of Kayer (the elder):

Pedigree of Butlers of Ireland, and Ancestry of Butlers of Ireland, and County Wexford:

The MacRichard Line- Ancestors of the Butlers of Wexford

[i] Refer to file on the Kavanagh family who had a close association with the Wexford Butlers through the centuries- Appendix.
[ii] C.A. Empey, From Rags to Riches: Piers Butler earl of Ormond, 1515-39, Journal of the Butler Society Vol 2 No.3, p.301
[iv] C.A. Empey, From Rags to Riches: Piers Butler earl of Ormond, 1515-39, Journal of the Butler Society Vol 2 No.3, p.302
[v] C.A. Empey, From Rags to Riches: Piers Butler earl of Ormond, 1515-39, Journal of the Butler Society Vol 2 No.3, p305
[vi] Ibid, p306
[vii] Ibid, p307
[viii] C.A. Empey, From Rags to Riches: Piers Butler earl of Ormond, 1515-39, Journal of the Butler Society Vol 2 No.3, p.308
[ix] Lord Dunboyne,  “Butler Family History” 7th Ed 1991, p14; and K. Whelan (Ed) Kilkenny…, op.cit- Ch 6 The Ormond Butlers of Co Kilkenny, p111
[x] Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1830
[xi] Art Kavanagh, The Landed Gentry and Aristocracy of Kilkenny, op.cit, p61
[xii] John P. Prendergast, The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, 3rd Ed, Mellifont Press Dublin 1922 (1st Ed 1865), p.40
[xiii] John Lodge and Mervyn Archdall, The Peerage of Ireland, Volume IV, pub 1798
[xiv] P.H. Hore, History of the Town and County of Wexford, pub 1900-1910, Volume 6, p.366
[xv] Ibid, p40

The Butler Pedigree- Ch:19- Ancestry of Butlers of Ireland, and County Wexford


The history of the illustrious house of Butler of Ormond, is in point of fact, the history of Ireland from the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. At the head of the great nobility of that country have stood the Butlers and the Geraldines (i.e. the Fitzgeralds), rivals in power and equals in reknown. For 6oo years their story fills the pages of the Irish annals, from Theobald Fitz-Walter, in the reign of Henry II (i.e. C12th), down to the death of James 2nd Duke of Ormonde in 1745. The surname, BUTLER, originated in the Chief Butlerage of Ireland conferred by Henry II upon the first of the family who settled in that kingdom.”
 (source: Freer Family Research)

The following is the history and lineage of the BUTLER name, which possibly
began with ROLLO, 1st Duke of Normandy ancestor of King William the Conqueror.


The paternal ancestry of the Butler family can be traced to a Norman named Hervey, who lived in England around 1130. He had a son, Hervey Walter, and a daughter, Alice.
The identity of Hervey’s parents has not been positively established, according to the late Lord Dunboyne of the Butler Society.
According to “Irish Pedigrees”, he may have been the son or grandson of a Robert Pincerna (Latin for Butler), who was possibly related to the de Clares, who arrived in England with William the Conqueror, and whose family can be traced back to the Norman, Rollo, 1st Duke of Normandy in 911. Rev. John Butler of Northants (1626-1698), seems to have been the first to canvas the suggestion that the Ormondes descended from Henry I’s Cupbearer, Gilbert de Clare.
The London publication of 1874, “Norman People”, stated that Hervey is traceable to a Walter, who came from Glanville near Caen. His arms were a chief indented.
Hervey may also have been the 2nd son of Walter, son of a Walter of Domesday Book, son or brother of the William Mallet who after the Battle of Hastings, was entrusted by the Conqueror with the burial of King Harold.
Lord Dunboyne suggests another candidate is Herve de Montmorency who was Bouteiller of France by 1075; Herves and Thibauts (Theobalds) recur among his patrilineal descendants.

Historians in centuries past had suggested that Hervey may have married an aunt of Thomas Becket, Archbishop Of Cantebury, with whose family the Butlers were reputedly closely connected, although Butler historians the late Lord Patrick Dunboyne and Theobald Blake Butler dispute this.

Hervey’s son, Hervey Walter, married a lady of considerable consequence, Maud de Valognes, sister-in-law of Ranulph de Glanville, the most powerful of Henry II’s subjects who helped the rapid advancement of the family.

Their eldest son, Theobald Walter, was the first to migrate to Ireland. He went there with Prince John in 1171 following the invasion by Strongbow, and in 1185 was created Chief Butler of Ireland by Henry II.
The Chief Butler was one of the hereditary great officers of state. One of the official duties of such was to present the first cup of wine to the King after his coronation. Hence the cup symbols on the Butler crest. The office also held the right to about one tenth of the cargo of any wine ship that broke bulk in Ireland.

The following generations of Chief Butlers became very powerful in Ireland, acquiring extensive properties in Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow and, to a lesser extent, in other counties in the south. Their base was the castle at Gowran.

The 7th Butler, James, married King Edward III’s niece (and grand-daughter of Edward I), and was created Earl of Ormond in 1328.
The 3rd Earl of Ormond acquired Kilkenny Castle around 1391 and this became the base for the Earls of Ormond until 1967 when the 23rd Earl handed the castle over to the people of Kilkenny.

The Butlers remained one of the most powerful families in Ireland and in Royal circles, culminating in the 12th Earl, James, being created 1st Duke of Ormonde by Charles II, following the Restoration in 1660.
Their power declined rapidly following the 2nd Duke’s decision to support the Jacobite Rebellion and James II, who was subsequently deposed in 1691. When George I ascended the throne in August 1714, James, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, was attainted and died in exile in 1745. Although he lost his English titles, the family retained the Irish titles.

 -alive in 1130

 -had a son Hervey Walter

 -had a daughter Alice to whom he gave a dowry of 400 acres in Weeton, Lancashire in 1147

 -had estates in East Anglia; had 16 or more holdings in Norfolk and Suffolk (9 of which were entered in the Domesday Book under Walter de Caen who was possibly his father-in-law; Hervey may also have been 2nd son of Walter, son of the Walter of the Domesday Book, son or brother of the William Malet who after the Battle of Hastings was entrusted by the Conqueror with the burial of King Harold (source: Burkes Peerage Baronetage and Knightage, 103 Edit. 1962); some speculation that he married the sister of Gilbert Becket father of Thomas a Becket Lord Bishop of Cantebury, but this is discounted by the late historians T. Blake Butler and Lord Dunboyne.

 -he was Becket's envoy to the Papal Court 1163-1166 when he died.


 - married Maud de Valognes, sister-in-law of Ranulph de Glanville, the most powerful of Henry II's subjects, who would advance their children
 -had 4 sons- Theobald, Hubert, Roger, and Hamo
                  - second son Hubert, Bishop of Salisbury, was instrumental in raising the enormous ransom demanded by the German Emperor Henry VI for Richard Coeur de Lion (Richard I) whom he accompanied on the third Crusade as Bishop of Salsbury. He later governed England ably and even laid some of the foundations of democracy as we know it. He retained the confidence of Henry II and his heirs Richard I and John; he was immensely powerful and became Archbishop of Cantebury in 1193; Chief Justice and Governor of the Kingdom during the absence of RichardI; Chancellor of England in 1199; Pope's Legate in the reign of King John, and died in 1205 in his manor of Teynham.
 -Hervey died 1189


q  -eldest son of Hervey Walter
q  -with all his family, he was banished out of England on account of the disfavour in which Thomas a Becket, archbishop of Cantebury, then stood with King Henry II. Soon after Thomas a Becket’s murder in 1170 on the alter of Cantebury Cathedral, and the King's public penance for having been an accessory to his death, Henry recalled from banishment all the archbishop’s friends and relatives and promoted them to great offices and employments, particularly Theobald who the King sent into Ireland in 1185 with the title Chief Boteler” of that kingdom, a dignity which comprised the status of a baron and one of the duties attached to which, was to attend at the coronation of the kings of England and present them with the first cup of wine. From the office of Butlership of Ireland they took the name Butler. He was appointed Sheriff of Lancashire 1194-99 and Justice Itinerant 1197. By the King’s royal bounty, his own prowess and valiant behaviour, he became very eminent and attained great and large possessions in Ireland, namely the baronies of Upper Ormond, Lower Ormond, and numerous other territories in England and Ireland.
q  -He founded the Abbey of Wotheney, Co. Limerick, where he was buried in 1205, and the monastry of Arklow, Co. Wicklow, where the 2nd ,3rd and 4th Butlers are buried; as well as The abbeys of Nenagh, Co. Tipperary and Cockersand in Lancashire.
q  -He married Maud Vavasour daughter of Robert le Vavasour of Yorkshire and grand-dau of William le Vavasour, Justiciary of England, and had a son, Theobald, and daughter Maud who married Geoffrey de Prentergast, Lord of Enniscorthy and the Duffrey, co. Wexford
q  -died ante 4 April 1206

q  2nd Chief Butler of Ireland, who first assumed the name of Le Botiler or Butler in 1221
   -born 1199/1200
   -served with the Earl of Pembroke 1223 and in the Gascon Campaign 1229
q -married-a) Joan, (daughter of Geoffrey de Marreis, Justiciar of Ireland), who died in childbirth – 
  -son: Theobald
           married -b) Rohesia- son: John- her descendants became the Lords of Verdon but did not retain the name Butler. In 1225, Henry III personally requested her to marry  his “beloved Theobald le Botiller”.
q - died 19 July 1230, at a young age, in France.
q  3rd Chief Butler of Ireland
q  -born c.1216
q  -supported his guardian, Henry III, in the wars with the Barons
q -married c1242, Margery, eldest daughter of Richard de Burgh, Lord Deputy of Ireland (ancestors of the Lords Clanricarde) and had a  son, Theobald.
q  -died at a young age in 1249

