James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond

James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond (October 17, 1304  January 6, 1338) was a noble in the Peerage of Ireland. He was born in Arklow, Wicklow, Ireland and died in Gowran, Kilkenny, Ireland.


James Butler was the son of Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick, (1268  13 September 1321), Justiciar of Ireland and Joan FitzGerald, Countess of Carrick. His paternal grandparents were Theobald le Botiller (1242–1285), (the son of Theobald le Botiller and Margery de Burgh) and Joan FitzJohn (FitzGeffrey) (d. 4 April 1303), who was the daughter of John FitzGeoffrey, Lord of Shere, Justiciar of Ireland and Isabel Bigod.[1] His maternal grandfather was John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare.


Upon his father's death in 1321, the only hereditary title James succeeded to was that of Chief Butler Of Ireland. As the 7th Chief Butler, he inherited the title from his ancestor Theobald Fitzwalter, or Theobald Butler, whose successors adopted the surname Butler.[2] The hereditary office of butler of Ireland was one of particular fealty to the Crown, whereby Theobald and his successors were to attend the Kings of England at their coronation.[3] A gap of seven years followed before James was rewarded for his especial loyalty with an earldom in his own right. His benefactor, the young King Edward III, created him the first Earl of Ormond by patent dated 2 November 1328, at Salisbury—the king was holding a Parliament there—with the creation fee of £10 a year.[4] Seven days later by patent dated at Wallingford, in consideration of his services and the better to enable him to support the honour, the king gave James the regalities, liberties, knights fees, and other royal privileges of the county of Tipperary, and the rights of a palatine in that county for life.

At about the same time, September 1328, the king created Roger Mortimer the 1st Earl of March, who would soon arouse the anger of those most loyal to the Crown.[5]

In 1336 James founded the friary of Carrick-Begg (a townland on the River Suir opposite Carrick-on-Suir) for Franciscan Friars. On 3 June of that year he gave the friars his castle and estate of Carrick, which they occupied on the feast day of SS. Peter and Paul.

Marriage and children

In 1327 James was offered a marriage arrangement that would give him the castle and manor of Kilpec, Hereford, for life. He married Eleanor de Bohun (1304–1363), daughter of The 4th Earl of Hereford and The Lady Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward I of England; they had 6 children together, four of which survived infancy:

  • Anne Butler (1328–1329)
  • Eleanor Butler (?)
  • John Butler (born and died an infant in 1330)
  • Elizabeth Butler (1330–1392), married (after July 20, 1359), Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Desmond, son of Maurice FitzThomas, Earl of Desmond and Aveline FitzMorice, and had issue.
  • James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond (October 4, 1331  October 18, 1382), married Elizabeth Darcy, daughter of Sir John Darcy, Lord Justice of Ireland, and Joan de Burgh, and had issue. He was born at Kilkenny and given in ward on 1 September 1344his father, James Butler, had died in 1338to Maurice, Earl of Desmond, for the fine of 2306 marks; and afterward to Sir John Darcy who married him to his daughter Elizabeth. James Butler the son was called the Noble Earl on account of his descent from the Royal Family through his mother.[6]
  • Petronella Butler (1332  April 23, 1368), married Gilbert Talbot, 3rd Baron Talbot, son of Richard Talbot, 2nd Baron Talbot and Elizabeth de Comyn, and had issue.

James' successors held the title Earl of Ormond, which was later merged with the higher title of Duke of Ormonde; they held palatine rights in County Tipperary[5] until the County Palatine of Tipperary Act 1715.

See also


  1. H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Shere". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 7 November 2013.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Butlers+of+Ormond
  3. Otway-Ruthven, A. J. A History of Medieval Ireland New York: Barnes & Noble 1993 ISBN 1-56619-216-1 p. 67
  4. Lodge, John The Peerage of Ireland or, A Genealogical History Of The Present Nobility Of That Kingdom, 1789, Vol IV, p 7.
  5. Mountmorres of Castlemorres, Hervey Redmond Morres; Robert Southwell (1792). The History of the Principal Transactions of the Irish Parliament, from ... 1634 to 1666: Containing Proceedings of the Lords and Commons During the Administration of the Earl of Strafford, and of the First Duke of Ormond. New York Public Library: T. Cadell. p. 194.
  6. Lodge, John The Peerage of Ireland or, A Genealogical History Of The Present Nobility Of That Kingdom, 1789, Vol IV, p 8.

Further reading

  • Burke, Messrs., John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with Their Descendants &c., London, vol.2, 1851, pedigree ccvii.
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Ormond
Succeeded by
James Butler
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