Butler, Walter (1569-1633) (DNB00)

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BUTLER, WALTER, of Kilcash, eleventh Earl of Ormonde (1569–1633), was the eldest son of Sir John Butler, the younger brother of Thomas, tenth earl of Ormonde and Ossory [q. v.]. He was but half a year old at his father's death, after which he lived under the guardianship of his uncle. In 1599 he led a portion of the army commanded by the latter, and defeated Redmond Bourke at Ormond with the loss of 200 men, and on another occasion drove him out of the castle of Drehednefarney. In the former of these actions he behaved with great gallantry, and was wounded by a pike in the knee. When, a year later, Owen Grane and the O'Mores entered Kilkenny, and burnt his uncle's house at Bowlike, Walter Butler again fell upon the enemy, killing sixty of them, with two of their leaders, and recovering a large part of the booty. Upon the death of Earl Thomas, in 1614, without legitimate male issue, he succeeded to the earldom of Ormonde and Ossory. His title to the estates, however, was contested by Sir R. Preston, afterwards the Earl of Desmond, who had married the sole daughter of Earl Thomas, and who, under the favour and with the active interference of James I, laid claim to a large portion in right of his wife. After much time and money had been spent in litigation, James made an award which Earl Walter refused to submit to. He was thereupon, in 1617, committed to the Fleet prison by James, where he remained for eight years in great want, no rents reaching him from his estate. James meanwhile brought a writ of quo warranto against him for the county palatine of Tipperary, which had been vested in the head of the family for nearly four hundred years, and which could not therefore under any circumstances have belonged to his cousin Elizabeth, the wife of Preston; no answer was made to the writ, if indeed an opportunity was afforded for answer, and James took the county palatine into his own hands. It was not restored until 1663, when Charles II returned it to the Duke of Ormonde with enlarged privileges. Earl Walter, however, was set at liberty in 1625, and a large part of his estates restored to him. For some while he lived in a house in Drury Lane, with his grandson James, afterwards Duke of Ormonde, but shortly retired to Ireland. In 1629, on the projected marriage of his grandson and Elizabeth Preston Charles I granted her marriage and the wardship of her lands to him by letters patent dated 8 Sept. After the marriage he was recognised, 9 Oct. 1630, as heir to the lands of Earl Thomas as well as of Sir John Butler his father. He died at Carrick on 24 Feb. 1632–3, and was buried at Kilkenny 18 June 1633.

By his marriage with Ellen Butler, daughter of Edmund, second Viscount Mountgarret, he had three sons (Thomas, Lord Thurles, the father of James Butler, first duke of Ormonde [q. v.], James and John, who died young, without issue) and nine daughters.

[Carte's Introduction to his Life of Ormonde, and a few notices in the Reports of the Hist. MSS. Com.]

O. A.