     6) THEOBALD
q - born c. 1242 Thurles Negagh; died 26/9/1285 Arklow
q  -4th Chief Butler of Ireland.
q  -married Joan, (died 1303), grand-daughter of Geoffrey, Earl of Essex, Justiciar of England and had 8 sons and 2 daughters.
q  -fought against the Mortimers at Eversham and campaigned under Edward I in Scotland and Wales
q  -sat as a Baron in the Irish Parliaments, fought in the Eversham Campaign and assisted Edward I in his wars in Scotland before he died, 26 Sept. 1285                                                                               
q - 8 sons: Theobald, Edmond, Thomas, John, Richard, Gilbert, Nicholas, James

  7) THEOBALD, the 5th Chief Butler-remained unmarried; he accompanied Edward I to Scotland  when the Coronation Stone was purloined and he died at age 30, in 1299 and was succeeded by his brother Edmond of Roscrea 6th Butler
                     - brother Thomas who died 1330, became the 1st  Lord Dunboyne (Feudal) when he married Synolda le Petit d/o and heiress of William le Petit Baron of Dunboyne
                      - brother John, who was father of Paul of Toberwolick in 1333, called from him, Paulstown

8) EDMOND of Roscrea
-(brother of Theobald the 5th Butler, and son of  Theobald the 4th Butler)
q  - c.1270-1321
q  -6th Chief Butler of Ireland at age of 26
q - married 1302, Joan, daughter of John Fitzgerald, 1st Earl of Kildare
q - received the honour of Knighthood in London 1309; appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland 1312; Chief Governor under title of Lord Justice in 1314
q  -was said to have bestowed peace on the land and his services were  recognised and rewarded: in 1315, Edward II granted him the castle and manor of Karrick Mac Griffyn and Roscrea to be held by him and his heirs under the name and honour of Earl of Karrick.
q  -had 3 sons: James, John of Clonamelchon (b. c 1306), Laurence of Callan (b. c1308 -IGI)
                                     -John of Clonamelchon’s descendant, Pierce (died 1661) became 1st Viscount Ikerrin, and his  descendant, Somerset   (died 1774) became 1st Earl of Carrick in 1748.
                                 :daughter, Joan, married Roger Mortimer, 2nd son of  the 1st Earl of March (implicated in the murder of Edward II)
q  -at one time allegations of treachery were made against him which were eventually cleared.
q - in March 1321, he set forth with his brother, Thomas, 1st Lord  Dunboyne, for Spain, on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of  Compostela. He died on his return to London in September.

     9) JAMES
q - born 1305
q  -became 7th  Chief Butler of Ireland at the age of 16
q - knighted 1326 on his 21st birthday
q - became 1st Earl of Ormond, created 2 November 1328
q - married 1327, Eleanor (died 1363), daughter of Humphrey de Bohan, 6th Earl of Hereford, High Constable of England, by his wife, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of  King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile .
q - had 2 sons:- John b. 1330, died in infancy
                   - James
                   -and a daughter, Petronilla
q  -a few weeks after he was created Earl of Ormond, he was granted, by Edward III, the regalities and liberties of Co. Tipperary.(ie. the County Palatinate of Ormond ie. one possessed of such royal privileges as to rule in his palatine as a king)
q  -he lived and fought mainly in Ireland
q  -he died, 6 January 1337, at the  young at age 32 in his manor, a stone tower covered with shingles, at Moyalvi, Co. Tipperary and was buried at Gowran.

  10) JAMES BALBH (“the chaste”)
q  -born 4 Oct 1331, Kilkenny-died 18 Oct 1382, Knocktopher
q  -2nd Earl of Ormond in 1338 at the age of 7 yrs; 8th Chief Butler
q  -called the “Noble Earl” because he was the great grandson of King Edward 1.
q - in 1359, 1364 and 1376, appointed Lord Justice of Ireland
q - he was afflicted with a stammer. (sometimes called ‘the dumb’)
q  -married Elizabeth,(1332-1390) daughter of John Darcy, 1st Lord Darcy of Platten co. Meath
q  -had 2 sons , James and Thomas, and 4 daughters, including Eleanor who married 3rd Earl of Desmond
q  -he spent most of his life in Ireland where the considerable estates he inherited were augmented by grants for his good services .
q  -he died, 18 October, 1382, at Knocktopher aged 51, and buried at Gowran.

         11) JAMES
q  -born c.1360; died 6 Sept. 1405
q - 3rd Earl of Ormond –1382 and Earl of Gowran, and 9th Chief Butler
q  -married (a) Anne,(b.1367) daughter of John de Welles, 4th Lord Welles
 - married (b)- c.1432, Elizabeth, dau. of Gerald Fitzgerald, 5th Earl of Kildare (no issue).
q - built a castle at Gowran; purchased Kilkenny Castle from the heirs of Hugh Despenser 12th Sept 1391 (where he entertained King Richard II.) 
q - he was several times governor of Ireland
q  -had two illegitimate sons by Katherine fitzGerald d/o 4th Earl of Desmond- a) James “Galda whose descendant, Theobald (died 1596) became the 1st Lord Cahir and his descendant Richard (died 1819) also became 1st Earl of Glengall; and b) Thomas who became Prior of Kilmainham
q -had 4 legitimate sons: JAMES (A), RICHARD (B), Edmund and Thomas.

Kilkenny Castle

    James’ (A) three sons would succeed as Earl of Ormond, each dying without male issue. The Earldom was then passed on to the descendants of RICHARD (B) and would be known as the MacRichard line.

12) A).-JAMES, 1390-1452; succeeded as 4th Earl of Ormond, 10th Chief Butler; known as “The White Earl”; was a seasoned warrior having served under Henry V just after, if not at, the Battle of Agincourt; also a lover of history, heraldry, antiquity and archaeology and died at 62 of the plague at Ardee and buried in Dublin. James married (a) in 1413, Joan (died 1430) daughter of    William  Beauchamp, 1st Lord Bergavenny and had 3 sons, James, John and Thomas,  each of whom inherited his earldom and died young without male issue.
 James’s issue:

13) First son, James 5th Earl of Ormond, 11th Chief Butler, born 1420,  was a prominent Lancastrian and fought in the “Wars of the Roses”. Henry VI created him Earl of Wiltshire, a knight of the Garter and Lord High Treasurer. After a Yorkist triumph at Towton, he was executed at Newcastle, aged 41, and  his  head set upon London Bridge.

14) Second son John 6th Earl of Ormond, 12th Chief Butler.  Edward IV genially regarded James's brother John the 6th Earl of Ormond as “the goodliest knight he had ever beheld and first  gentleman in Christendom” and added that “if good breeding, nurture  and liberal qualities were lost in the world, they might be found in John, Earl of Ormond. He was a complete master of the languages of Europe, and was sent as ambassador to its principal courts. He died unmarried in 1478 in the Holy Land.

15) Third son Thomas became 7th Earl of Ormond, 13th Chief Butler (died 1515) in 1489 under King Henry VII and was one of the  wealthiest of the King’s subjects;  he had 2 daughters:  the son of one inheriting 36 manors in England; the other married Sir William Boleyn, and their son,  Thomas Boleyn  had a daughter Ann Boleyn who married King Henry VIII  and had a daughter, Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth I. Thomas Boleyn was made Earl of Ormonde in 1527 but the Peerage returned to kinsman, Piers Butler 8th Earl, when Ann and her brother George were beheaded in 1536, their father dying in 1539.
 B) RICHARD (second son of James, 3rd Earl of Ormond)- beginning of the MacRichard line (see separate blog for details on this line)
q  -1395-c.1440 at Polestown, (Paulstown), Kilkenny (IGI records)
q  -became Sir Richard of Knocktopher
q - married Catherine, daughter of Gildas O’Reilly, Lord of East Breffny, co. Cavan
q  -had 2 sons- Edmond 'MacRichard',  Walter, & 3 daus
q - his great grandson Piers inherited the title of 8th Earl of Ormond.

q  -14--to1464 (13 June)- of Polestown, Kilkenny
q  -Sir, a Knight
q  -married Gylys (died 1506), daughter of Mulroney O’Carroll
q  -had 4 sons- James of Pottlerath, Walter (d.1506, began the Polestown/Paulstown line of Kilkenny), Richard of Borlick, and John of Cowleshill, & 4 daus
q - he built Black Castle at Thurles to guard the pass over the Suir and led the Butlers to disaster in 1462 when he was captured at Piltown Co. Kilkenny, fighting the Desmond Geraldines and, to be released, he had to surrender to his captors his Book of Carrick and his copy of the Psalter of Cashel (now in the Bodleian Library,Oxford).

