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James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond

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Name  James 9th

Role  9th Earl of Ormond
James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond
Died  October 28, 1546, London, United Kingdom
Spouse  Joan Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormond (m. 1532–1546)
Parents  Margaret FitzGerald, Countess of Ormond
Grandparents  Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare
Great-grandparents  Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Kildare
People also search for  Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond

James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond and 2nd Earl of Ossory (1496 – 28 October 1546), known as The Lame, was the son of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond and Margaret Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormond. He was created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles, and was confirmed by Act of Parliament, 6 November 1541, in the Earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl with the pre-eminence of the original earls. His death by poisoning in London remains an unsolved mystery.


Marriage and Children

About 1520 James joined the household of Cardinal Wolsey, who praised him as a young gentleman "both wise and discreet". In early 1522, it was proposed by King Henry VIII that he marry his cousin Anne Boleyn, who was the great-granddaughter of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond. This was to resolve a dispute her father Thomas Boleyn had with James' father Piers over the Ormond inheritance and title: Wolsey himself supported the proposal. The marriage negotiation, came to a halt for unknown reasons. He subsequently married Lady Joan Fitzgerald some time before 21 December 1532. Lady Joan was the daughter and heiress of the other great Munster landholder, the 10th Earl of Desmond and his wife Amy O'Brien.

James and Joan had seven sons:

  • Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond, known as Black Tom (c 1532 – 22 November 1614)
  • Sir Edmund Butler of Cloughgrenan (1534–1602)
  • John Butler of Kilcash (before 1546 – 10 May 1570) who married Katherine MacCartie, with issue.
  • Hon. Edward Butler of Ballinahinch, married Mary Bourke who was the daughter of Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde and Frances Walsingham. They had a son, James Butler.
  • Walter Butler of Nodstown
  • James Butler of Duiske
  • Piers Butler of Grantstown
  • Career

    During the early 1540s he gradually restored the Butler dynasty to their former position of influence, leading to antagonism from the quarrelsome Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Anthony St Leger. St Leger gave Ormonde command of the Irish forces in the Anglo-Scottish War of 1544. On the face of it this was an honour, but allies of Ormond accused St Leger of deliberately sending Ormond into danger. Ormond himself demanded an inquiry into claims that St Leger had planned his murder, and the matter was thought to merit a Privy Council investigation; the Council found in favour of St Leger and he and Ormond were ordered to work together amicably. Key Government allies of Ormond like John Alan and Walter Cowley were removed from office, and Ormond was struggling to maintain his standing when he was poisoned.


    On 17 October 1546, James had gone to London with many of his household. They were invited to dine at Ely Palace in Holborn. He was poisoned along with his steward, James Whyte, and 16 of his household. He died nine days later, on 28 October, leaving Joan a widow in her thirties.

    It is surprising, in view of Ormond's high social standing, that no proper investigation into his death was carried out. Who was behind the poisoning remains a mystery. His host at the dinner, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, though he could be notably ruthless, seems to have had no motive for the crime, as he is not known to have had any quarrel with Ormond. A recent historian remarks that it would be an extraordinary coincidence if St Leger had no part in the sudden and convenient removal of his main Irish opponent.


    James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond Wikipedia

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