Alban Butler (13 October 1710 –15 May 1773) was an English Roman Catholic priest and hagiographer.
A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader. The term hagiography may be used to refer to the biography of a saint or highly developed spiritual being in any of the world's spiritual traditions.
Alban Butler was born in 1710, at Appletree, Aston le Walls, Northamptonshire, the second son of Simon Butler, Esq.Orphaned at the age of eight, he was sent to be educated at the English College, Douai, in France. In 1735 Butler was ordained a priest. At Douai, he was appointed professor of philosophy, and later professor of theology. It was at Douai that he began his principal work The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints. He also prepared material for Richard Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, a work on the martyrs of the reign of Elizabeth.
Aston le Walls is a village and civil parish in South Northamptonshire, England, close by the border with Oxfordshire. The village is about 9 miles (14.5 km) north of Banbury in Oxfordshire, and 10 miles (16.1 km) south of Daventry. Neighbouring villages are Chipping Warden, Lower Boddington Upper Boddington and Byfield. According to the 2001 census the village had a population 0f 334 falling to 293 at the 2011 census.
Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".
The English College, was a Catholic seminary in Douai, now in France, associated with the University of Douai. It was established in about 1561, and was suppressed in 1793. It is known for a Bible translation referred to as the Douay–Rheims Bible. Of over 300 priests from Douai sent on the English mission, about one-third were executed. The dissolution of the college at the tie of the French Revolution led to the founding of Crook Hall and St Edmund's College, Ware. It is popularly believed that the indemnification funds paid by the French for the seizure of Douai's property were diverted by the British commissioners to complete the furnishings of George IV's Royal Pavilion at Brighton.
In 1745, Butler came to the attention of the Duke of Cumberland, younger son of King George II, for his devotion to the wounded English soldiers during the defeat at the Battle of Fontenoy.
Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland,, was the third and youngest son of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland and his wife, Caroline of Ansbach. He was Duke of Cumberland from 1726. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which made him immensely popular throughout Britain. He is often referred to by the nickname given to him by his Tory opponents: 'Butcher' Cumberland. Despite his triumph at Culloden, he had a largely unsuccessful military career. Between 1748 and 1755 he attempted to enact a series of army reforms that were resisted by the opposition and by the army itself. Following the Convention of Klosterzeven in 1757, he never again held active military command and switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.
The Battle of Fontenoy, 11 May 1745, was a major engagement of the War of the Austrian Succession, fought between the forces of the Pragmatic Allies – comprising mainly Dutch, British, and Hanoverian troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland – and a French army under Maurice de Saxe, commander of King Louis XV's forces in the Low Countries. The battle was one of the most important in the war and considered the masterpiece of Saxe, serving France; Louis XV, and his son, the Dauphin, were present at the battle.
Around 1746, Butler served as tutor and guide on the Grand Tour to James and Thomas Talbot, nephews of Gilbert Talbot, 13th Earl of Shrewsbury. Their elder brother, George, succeeded their uncle as 14th Earl of Shrewsbury. Both James and Thomas Talbot later became Catholic bishops.
The term "Grand Tour" refers to the 17th- and 18th-century custom of a traditional trip of Europe undertaken by upper-class young European men of sufficient means and rank when they had come of age. Young women of equally sufficient means ("debutantes"), or those of either gender of a more humble origin who could find a sponsor, could also partake. The custom—which flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transport in the 1840s and was associated with a standard itinerary—served as an educational rite of passage. Though the Grand Tour was primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of other Protestant Northern European nations, and, from the second half of the 18th century, by some South and North Americans. By the mid 18th century, the Grand Tour had become a regular feature of aristocratic education in Central Europe, as well, although it was restricted to the higher nobility. The tradition declined as enthusiasm for neo-classical culture waned, and with the advent of accessible rail and steamship travel—an era in which Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" of early mass tourism a byword.
James Robert Talbot (1726–1790) was the last English Roman Catholic priest to be indicted in the public courts for saying Mass.