 JAMES of Pottlerath
q  -14--to 1467 (16 April)
q  -married Sabina (died c 1503-1508), daughter of Donell Keagh Kavanagh , Lord of Ferns co. Wexford ( Kavanagh's sons were, in turn, titled Kings of Leinster)
q  -had 4 sons-: Edmond and Theobald were illegitimate and “lay under a cloak” at their parents’ marriage in 1465; became known as the Butlers of Neagham/Neecham                 
                                -: Piers, and John; and  4 daughters

    16) PIERS ( Red Piers)
q - born c.1460/66 (Dedham, Essex) –died 26 Aug. 1539
q  -8th Earl of Ormond, 14th Chief Butler in 1515-the title Earl of Ormond  was surrendered in 1529 when it was given to Thomas Boleyn and restored in 1538 when the Boleyns fell out of favour with King Henry VIII.
q  -created 1527, Earl of Ossory at Windsor and made governor of  Ireland
q  -married 1495 in Kilkenny, Margaret (died 1542), daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald 8th Earl of Kildare;
q  -had 3 sons- JAMES, RICHARD, Thomas; and 4 daughters
               (NB. Richard, created 1st Viscount Mountgarrett  23 Oct. 1550- see separate blog on the Mountgarrett line in Co Wexford:

q  -during the early years of their marriage, they were reduced to penury by Sir James Ormond (bastard nephew of the 7th Earl of Ormond) and at one time were forced to "lurk in the woods"; the next day, Piers found out where his enemy was to travel, ambushed him, and "gored the bastard through with his spear."
q -“ It required all his pertinacity to get himself recognised as the true heir to the earldom”.
q - they founded Kilkenny College
q  -he died 1539 and was the first of the Earls of Ormond to be buried in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny. His formidable Countess, Margaret, was buried next to him (and they have two magnificent carved effigies over their tomb.)

Tomb of Piers and Margaret in St Canice's Cathedral Kilkenny
Viscount Thurles (son and heir of Walter 11th Earl of Ormond) behind them

17) JAMES (The Lame)
q - born 1504-died 28 Oct 1546 (d. London, England)
q  -9th Earl of Ormonde, 1541, 2nd earl of Ossary and Viscount Thurles (created 1535), 15th Chief Butler
q - he had been brought up at the Court of Henry VIII who had a. high regard for him and created him Viscount Thurles in 1536
q  -married abt 1532-1535, Joan (died 1565), daughter of James  Fitzgerald, 10th Earl of Desmond (the Butlers and Desmonds had  been in dispute for years and would continue to do so after the death of Joan)
q  -for 14 years before his mysterious death, James was Lord  High Treasurer of Ireland and was given 7 religious establishments on the Dissolution of the Monastries.
q  -17th October 1546, at age 42, he went with his servants to be entertained to supper by Sir John Dudley at Ely House in Holburn and they were mortally poisoned. It has not been established if it was an accident or deliberate. However, of the party of 50, 35 sickened, 17 fatally which probably indicates it was an accident, food poisoning being rife in London during that period, giving rise to an Act of  Parliament punishing cooks of poisoned food by boiling them alive. He died on the 28th October 1546.
q  -The confusion caused by his Will gave rise to the Irish Public Records Office. He was buried in London , but his heart was interred in St Canice’s Cathedral.

James 9th Earl of Ormond

q -James had 7 sons:
-a) THOMAS-1531-1614: 10th Earl of Ormond, 16th Chief Butler, at age 15 ; called Black Tom or the Black Earl, from the darkness of his complexion; he was brought up at Court with the young Prince Edward ;he  remained steadfastly devoted to his relation, Elizabeth I and was one of her favourite courtiers for over 30 years, a rival for Lord Robert Dudley Earl of  Leicester and the Earl of Sussex, who were also favoured by the queen. There were rumours she bore him Piers Butler of  Duiske in 1554, the  father of the 1st  Earl of Galmoy and she is said to have called Black Tom her “black husband”;
    -1559- constituted Lord Treasurer of Ireland 
-he had no surviving sons, only a dau. Elizabeth, whose daughter Elizabeth Preston married the 12th  Earl of Ormonde who became the 1st Duke of Ormond, but Thomas had at least 12  illegitimate children and  married 3 times

Thomas 10th Earl of Ormond

-b) Edmond of Roscrea and Cloughgrenan, co. Carlow-1534-1614;  knighted 1560; his son, Theobald married only dau. and heiress of 10th Earl of  Ormonde in her 1st marriage before she married Robert Preston.
-        had 4 sons who all died young without issue
-        also had 2 illegitimate sons- Thomas became the ancestor of the Baronets of Cloughrennan Co. Carlow
                                    - Edmond led his brothers and relations in a rebellion in 1569, for which he was  arrested and saved by his brother the 10th Earl of Ormonde

-c) John of Kilcash- c.1531 to 10 May 1570- ancestor of the Earls and Dukes of Ormond and later Earls and Marquess' of Ormonde

- two sons, Walter and James

Son, WALTER of Ballynodagh, a devout Catholic became 11th Earl of Ormond and 17th Chief Butler; known as Walter of the Beads; his claim to the estates was thwarted by James I who imprisoned him for 8 years; he died 1633. 

Walter's son Thomas Viscount Thurles drowned as he was being sent to England on charges of having garrisoned Kilkenny (see tomb above, near Piers 8th Earl of Ormond's tomb); 

Thomas Viscount Thurles' son JAMES, who became a royal ward, would restore the family fortunes and become 12th Earl of Ormonde and 18th Chief Butler in 1633, created 1st Marquess of Ormonde in 1642; he supported Charles I and the Royalists against the Catholic Confederate rebels of Ireland led by his relatives, but joined forces with them to fight against Cromwell's invasion, and shared the privations of exile with Charles II on the Continent, and after the Restoration was created 1st Duke of Ormonde and was Privy Councillor or England, Ireland and Scotland, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; he was buried in Westminster Cathedral in 1688. (Ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II).

James 1st Duke of Ormonde

James's grandson, also named JAMES would succeed him as 2nd Duke of Ormonde (and 13th Earl of Ormonde and 19th Chief Butler). He would participate in the victory over the Duke of Monmouth at Sedgemoor. James did not support the accession of James II and when William of Orange ascended the throne, James was constituted High Constable for the Coronation. He attended William into Ireland, was at the Battle of the Boyne and entertained the King at Kilkenny. In 1693 he was at the battle of Landen, where he received several wounds and had his horse shot out from under him. In 1702 Queen Ann made him Commander in Chief of the land forces sent against France and Spain, where he destroyed the French Fleet, sunk Spanish galleons in the harbour of VIGO, and took the fort of Redondella. In 1711, he was declared Capt. General and Commander in Chief of the land forces in Britain after Queen Ann dismissed Marlborough. In 1713 he was made Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Constable of Dover Castle. But after the accession of George I, his Grace was impeached in 1715 for high treason for supporting the accession of the son of the exiled Catholic James II (ie. James III), and his Palatinate of Tipperary was annulled. He died in exile in France in 1745 and his remains interred in the family vault in Westminster Abbey.

James 2nd Duke of Ormonde

The title Duke of Ormonde which was an English title became extinct, but the Irish title of Earl of Ormonde was inherited by descendants of the 1st Duke of Ormonde's brother Colonel Richard Butler of Kilcash.

-d) Walter of Nodstown -c.1538 to 1560 (born at Ballynenoddagh, Tipperary)- 1 son Pierce who had six sons. Lost estate by Cromwell and transplanted.

