According to Wexford historian and author Hilary Murphy in his book "Families of Co Wexford" (pub. Wexford 1986), Butlers did not settle to any great extent in County Wexford, and most Wexford Butlers were descendants of the Mountgarrett line, an offshoot of the Ormond line. This may be true of many of the Catholic Butlers living in Wexford in the latter centuries, although there was a pocket of Protestant Butlers living in the area of Gorey who were descendants of the Cloghgrennan branch in County Carlow. This blog will explore the Wexford descendants of Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett who first settled in Wexford in the mid 16th century.
A letter to Cromwell in 1538 recounted the "cruell murdring of the Erle of Ormond's second son Thomas Butler." (see chronology below for full statement.) This event was witnessed by Thomas's brothers James and Richard, and James was also assaulted and "given dethly wounds by their own handes".
Unfounded rumours that became part of family lore claimed that Richard may have been the result of an affair between his mother Margaret Fitzgerald and Henry VII. It was noted that Margaret made every effort to advance her son Richard, but given her strength of character this was not unusual. The late 17th Viscount Mountgarrett (d. 2004) continued to claim descent from Henry VII. However, there is no relevant documentation in the public domain to support this claim.
Richard then was chosen in the entourage that went to Spain later that year to sign a marriage treaty and escort Prince Philip of Spain to England for his marriage to Queen Mary, and he and his nephew Ormond were rewarded with gifts on Philip's arrival.
The following entry is from “The Peerage of Ireland”, 1798, on the Mountgarrett Viscountcy:
(NB Fassaghbentry- refers to an area in the Barony of Bantry in Co. Wexford; Le-Moroes (MacMurrough-Kavanagh) country refers to the Barony of Scarawalsh, near the Blackstairs Mountains in Co. Wexford)
Viscount Mountgarrett's coat of arms is the same as the Ormonde arms with the addition of a crescent to denote the difference as the second son. They are displayed on the side of Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett's tomb in St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny.
On 12 March 1538, Piers Earl of Ormond and Ossory wrote to Sir Anthony St Leger from Fethard (Tipperary)
... There is nothing so needful now to be attempted, as the enterprising of how to diminish the McMorrowes and Kavanaghs; for they have lately so surely bound together, as they, that have been many years in mortal hate together, taketh now one part, and with one assent concluded to stick in one quarrel against the Englishry of this land. And forasmuch as my son Richard is now the King's Constable in Ferns, which standeth so in the midst of them, being so long time in their possession, as it occasioneth, together with their challenges for tributes of the King's County of Wexford, them to make tines combinations. And this I will affirm, that were it not that I am full glad my said son do so stand in place propise for to execute high service to the King's Highness, though it be dangerous, I would not, for a great profit to him, suffer him as yet to enterprise to inhabit there; for so long as the Kavanaghs are of any power, it shall be right necessary to my said son to be well manned and appointed; though, how be it, I have sum deal provided other possessions for him nigh that parties, to the entente he shall be the better able to do good service in Ferns. And therefore, in my mind, it is the highest enterprise to be attempted in this land to destroy the Kavanaghs; and likest to take effect, my Lord Deputy setting well to it, with the Englishry, Mr Sentloo, with the county of Wexford; and I, with my power, on the other part, no doubting so to work in it, as they shall be of little power, God willing. And considering the King's Highness hath no great army here, to inhabit, or yet much to invade, therefore there cannot be a more liker thing to enterprise for us all, then the same. etc
Your assured Frende,
P. Ormond & Oss.
Written at Fytherd, the 12th daie of March
(SP 650/6 f.62)
26 Nov 1536: Final accord John Sherlock with Pierce Earl of Ossory with remainder to his son and heir James then to Richard son of said Pierce (OD Vol 4 p169-170)
29 April 1537: That the Earl of Ossory and his son James… sensibly that they meddle not with the King’s lands of Fassagh Bentrey and Olde Rosse which Richard Butler now holdeth (Letters and Papers p436)
22 August 1538: Brabazon, Aylmer and J. Alen to Crumwell: Sir Piers Butler, Knight, Erle of Ormond and Ossory and the Lord James Butler his son and heir, High Treasurer of the same Lands- Item: The late Omory's sonnes, Kedagh Roo Rury, and Gilpatrick, being principals bothe of "cruell murdring of the said Erle of Ormond's second son Thomas Butler and afterward of the malicious assaulting and giving by their own hands of deathly wounds to his son and heir Lord Butler in the same rebellyon tyme, etc." ( Henry VIII- State Papers Part III, Doc. 60/7, f.83, p77: Correspondence between the Governments of England and Ireland, CCXLIX)
28 Aug 1538: “A book against the Earl of Ormond and his sons “ Complaints of the Lord Duputy that Richard Butler was dilatory in his service (L & P p74)
1546- Acts of the Privy Council of England- Letter to the Lord Deputy of Ireland on the behalf of Sir Richard Butler "for somme preferment of commoditie by the minoritie of the erle of Ormond or otherwise as shall seme convenient". (Henry VIII  Add. Mss 5476 f.315 p.562: Acts of the Privy Council of England, Vol. I: 1542-47; also Henry VIII Vol. 21 Part II: 1546 Entry No. 654, p.350, Date 2 January 1546- Letters and Papers Foreign & Domestic)
Following the death of Richard’s brother James 9th Earl of Ormond in 1546 from food poisoning at a banquet in Holburn London, Richard became the defacto head of the Butlers during the minority of his brother’s heir young Thomas 10th Earl of Ormond who grew up at the court as the ward of King Henry VIII and as companion of Henry’s heir, the young Edward VI. Following the death of Edward in 1553, there was much dissension at the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary. Richard, as a Catholic appears to have found much favour in Mary’s Court. He played a prominent role in the quashing of the Wyatt Rebellion, an attempt to replace Mary with her young Protestant sister Elizabeth.