 -e) James of Duisk- 1540 to 1566; 1 son who died young

 -f) Edward of Cloughinche- 1542 to 1605; 1 son (died  young)

-g) Pierce of Abbeyleix and Grantstown- 1545-1604

-born c.1545-died 1604                          
-married 1569, Catherine, (died 1597), daughter of John Power, Lord Power  (or Poer) of Curraghmore – married at Gowran co. Kilkenny (IGI record
 -was attainted (charged with treason and deprived of rights) in
1570 along with 2 brothers Sir Edmond and Edward for participating in the rebellion of  1569 over fears of land dispossession. Their brother, Black Tom, came back to Ireland to sort out the matter and returned to Court when their allegiance was finally restored
 -had 6 sons: James, William, Thomas, Edward, Richard, Edmond. (from whom descend the Butlers of Kilmoyler and Grantstown
 -James, 15—to 1598 – killed in a skirmish
 -William, 15-- (probably died before 1600)
 -Thomas, 15-- to ? 
 -Edward, 15-- to 1626; daughter Ellen married his nephew Richard (no 24)
 -Richard, 15—to 16—  -owned Killenaule in 17th century -of the Grantstown line of Butlers -married 1.?   2. Catherine, daughter of Henry Power - 3 sons probably by first wife- Richard, Edmund, John  (all born 1600-1610
(NB: all of above born 1569 to 1597)

The various lines descending from these seven sons of the 9th Earl of Ormond populated the Counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny and can be traced to some extent through the Butler Testamentary Records (Wills).
According to Bryant Ormond Butler in his book “The Butler Family of Lebanon, Connecticut” page 8
“Thomas Butler, tenth Earl of Ormond, lived at Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary and from there waged wars which drove the Geraldines (Fitgerald family line) back into western Ireland. After the great Desmond rebellion (Fitzgeralds again) of 1579-1583 the Butlers were given large tracts of land in the Barony of Clanwilliam along both banks of the River Suir. These Tipperary lands belonged to the Desmonds and the Burkes. The Earl of Ormond divided these new possessions among his kinsmen. Grantstown, Kilmoyler, Ballycarron and Derrycloney were estates thus given out in the division. The Butlers of Derrycloney, Mastertown, and half of Hemmingstown from Walter Butler, Eleventh Earl of Ormond.” (N.B. These lands were a few miles west and south of Cashel. Walter was Thomas’s nephew from brother John of Kilcash)

The Ormonde Ancestral Tree, descended from Walter Butler 11th Earl of Ormond

tree continued from Walter of Garryricken

Tree continued from the sons of John 17th Earl of Ormonde

The title of Earl of Ormonde today:

The title of Chief Butler of Ireland was declared redundant in 1810, the Marquess of Ormonde, Walter Butler, paid  216,000 pounds in compensation.

The 25th Earl of Ormonde and 7th Marquis of Ormonde, James Hubert Theobald Charles Butler died in 1997 aged 98 yrs, having succeeded to the titles in 1971. As he only had two daughters who cannot inherit, the titles have become dormant until claimed by a descendant of another branch of the Ormond Butlers. At this point, unless descent from one of the descendants of James 9th Earl of Ormond can be proven, the most likely recipient would be the current descendant of the 9th Earl's brother Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett viz. Piers James Richard Butler 18th Viscount Mountgarrett, b. 1961.
Refer to The Butler Society website for the late Patrick Lord Dunboyne's synopsis of this question of inheritance:


According to Art Kavanagh in his book “Landed Gentry and Aristocracy of Kilkenny” [i],
“The story of Kilkenny is inextricably linked to the history of the Butlers, a family that stamped its mark not alone on Kilkenny but on the entire south east of Ireland. Today Kilkenny Castle stands as a monument to this remarkable family and Kilkenny city owes its existence to them. What was probably one of the most extraordinary facets of the Butlers was the fact that they were most prolific and their many sub branches included the Butlers of Mountgarrett, the Butlers of Dunboyne, the Butlers of Carrick and numerous less well-known branches. The fact that they managed to survive the Cromwellian carve up of Catholic lands is a tribute to their tenacity and intelligence.”

Another source states: “The history of the illustrious house of Butler of Ormonde, is in point of fact, the history of Ireland from the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. At the head of the great nobility of that country have stood the Butlers and the Geraldines (i.e. the Fitzgeralds), rivals in power and equals in reknown. For 6oo years their story fill the pages of the Irish annals, from Theobald Fitz-Walter, in the reign of Henry II  (i.e. C12th), down to the death of James 2nd Duke of Ormonde in 1745.The surname, BUTLER, originated in the Chief Butlerage of Ireland conferred by Henry II upon the first of the family who settled in that kingdom.”[ii]

 Ormonde Butler Coat of Arms including the Three Gold Cups representing the Chief Butler of Ireland
War Cry: Butler Aboo- ie. ButlerVictory
Motto: Comme je Trouve- As I Find
(arms on end of tomb of Piers 8th Earl of Ormond)

The Irish Butler family can be traced back to the first Butler, Theobald Walter, a Norman whose ancestor accompanied William the Conqueror into England. Theobald’s grandfather Hervey Walter was granted lands in Weeton, Lancashire and also held lands in East Anglia, Norfolk & Suffolk in 1130. For many centuries there was speculation that Hervey may have been married to the sister of Gilbert Becket, the father of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, or related to the family in some way. Hervey was appointed papal nuncio (envoy to the Papal Court) for the Archbishop of Canterbury between 1163 and 1166. Legend has it that the family’s promotion in the Court of Henry II was due to Henry’s repentance for the assassination murder of Thomas à Becket on the altar of Canterbury Cathedral by Henry’s knights. However, this is not a proven fact, and is disputed by some researchers, including Butler family historians and researchers the late Lord Dunboyne and Theobald Blake Butler.

In 1648, William Roberts, Ulster King-of-Arms wrote:
 “The History of the House of Ormonde”  [iii], in which he stated that “After his Majestie had graciously conferred on me the office of Yluester King of Armes etc., (and as a chiefe part of those services I am obliged to the nobility of this realme) I forthwith resolved strictly to peruse their genealogies, and correct such errors, as (through the mistakes, abuses, or ignorances of former times) had crept into them.

Roberts then outlines a “Briefe Collection of the chiefe matters containing in this booke and proved by records, etc.”
Walter proved to bee the ancient surname of this family from the time of King William the Conqueror, until the time that Edmund Walter, 6th Butler of Ireland was created Earle of Carrick, when the addition of surname, according to the custome (which is now also used) was omitted.
Walter proved to be used as the surname of this family for seven generations in a direct line, and also proved not only to the surname, but also to be used as the surname of this family in several collateral lines.
Walter, a Saxon word, anciently a name of office signifying according to Camden (in his Britannia), the Generall or Governor of an army, and according to Verstegan, the chief ruler or officer over the King’s forests, etc.
Walter became a surname from a name of office, as Butler is become the surname of this whole family, from the ancient and honourable office of Butler of Ireland; the word ‘Walter’ also became a Christian name, as many surnames are commonly given as prenomens, at times of baptisme, amongst us at this present.
Roberts then goes on to explain how, therefore, Theobald Walter and Hubert Walter descended from a line of Walters dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, and could not have descended from Becket ancestry.

The first of this line named Hervey (Hervius) Walter must have been born sometime before 1100 A.D. as records show that his daughter Alice married by 1147. Hervey’s father is thought to have been named Walter and various records through the centuries have suggested a number of paternities for Hervey:
a) a line with the surname of Walter as suggested by Roberts;
b) Walter de Caen of East Anglia;
c) Walter, the younger son of Gilsebert de Clare, Earl of Clare, a descendant of Rollo, the ancestor of the Normans;
d) a relative of the Beckets;
e) a relative of William Malet and the de Glanville family. William Malet accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066. He came from Graville de St. Honorine in Normandy, son of Gilbert Malet and an English woman. After the Battle of Hastings, William Malet was commissioned by the Conqueror to find and bury the body of King Harold on the seashore of Hastings. He was given lands in Yorkshire and made sheriff of York, and held lands in Suffolk and Norfolk. In the Domesday book, a Walter and a Robert de Glanville were under-tenants of Robert Malet, and were the two largest landowners in Suffolk. However, there were eighteen Walters also named as smaller under tenants, in Suffolk, as Walter appears to have been a common Norman name.
Although there have been a few other candidates suggested through the centuries, none of these have been confirmed as most likely. [iv]
Therefore, we will begin with the first known in the Butler line- Hervey Walter of Weeton, Lancashire.

Hervey (Hervius) Walter had a son, also named Hervey Walter.
Hervey Walter (the younger) had four sons, Theobald, Hubert, Roger, and Hamo.

Hubert, Bishop of Salisbury, became a man of great influence at Court and was instrumental in raising the enormous ransom demanded by the Emperor Henry VI for Richard Coeur de Lion (King Richard I- 'the Lionheart') whom he accompanied on the 3rd Crusade. During the Crusade, Hubert was one of three of Richard's closest confidants. Richard signed a treaty on 1 September 1192 with Salah al-Din (Saladin) for a truce to last three years and eight months whereby it was agreed that both sides would be able to move freely, to resume trade, and Christian pilgrims would be given free acess to Jerusalem. Three pilgrimages were organised, one of which was led by the Bishop of Salisbury (Hubert) who was accorded the honour of a personal audience with Salah al-Din who told him that Richard had great courage but he was too reckless with his own life. The treaty followed the battle of Jafa when the Crusaders led by Richard won the battle to defend Jafa although far outnumbered by the Saracens, at the end of which Richard famously galloped his stallion toward the enemy and rode the entire length of the Saracen line and none dared accept his challenge, much to the disbelief of his watching knights and the Saracen commanders. Throughout the campaign, Richard had often recklessly charged into the fray in total disregard of the risks to his own life. This had led to his legendary reputation amongst the Muslim enemy.
Hubert later governed England ably. He retained the confidence of Henry II, and his sons Richard I, and John; he was immensely powerful, and became Lord Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193; Lord Chief Justice and Governor of the Kingdom during the absence of Richard I; Lord High Chancellor of England 1199; Pope’s Legate in the reign of King John. He died in 1205 in his manner of Teyham.

Statue of Hubert Walter on Cantebury Cathedral

William Robert’s wrote in his introduction about the matters he would outline in detail:
A Discourse concerning Herveus Walter, father to the said Theobald Walter, and Hubert Walter, showing how they had their education under Ranulph de Glanfeld, Chiefe Justice Generall of England, the great composer of the English laws, and how it was then, and hath been since, the custome of the Kings of England to commit the tuition of great person’s children, being infants, unto such eminent persons as the said Ranulph de Glanvill was. The said Hubert Walter rose to his preferments by the very same steps that many famous princes of the Royall blood rose to the like preferments.
The office of Butler of England and Butler of Ireland discoursed of, and showne, and also how that the prime Earle of England (when the title of Earle was the next title to the Prince, there being noe Duke or Marquess created in England long after that time) was Butler of England when Theobald Walter was made Butler of Ireland.
The great honour of the office of Butler of England or Ireland, and the great revenues enjoyed by reason of the said offices.
What services at solemn coronations, and never else, are to bee performed by any person being Butler of England or Ireland, and the great reward of that dayes service.
Theobald Walter, first Butler of Ireland, proved to bee an honorary and Parliamentary Baron both in England and Ireland, and also all the heyres males, in the direct line descending from him, unto the time that Edmund Walter 6th Butler of Ireland, was created Earle of Carrick, were also honorary and Parliamentary Barons, and had as much priviledge, to sitt and vote in Parliaments in England and Ireland, as any nobleman in England or Ireland hath, at this present.
Edmund’s son, the First Earl of Ormond married Lady Eleanor Bohun, whose mother was daughter to King Edward the First, sister to King Edward the Second, and aunt to King Edward the Third.

Roberts continues to outline the Royal connections to this family, and states:
And soe, as all the Earles of Ormond from the first, have descended out of the loynes of Kings of England, soe have severall Queens of England descended out of their loynes (viz. Anne Boleyn wife to Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I, both descended from the 7th Earl; and unknown to Roberts at that time, the present Queen Elizabeth II from the 10th Earl and the 1st Duke of Ormond).

Edmund Walter, Earl of Carrick, father to the first Earle of Ormond, and five Earles of Ormond in a direct line, successively following him, were all chiefe Governours of Ireland either by style of Custos Hiberniae, Justiciarius Hiberniae, locum teneus Hiberniae, or Deputatus Hiberniae.
Severall of the ancestors of the said Earle of Carrick, Chiefe Governors of Ireland, by the style of Justice of Ireland, before any of this family was an Earle.
Pierce, Earl of Ormond (8th) and Ossory, was twice Lord Deputy of Ireland, and in James (9th) his life time the statute was made that non Irishmen borne should be chosen Governor of Ireland, viz. Justice of Ireland.
James, second Earle of Ormond, first Lord of the Royalties to the County Palatine of Tipperary..
The other great offices of severall Earles of Ormond, as Constable of Ireland, Lord High Treasurer of Ireland, Lord High Admirall of Ireland, Generalls, at home, and in foreigne parts. Etc

Roberts concludes his introduction by saying:
No family in his Majesties dominions hath under one surname beene longer honour’d with the title of Earle having soe many Nobility and Peers of one surname.

Theobald Walter was granted the hereditary title, Chief Butler of Ireland, by King Henry II in 1177, after he accompanied King Henry into Ireland in 1171 following the Norman invasion of Ireland by Strongbow (viz. Richard fitzGilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke) in 1169/70.

 “At the close of the thirteenth century, the center of gravity of the Butler lordship was still located in north Munster. But it should not be forgotten that the Butlers had been important tenants in Leinster since c.1190, when (Prince) John, as lord of Ireland and custodian of Leinster, granted Theobald Walter three substantial fiefs in Oskelan (Gowran), Tullow, and Arklow. Gowran, the smallest, included some 44,000 acres of prime arable land, was strategically placed, and was probably the most important fief in the liberty of Kilkenny. The Butlers were consequently well placed to fill the political vacuum created by the absentee lords in the fourteenth century.[v]

According to A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A History of Medieval Ireland (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993- page 67- 69), “On 25 April 1185 Prince John, in his new capacity as Lord of Ireland, landed at Waterford and around this time granted the hereditary office of butler of Ireland to Theobald Walter. Some time after King Henry II granted him the presage of wines to enable him and his heirs the better to support the dignity of that office.” By this grant, he had two tons of wine out of every ship which broke bulk in any trading port of Ireland, and was loaded with 20 tons of that commodity, and one ton from 9 to 20 tons. Theobald accompanied John on his progress through Munster and Leinster. At this time he was granted a large section of the north-eastern part of the Kingdom of Leinster. Theobald was active in the war that took place when Ruaidri Ua Conchobair attempted to regain his throne after retiring to the monastery of Cong, as Theobald’s men were involved in the death of Donal Mór na Corra Mac Carthaigh during a parley in 1185 near Cork. In 1194 Theobald supported his brother during Hubert’s actions against Prince John, with Theobald receiving the surrender of John’s supporters in Lancaster. Theobald was rewarded with the office of sheriff of Lancaster, which he held until Christmas of 1198. He was again sheriff after John took the throne in 1199. In early 1200 John deprived Theobald of all his offices and lands because of his irregularities as sheriff. His lands were not restored until January 1202. (Joliffe, J.E.A., Angevin Kingship, London: Adam and Charles Black, 1955, p66-68) The following document points to William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber as the agent of his restoration:
“Grant by William de Braosa (senior) to Theobald Walter (le Botiller) the burgh of Kildelon (Killaloe)… the candred of Elykarul (the baronies of Clonlisk and Ballybrit, Co. Offaly), Eliogarty, Ormond, Ara and Oioney (Owney and Ara Nth Tipperary), etc. 1201” (National Library Ireland, Dublin, D27)
Theobald founded the Abbey of Woney in the townland of Abington of which nothing now remains, near the modern village of Murroe Co Limerick around 1200, and Coskersand Abbey in Lancaster, Abbey of Nenagh in Co. tipperary, and a monastic house at Arklow in Co Wicklow. He died between 4 August 1205 and 14 February 1206 and was buried at Owney Abbey. (refer to Wikipedia- Theobald Walter)

Theobald Walter’s son and heir Theobald, 2nd Chief Butler of Ireland, adopted the surname
le Botelier/Butler- hence the origin of the name Botelier/Butler. From then on, the Butlers acquired great power and very large land possessions in Kilkenny, Tipperary, Carlow, Queen’s (Laos/Leix), Waterford and Wexford Counties. They acquired Kilkenny Castle in 1391 from the Despenser property, which became the seat of the Butlers until it was handed to the people of Kilkenny in 1967.

Kilkenny Castle

 (It should be noted that there are many English Butler families that have not descended from this line, and some may have descended from the name Pincerna, which is Latin for butler. However we are only interested in the Irish line of Butlers, which is discussed in this document.)

The title of Chief Butler of Ireland came with certain privileges-
1.) The right of prisage of wines, viz. the right to 10% of all wine imports into Irish ports- this right was declared redundant and was sold back to the monarchy in 1810, by Walter Butler Marquis of Ormonde who was paid £216,000 in compensation;
2.) The honour of presenting all newly crowned monarchs with their first cup of wine, and the right to certain pierces of the King’s plate- this ceremony was dispensed with by William IV in 1830. William despised all of the trappings and expense associated with the coronation ceremony, and greatly simplified it.

The greatest concentration of Butlers was in the counties of Kilkenny, the seat of the Butlers, and Tipperary, where large tracts of lands were granted, particularly of church property following the reformation (ie. the Tudor period). Over the period 1515 to around 1614, the 8th, 9th and 10th earls enjoyed their greatest power, controlling vast areas of southern Ireland.