Feb 1554: The Calendar of State Papers Spain (Volume 12 Feb 1554 [pub.1949], p.86), reported:
24 April 1555: Order passed by the Seneschal Mountgarret and others, of the Liberty of tipperary, in favour of the clergy of Cashel. (SP62/1 f. 19 p.133
1558: At the commencement of the reign of Queen Elizabeth we find the Viscount Mountgarrett applying to have “O’Morrowes lands in fee farm,” and to have some title of dignity, which will eclipse that of McMorrowe (Kavanagh), King of Leinster. He promises to build Castles etc.
10 April 1562: Earls of Clanrycard and Thomond to the Queen: in favour of the Viscount Mountgarrett's suit for the renewal to him, of certain farms and possessions which he now holds. (SP 63/5 f.203 p.190)
10 May 1567: order passed by Seneschal Mountgarret, David Rothe, justice and officers of the liberty of Tipperary, that the sheriff and under-sheriff of the said liberty shall put the order into execution. Reference is made to a document dated 24 April 1555 at Clonmel and another dated 12 July 1541 Dublin. Order for the cathedral church of St Patrick, Cashel: the prelates and clergy of the cathedral church of St Patrick's in Cashel shall enjoy the full benefit of this order
My Lord Mountgarret, my old uncle, lies at the mercy of God without hope of recover, and so does his son and heir, which with the restraint of my brother's liberty leaves me weakly assisted. Asks Burghley to be a good lord to them. (Cal SPI Vol 1 p.450; SP 63/32, f.171, no 58)
6 November 1598- Henry Power to the Earl of Essex (Robert Devereux)
This country has become a perfect representation of a ruined state. The going out of the Lord of Mongarrett (viz. 2nd Viscount) has much shaken it, and altogether ruined this province of Leinster. Those few that are subjects stay in order for the love they bear to my Lord Lieutenant, of which number he reposeth small trust in any. The rebels are grown so mighty that they make full account of a conquest and to drive the English out of the land. They have gathered all the cattle and wealth into their hands by means whereof they have not only drawn all the rascals after them, but also found means to gain the principallest both of English birth and otherwise into their faction, who ever heretofore made great shows of loyalty. etc. (Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Hon. the Marquis of Salisbury; Elizabeth I, Entry No. , p.428)
On 8 October 1532, Ellen's father Theobald Butler wrote to the then Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond (Thomas Boleyn) :
Begs him to send his son James Butler to Ireland. Is sore punished by the earl of Ossory (Piers later 8th Earl of Ormond), so that he has lost his goods and is in "pinfold" in his castle of the Nezam and dare not come abroad. His kinsmen would fain have him out of the country but he trusts his Grace will redress everything. "My lord and his lady desired of me to make a 'tayll' and to put them and their heirs male before me and before my heirs male, and if I had done so they would give me my will and pleasure and I did forsake them of the same utterly." His cousin James (Piers' son and heir) is utterly against him and by his means the earl of Ossory has deprived him of four towns, leaving him only two villages and the twon he dwells in and he supposes the earl and James will have them soon. James says that he took of your Grace the Carryk by the water of the Showyr for a term of years at 10 marks the year and thinks to make it his own; asks Ormond to let him have it and he will pay 12."
(Letters and Papers Henry VIII Vol. 1, pt.1 ADDENDA, Vol. 22.1 (1509-1537), page 274/5 No. 793)
The above letter shows the toxic relationship between Piers Earl of Ossory and his son James towards Piers' nephew Theobald of Neigham, and their fear that they would lose their right to regain the Ormond Earldom if and when the Boleyns fell out of favour with Henry. This may have been the incentive for the marriage between Lord Mountgarrett and Theobald Butler's daughter Eleanor- a peace offering. The fact that second son Pierce married in 1563 would suggest that he was born in the late 1530's- early 1540's, which thereby contradicts the suggestion this marriage was Mountgarrett's first.
2. Catherine daughter and heir of Peter Barnewall of Stackallen Co Meath (Lodge Vol 2 p256)
Carew 635 calls her the sister of James Earl of Desmond. This is James the 13th Earl (see GEC).
This blog concentrates on Richard 1st Viscount Mountgarrett's second son Pierce and his descendants in County Wexford:
THE PEERAGE OF IRELAND
by John Lodge & Mervyn Archdall 1789 (Vol. IV p27):
Richard’s Wexford estate of Kayer in Barony of Bantry, Co Wexford
Historian Herbert Hore (History of the Town and County of Wexford, Philip Hore edit., pub. 1901-1911, Volume 6, p.560-561) wrote:
DESCENDANT TREE of PIERS 8TH EARL OF ORMOND,
showing relationships of Mountgarrett line with various other Butler lines
butler1802 @hotmail.com (no spaces)
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 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