The 7th Chief Butler, James, was granted the hereditary title 1st Earl of Ormond in 1328 after his marriage to the granddaughter of King Edward I (Eleanor de Bohan, daughter of Princess Elizabeth and Humphrey de Bohan 6th Earl of Hereford and High Constable of England). He was granted the regalities and liberties of Co. Tipperary, ie. the County Palatinate of Ormond, by Edward III. Successive earls became increasingly powerful and intermarried with the daughters of titled men of power and influence, and the clan continued to wield considerable power in Ireland and England for a further 400 years.

From the time of the 7th Earl of Ormond (great grandfather of Ann Boleyn, mother of Queen Elizabeth I) who controlled 40,000 acres, successive earls bought land and were granted church lands after the dissolution, so at the time of the 10th Earl’s death in 1614 his ancestral estate amounted to 90,000 acres - about one acre in three in Kilkenny belonged to him. The 9th Earl’s brother, Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarrett, accounted for a further 20,000 acres.

After he (Thomas, the 10th Earl) inherited his earldom and lands, the rent returns from his lands in Kilkenny, Tipperary, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford, Arklow, and Leix Abbey grew steadily in the years that followed from £1,330 in 1574 to £2,100 in 1593 and £3000 in 1610- plus the prisage of wine contributed significantly to Ormond’s income, and was probably worth at least £500 a year by the 1600’s, so the 10th earl was a very rich man.”[vi]

James the 9th Earl of Ormond died from food poisoning after a banquet at Holburn London, and his son Thomas, a minor at the time, was brought up in the court of King Henry VIII as a companion to the young heir Edward, and was thus brought up in the Protestant faith. He became one of Queen Elizabeth’s favoured courtiers who rewarded him with many privileges and land grants. He was nicknamed ‘Black Tom’ because of his swarthy complexion and the queen called him ‘her black husband’. There were rumours at the time that she bore a child to ‘Black Tom’ in 1853/4, and that illegitimate and favoured child of ‘Black Tom’ was the forebear of the Viscounts of Galmoy line of Butlers.

Although originally followers of the Catholic faith, the 9th & 10th Earls, the 12th Earl/1st Duke of Ormonde, and a few Butler relatives rejected their Roman Catholic faith and became Protestants, influenced by the Protestant English Court, however, most of the Butler families remaining in Ireland, including the 9th Earl’s brother Viscount Mountgarrett and his descendants, plus the 10th Earl’s nephew and heir Walter 11th Earl of Ormond, and the 1st Duke of Ormond’s brother Colonel Richard Butler of Kilcash and his descendants, continued to remain faithful to the Catholic Church despite harsh penalties through the following centuries.
 (NB. Piers the 8th Earl was a descendant of the 3rd Earl’s second son Richard Butler of Knocktopher and Polestown, known as the ‘MacRichard’ line- the 4th Earl’s three sons, the 5th, 6th and 7th Earls, leaving no male heirs.)

Lands in Kilkenny, Tipperary, Queen’s, Carlow and Wexford were granted or leased to relations by the Earls of Ormond in the 1500’s and early 1600’s. The Tudor’s intolerance of Catholics and secondly, Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland in the 1650’s resulted in most of the Butler families, viz. the “Old English” who were Catholics, being dispossessed of their ancestral lands and transplanted to other counties. These lands were initially granted to Protestant supporters of the Tudors, and, in the following century, to the English followers of Cromwell who fought in his armies and financed his expedition- they were known as the “New English” (this act referred to as ‘the plantation’ or ‘Settlement Act’).

These conflicts between the Irish allied with the ‘Old English’ in Ireland against the Crown had originally begun during Elizabeth’s reign. Black Tom the 10th Earl of Ormond, against whom his brothers Edmund, Edward, James and Pierce Butler along with the Mountgarretts, the Dunboynes and other Butler lines, rebelled in 1569 (the Tyrone Rebellion), and again in 1596/7 (the Desmond Rebellion), was sent by Queen Elizabeth I back to Ireland to bring his family back into line. Black Tom died at the grand age of 83 in 1614, and it would appear, rediscovered his Catholic faith just before his death. His successor, his brother John of Kilcash’s son Walter, the 11th Earl, was a devout Catholic, and consequently spent eight years incarcerated in the Tower of London as he refused to ‘reform’. Walter’s son and heir, Thomas Viscount Thurles died prematurely, drowning when his ship sank.

Walter’s successor, his grandson James the 12th Earl who would become 1st Duke of Ormond, was also brought up as a minor at Court, schooled in the Protestant faith, and was a close associate of Charles II from whose largesse he rose to hold positions of enormous power.

In 1641, after many years of exclusion from power, and the persecution of Catholics that followed their faith, the Catholics of Ireland met in Kilkenny and, although supportive of the monarchy, formed an alternative government to the English appointed Irish government, named the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny, and a full scale rebellion against English Parliamentary rule ensued.

The first President of the Catholic Confederate Parliament was Richard Butler 3rd Viscount Mountgarrett, and the Confederation was supported by most of the Butler lineage -ie. Mountgarrett’s sons including heir Edmund; the Butlers of Ikerrin, Dunboyne, Cahir, Galmoye, Paulstown, Callan, Neigham, Castlecomer, Wexford, and even the 12th Earl’s brother, Colonel Richard of Kilcash (ancestor of the 15th & 16th Earls etc.). Therefore, the Butler clan was in open conflict with England’s representative in Ireland, James Butler 12th Earl of Ormond who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. There were many accusations that Ormond was secretly supportive of his relatives’ position and tried to bring about reconciliation. He brokered several peace treaties with the Confederates, none of which held.

After a long civil war during the 1640’s on English and Irish soil, Charles I was overthrown and beheaded in 1649 and the Commonwealth was born under the ‘Protector’ Oliver Cromwell. Ormonde joined forces with his Catholic adversaries to defeat Cromwell’s invasion. However, Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1650 which saw the end of the Irish Catholic Confederate Parliament and the exile to the Continent of thousands of Irish aristocracy and gentry, many joining the Court in exile of Charles II. A period of retribution began with all Catholic landholders in Ireland having their inherited lands confiscated and allocated to Cromwellian adventurers and soldiers, while introducing forced transplantation of Catholics who were ‘compensated’ with barren and unproductive lands in the western province of Connaught.

After this confiscation of lands by firstly the Protestant Tudors and then by Cromwell, many Butler families were transplanted to Clare and counties in Connaught (Mayo, Galway, Roscommon and Leitrim,) etc. in western Ireland. Many illegally remained in their own counties and leased back their lands from the ‘New English’ owners, and many went into exile on the Continent. The incumbent Earl of Ormond, a protestant, went into exile with Charles II during the Interregnum under Cromwell, and with the king’s restoration in 1660 the Earl was rewarded with a dukedom. He wielded enormous power as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His vast lands were restored to him, and some of the remaining confiscated Butler lands were also granted to Ormonde. He then leased some of it back to the original owners/lessees, his relatives, and gentry families closely associated with the Butlers, albeit only on short-term leases. Ormonde’s aristocratic Butler relatives such as Edmund Butler 4th Viscount Mountgarrett and Edward Butler 2nd Viscount Galmoye were also restored to their lands.
By 1670 the restored Duke of Ormonde had increased his extensive holdings from 55,000 plantation acres to 58,000 acres in Kilkenny. In conjunction with Viscount Mountgarrett’s 20,000 acres and Viscount Galmoy’s 11,000 acres, the Butlers held a sizeable amount of lands in the province of Leinster.

However, Cromwellian grantees benefitted greatly from the dismantling of the lands of the many of the lessor Butler branches. The majority of re-allocated lands remained with their new Protestant owners following the restoration, resulting in long-lasting hatred and resentment that would have repercussions down to the 1798 Rebellion and even the fairly recent conflicts in Northern Ireland stem from this original clash of religious faith and the resultant political power struggle.

Following the death of Charles II in 1685, there was a brief return to power of a Catholic King, his brother James II. The consequences proved catastrophic. In 1688, with the support of the English Parliament who feared a return to the old religious persecutions of Protestants by a Catholic King, James II was deposed by his daughter Mary and her Protestant Dutch husband William. James fled to France, then quickly returned to Ireland and established a separate Irish Parliament, named the ‘Patriot Parliament’ composed of representatives of the dispossessed Catholic “Old English” aristocracy and gentry families, including many representatives of the Butler clans. The Irish Catholics rallied to his cause and raised a sizeable if not experienced Irish army. The French King Louis IV sent his own troops and officers to Ireland in support of James and his army. William brought his forces over to Ireland which culminated in the defeat of James’s Irish army at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 and ultimately at the disastrous Battle of Aughrim in August 1691.

After the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, James fled to France, but his Irish forces continued until their defeat at Aughrim and finally at Limerick in 1691. Butlers fought on both sides of the conflict, between the followers of Catholic James II and the followers of the Protestant King William II, and following their defeat, many of the Butler army officers who had fought for the defeated James, along with officers from other prominent families in Ireland and tens of thousands of soldiers, fled to the continent to fight in the French and Imperial armies and were known as the ‘Wild Geese’.

Pierce Butler 3rd Viscount Galmoy who had fought for James II as one of his commanders- Colonel of the Galmoy Horse Regiment- was one of the signatories to the Treaty of Limerick in September 1691, before his exile to the Continent as Colonel in Chief of the Queen’s Galmoy Regiment fighting for France, and later, as Lieutenant-General of the French army. The succession of Protestant King William and Queen Mary meant the end of the hopes of the ‘Old English’ Catholic families and Irish clans of the Catholic faith returning to their previous landowning way of life. Further severe restrictions were placed on them by William and his successor Queen Ann, known as the Penal Acts, which reduced many families to poverty. The Protestant settlers that followed this last defeat and bought up the forfeited lands, were known as ‘Williamites’.
The growing dissatisfaction by Catholics reduced to living as poor tenants on their former estates, and the severe restrictions imposed by the Penal Acts eventually led to the uprising against Protestant domination and English rule, known as the 1798 Irish rebellion.

Crest of Butler

Various other titles have branched off the Chief Butler or Ormond line:

-Lord Baron of Dunboyne, from Theobald, 4th Chief Butler
-Viscount Mountgarret, from Piers, 8th Earl of Ormond
-Viscount Ikerrin and Earl of Carrick, from Edmond, 6th Chief Butler
-Viscount Galmoy, from Thomas, 10th Earl of Ormond
-Lord Baron of Cahir, from James, 3rd Earl of Ormond’s illegitimate son James 'Galda'

Other Royal Links
: Elizabeth I descended from Thomas 7th Earl of Ormond
: Elizabeth II descends from James, 1st Duke of Ormonde
: James, 2nd Earl of Ormonde- his mother was Edward I’s granddaughter

The Various Butler Branches

Over the centuries a number of junior titles were granted to various younger sons of the Chief Butlers and the Earls of Ormond, and even to their illegitimate children, and these aristocratic lines were granted large areas of land throughout southern Ireland and intermarried with the senior Ormond line. These Butler families helped the Earl protect and retain his vast holdings against attacks from indigenous Irish clans who resented the loss of their lands. Some of the Butlers formed alliances with some of the more prominent Irish clan leaders such as the Kavanaghs, fitzPatricks, and O’Briens through marriage with their daughters.

The most prominent junior Butler lines were:
the Viscounts Mountgarrett from Richard, the second son of Piers the 8th Earl of Ormond- later, this line also held the title Earl of Kilkenny for a brief time. (The current Viscount Mountgarrett looks likely to inherit the vacant Earldom of Ormonde.);
the Barons of Dunboyne from Thomas, the third son of Theobald the 4th Chief Butler, (and brother of Edmund, the 6th Chief Butler and Earl of Karrick, whose son James became the 1st Earl of Ormond);
the Viscounts Ikerrin (including Butlers of Callan), who later became the Earls of Carrick, from John the second son of Edmund 6th Chief Butler and Earl of Karrick, (and brother of the 1st Earl of Ormond);
the Barons of Cahir who later held the title of Earl of Glengall, from James “Galda”, the illegitimate son of the 3rd Earl of Ormond;
the Viscounts Galmoye from Edward son of Piers of Duiske the illegitimate son of Thomas 10th Earl of Ormond.
There are also various other titles that are not quite as prominent in the family heritage.

The titles of Mountgarrett, Dunboyne and Carrick continue today- the other titles have either expired, or are unclaimed, dormant, or extinct.

There were many non-titled but closely related Butler lines that were prominent, and referred to by Lord Dunboyne in his extensive Butler genealogical research viz.
the Butlers of Neigham co. Kilkenny descended from Edmund illegitimate elder brother of Piers 8th Earl of Ormond (born pre marriage, to James Butler & Sabhn Kavanagh);
Butlers of Paulstown/Polestown co. Kilkenny also descended from Richard of Knocktopher 2nd son of 3rd Earl of Ormond.
Butlers of Callan co. Kilkenny descended from Pierce of Lismalin (as were the Viscounts Ikerrin/ Earls of Carrick), descendant of Edmund 6th Chief Butler;
Butlers of Boytonrath/Grallagh/Derrycloney/Garranlea/Grange, co.Tipperary, and Butlers of Co. Clare, all descendants of 9th and 10th Lords Dunboyne;
Butlers of Cloughgrennan/Ballintemple/Garryhundon, co.Carlow descended from Thomas (Baronet), illegitimate son of Edmond, second son of 9th Earl of Ormond;
Butlers of Grantstown/Kilmoyler/Bansha, co.Tipperary from Pierce, youngest son of 9th Earl of Ormond;
Butlers of Nodstown (Ardmayle) co. Tipperary, from Walter, fourth son of 9th Earl of Ormond;
Butler descendants of Thomas Prior of Kilmainham, base son of 3rd Earl of Ormond;
Butlers of Ballyraggett co. Kilkenny, descendants of Viscount Mountgarrett;
Butlers of Carlow and Butlers of Wexford, including the Kayer/Munphin branch (which will be discussed in detail later) descendants of Viscount Mountgarrett;
plus many other lines.

The Ormond line and these junior lines intermarried with each other, and with many other titled and gentry families in Ireland and England.

The Viscounts Mountgarrett held vast lands in Counties Wexford, Carlow, Queens, Nth Kilkenny and Nth Tipperary- the 1st Viscount (created in 1550) was appointed Governor of Wexford in 1538.
Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarrett, was the second son of Piers 8th Earl of Ormond, and brother to James 9th Earl of Ormond. Richard inherited the Castle of Ballyraggett in North Kilkenny from his mother, and owned 20,000 acres in northern Kilkenny.
The Mountgarrett Butlers lived in Ballyraggett Lodge, a “fine mansion”. The 1st Viscount Mountgarrett’s mother, Margaret Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormond, (daughter of the Earl of Kildare, and married to the 8th Earl of Ormond) favoured Ballyraggett Castle as her favourite residence. (Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1830). They also held considerable property in County Wexford.

The Barons of Dunboyne held lands in Counties Meath, Tipperary, and then Clare (after the plantation).

The Viscounts Ikerrin/Earls of Carrick held lands in County Kilkenny, in particular Lismalin, Callan and eventually at Mt. Juliet (Ballylinch Castle).

The Barons of Cahir were based in County Tipperary at their magnificent castle, Cahir Castle. (see story below)

Cahir Castle Tipperary

Untitled but related Butlers also held lands in the above counties as well as in Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Kildare, Cavan and Dublin, and counties in the province of Connaught (after the plantation). And of course, the Ormonds possessed vast areas of land, as discussed.

The origins of the Cahir Line:

The Cahir line descended from James “Galda”, illegitimate son of James 3rd Earl of Ormonde, and the following story about the origin of this line was written in 1722 and is a very entertaining tale. How much of it is true, and how much fiction is debateable. The story is thought to have originated at the time of about 1515 when Lord Cahir was in conflict with the legitimate lines of Butlers, the Earl of Ormond and Lord Dunboyne, over ownership of Cahir lands. Cahir finally accepted the overlordship of the Earl of Ormond. The story was probably composed to discredit the Cahir Butlers and to draw attention to their illegitimate origins. 
O'Lonigan wrote a transcript of an original in Brussels in 1650 by Cuogry O'Clery. The O'Lonigans were displaced from Cahir by the Butlers hence their interest in discrediting the Butlers. This story was probably copied from O'Lonigan's.
(MSS in Royal Irish Academy- W.f. Butler, J.R.S.A.I., Vol. LV 1925 pp.6-15)

When James 3rd Earl of Ormonde's wife died in 1399, he wanted to marry his niece, Katherine Fitzgerald, daughter of the Gerald FitzMaurice Fitzgerald 3rd Earl of Desmond and Eleanor Butler who was James' sister. James and Katherine applied to Rome for a dispensation, however, they never married. Gerald disappeared mysteriously in 1398, and legend has it that he drowned, and lives beneath the waters of Lough Gur near Kilmallock on which bank he appears once every seven years. His disappearance is relevant to the following tale.
James 'Galda' is the son of James and Katherine.

History of the Butlers written in 1722 by Shane O'Cahane

The story of James "Galda's" conception:

To return to James, earl of Gowran, and the fair Earl's father; he had the earl of Desmond's daughter (his own near-allied relative) to wife, overhead the Saxon Countess; and the manner in which he came to have her was as follows:

The girl at home had had laid to her charge over-familiarity with a close relation; in consequence of which she was seized with anger and resentful perturbation, and sought out the earl of Ormond, her kinsman, with whom now for a length of time she had been staying.  At Carrick subsequently some trifling ailment attacked the earl, and he retired to his 'sleeping-house': the countess and the earl of Desmond's daughter following him, and a great bevy of other ladies accompanying them both.

They had been for a long space with the earl when at last the countess got up and went away, taking with her a certain number of her women; but the earl of Desmond's daughter tarried within beside her kinsman, a very large company of the women abiding with her; and in this way they indulged in mirthful dialogue and noisy chatter of words as they discoursed together. Now it was the Saxon countess's suits of English apparel that were in the room, and one of these the earl of Desmond's daughter put on herself. When the women that were with her saw that, and perceived her to be in that suit, they fell to mockery and to jeering of her.The earl [who only heard their noise] said: "fie fie on it all!" and enquired of the women the cause of their jeering and manner of going on.The young woman from Desmond answered him and said: "at me it is that the women aim all this ridicule, because they see on me this foreign raiment. And now, my lord, if by virtue of these English duds indeed it be that Saxon women are made pretty and are smartened up, methinks that now at any rate I too am such.  For ye the earls of Ireland (as I opine) deem that in Ireland ye find not women to suit yourselves; whereas I hold that, in the way of a countess, I myself am better than you Gerldine hag whom thou hast". Upon hearing which, the earl burst into a pleasant good-humoured laugh. No long time after was it when the earl was whole again. He had treasured up the damsel's words, and in his own mind meditated to make his won of her whensoever that should be feasible; all this through evil appetite and in defiance of his own 'friendship' [consanquinity with her]. There came a time which found the maid off her guard, with but a very few women about her; and the earl when he caught her so made the most of his opportunity, in her despite took all his desire, and thereafter at his pleasure frequented her.

So soon as the Saxon countess perceived the thing, she was angered hugely and in sad dudgeon betook herslf to Waterford. At the time, she had had two children by the earl, a son and a daughter: Richard was the son's name, but what name the daughter bore we know not.

To revert to the earl of Desmond's daughter: throughout the regions in close proximity not to herself alone but to her father more especially, the fact was published openly. The story thus having reached the earl of Desmond it misliked him and, for that this deed was done, his bodily and mental senses both were all disordered; therefore of the best of his people he enquired what he should do in the matter. As with one man's voice all said that forthwith, and before the act should be recognised as his, it were just to accuse the earl of Ormond and to bring him to book.

So was it done, and the earl of Ormond's answer to those the earl of Desmond's missive was favourable. He said that in regard to that which he had done he would execute whatever should be the earl of Desmond's will; and between them a trysting day was set for Aylenamearogue over the bank of green-flowing Suir, and within brief space of time.

The two earls, as of Desmond and of Ormond, met in that appointed place, and there they were: one on either bank of the Suir. To the earl of Desmond he of Ormond sent word, telling him to cross over to that side of the Suir on which he was. Now Aylenamearogue is a little ways westwards from the abbey of Innishlounacht, and close on the Suir. The earl of Desmond with his folk proceeded to join the earl of Ormond; and he had ridden at a walk but so far as it needed to hit the ford, when his horse being come to it bent hsi head to drink water therefrom. But as he drank the bridle dropped out over his ears and got under his feet whereby the horse very violently was thrown and the earl fell into the ford. Then the impetuous current swept him away under the deep of the abyss and the river's turbulence, in which wise was drowned the earl of Desmond, who was John.

The Saxon countess's affairs are they, which now for another while we relate.

On the very day in which the earl of Desmond was drowned, that daughter of his had put down poison to make ready for her, and the time being come, this is how she managed: she took a bottle of choicest wine of Zante, and into it she dropped that poison.  Next: a domestic chaplain that she had, who was from Munster, to whom she was dear and who was in her confidence, him with the bottle she dismissed to Waterford to seek out the Saxon countess.  Also she procured the earl's signet, which as a token from him to the countess she gave to the priest, and told him (for fear lest otherwise she might not accept the wine from him) to exhibit the same to her.

The priest goes his way and being in the countess's presence, spoke according as he had been told:  he declared that he had a good wine of Zante which from Youghal newly was come to the earl, but which he was loath to drink without sending her a share of it.  The priest added that the earl thought her displeasure at him to have endured more than long enough, and that after a very short interval, he would come to fetch her. These words ended, he filled to the countess a measure of the wine and put it into her hand; she drank a draught of it and passed it on to her daughter, who took the same.  The boy-child, Richard, was sporting and frolicking through the house; he came to the priest and craved of him a drink of the wine.  The priest gave the child a box of his palm, said that for him it was not good to have any such wine, nor let a single drop go his way. Then the priest bade the countess farewell, and neither stayed nor tarried in the city, but struck out straight before him for the ferryboat.  No more than half way across the river had he won out, when he heard the city bells a-ringing.  He went on across the river, and again he halted on the landing shore until other folk from the city came by him at that spot.  He asked for news, and what it might be that caused that great bell-pealing that he heard.  "The Saxon countess and her daughter that, even now are dead."
When the priest had confirmation of those tidings he went on again, and stayed not unitl he got to Carrick, to his lady that was the earl of Desmond's daughter. From first to last he told her his tale: how that the countess and her daughter were dead; and she esteemed it right pleasant and joyful to hear those tidings to which she listened.

We now must revert for a little to the earl of Desmond, i.e., to the sequel of his death.  After his drowning in the Suir, the earl of Ormond in silence sought his own hold and fair town: the Carrick.  To all his people he issued a gathering-call and a summons, and proclaimed that under penalty of their lives, every man of them, deepest secrecy must for that night be kept as touching the earl of Desmond's death, nor (for that night especially must the same be suffered to reach his daughter). The earl now being come to the town, not long had he rested when the earl of Desmond's daughter came to look for him; she spoke to him and what she said was: "were I to have a fee for it, I would tell thee some news." "Thou shalt have it" quoth he.  "Well then," she went on, "the Saxon countess and her daughter are no more."  Upon the earl's hearing this, very great melancholy filled him and he said: "young woman, if I also tell thee some news, wilt thou give me another fee?"  She said: "thou shalt have it indeed."  "Well then," he answered, "to-day thy father the earl of Desmond, was drowned in the Suir." When she heard that, she made great outcry of grief and a weary weeping, so that her breast and bosom all were wet; and for long after that she was afflicted with heavy sickness and dejection of spirit.  Now this daughter of the earl of Desmond it was that to the earl of Ormond bore James gallda; of which James gallda's race are the Butlers of Cahir upon the Suir.  The earl put her from him, and afterwards Mac Thomas had her.

Links to all of the chapters in this blog:

Pierce Butler of Kayer Co. Wexford (the elder) c.1540-1599
Edward Butler of Kayer Co. Wexford, 1577-1628
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore (the younger), c.1600-1652, Part I
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part II- Pierce Butler's role in the 1642-49 Catholic Confederate Rebellion
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part III- Depositions against Pierce Butler of Kayer on his role in the 1642-49 Catholic Confederate Rebellion
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part IV- Land Ownership by the Butlers in County Wexford
Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore Part V- Pierce Butler and the Cromwellian Confiscations of 1652-56
Sons of Pierce Butler of Kayer and Moneyhore- Edward, James, John, & Walter
Walter Butler of Munphin, Co. Wexford, c.1640-1717, Part I
Walter Butler of Munphin, Part II
Walter Butler of Munphin, Part III
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part I- exile to France in 1690
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part II- Military record
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part III- Marriage to Mary Long
Walter Butler Junior of Munphin (1674-1725) Part IV- Last years
Younger sons of Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett: John Butler of New Ross, Thomas Butler of Castlecomer, James and Theobald Butler:
James Butler of Dowganstown and Tullow Co Carlow- 2nd son of Pierce Butler of Kayer (the elder):

Pedigree of Butlers of Ireland, and Ancestry of Butlers of Ireland, and County Wexford:

The MacRichard Line- Ancestors of the Butlers of Wexford

© B.A. Butler

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[i] Art Kavanagh, The Landed Gentry and Aristocracy in Kilkenny, Volume 1, Pub: Irish Family Names Dublin, 2004, page vi Preface
[iii]  Eight Report of the Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Volume 9 (1000-1800) p.586- Trinity College Dublin; II History of the House of Ormond, by William Roberts, Ulster King-at Arms, 1648 (MEMSO website)
[iv] Refer to Theobald Blake Butler and Lord Dunboyne’s research on the Butler origins.
[v] William Nolan, Kevin Whelan (Eds), Kilkenny: History & Society, Pub Geography Publications 1990- Ch 4: County Kilkenny in the Anglo Norman Period by C.A.Empey p88
[vi] David Edward, The Ormond Lordship in County Kilkenny 1515-1642, Pub Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2003, pp14-15 & 102