Thomas Joseph Talbot was an English Roman Catholic bishop who served as the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District from 1778 to until his death in 1795.
He laboured for some time as a missionary priest in Staffordshire, and was finally appointed president of the English seminary at Saint Omer in France, where he remained until his death.
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west.
The Colleges of St Omer, Bruges and Liège were successive expatriate institutions for the Catholic education of English students and were run by the Jesuits.
Butler returned to England in 1749 and was made chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk, whose nephew and heir, the Hon. Edward Howard, Butler accompanied to Paris as tutor. While he was in Paris, Butler completed his Lives. During his term as President of the English seminary, Butler also served the bishops of Arras, Saint-Omer, Ypres, and Boulogne-Sur-Mer as their Vicar-General. Butler died in Saint-Omer in 1773 and was buried in the parish church of Saint-Denis.
Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal was a British peer and politician.
See An Account of the Life of A. B. by C. B., i.e. by his nephew Charles Butler (London, 1799); and Joseph Gillow's Bibliographical Dictionary of English Catholics, vol. i.
Butler's great work, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints ("Butler's Lives"), the result of thirty years' study, was first published in four volumes in London, 1756–1759. It is a popular and compendious reproduction of the Acta Sanctorum , exhibiting great industry and research, and is in all respects the best compendium of Acta in English.Butler's magnum opus has passed many editions and translations.
This edition was printed initially in 4 octavo volumes, with no stated publisher or author's name. However they were so thick that they were usually bound in more volumes. There were actually 6 title pages since Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 both have a "part II" issued thus: vol. I, vol. II, vol. III, vol. III part II, vol. IV, and vol. IV part II. Each "volume" contained three months of the liturgical calendar's Saints' lives. Vol. I also had a copperplate engraving with figures of the Roman devices of torture used, and a 2-page explanation of their use.
Charles Butler's assertion that "all the notes" were left out of the first edition at the suggestion of Bishop Challoner is exaggerated. There are many useful, and even extended, notes in the first edition, but not to the extent that they appear in the second, and succeeding editions. According to Charles Knight, the 1847 edition published in twelve volumes is considered the best and most complete.
Since Fr. Butler published his original edition of his Lives, many successors have revised and updated the work. Father Herbert Thurston, SJ, edited and significantly rewrote the work; his 12-volume "Revised Edition" was published between 1926 and 1938.
The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church. The New Testament portion was published in Reims, France, in 1582, in one volume with extensive commentary and notes. The Old Testament portion was published in two volumes twenty-seven years later in 1609 and 1610 by the University of Douai. The first volume, covering Genesis through Job, was published in 1609; the second, covering Psalms to 2 Machabees plus the apocrypha of the Vulgate was published in 1610. Marginal notes took up the bulk of the volumes and had a strong polemical and patristic character. They offered insights on issues of translation, and on the Hebrew and Greek source texts of the Vulgate.
Blessed Edward Osbaldeston was an English martyr, born about 1560. Не was hanged, drawn and quartered at York, 16 November 1594.
Charles Butler KC was an English Roman Catholic lawyer and miscellaneous writer.
Richard Challoner (1691–1781) was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. The titular Bishop of Doberus, he is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay–Rheims translation of the Bible.
Ambrose Edward Barlow, O.S.B., was an English Benedictine monk who is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He is one of a group of saints canonized by Pope Paul VI who became known as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Blessed Thomas Thwing (1635–1680) was an English Roman Catholic priest and martyr, executed for his supposed part in the Barnbow Plot, an offshoot of the fabricated Popish Plot invented by Titus Oates. His feast day is October 23.
Seminary priests were Roman Catholic priests who were trained in English seminaries or houses of study on the European continent after the introduction of laws forbidding Roman Catholicism in Britain. Such Seminaries included that at Douay, from 1568, and others at Rome from 1579, Valladolid from 1589, Seville from 1592, St Omer from 1593, and Lisbon from 1628. The English College at Douai was transferred to Rheims during the years 1578–1593.
Saint Alban Roe was an English Benedictine priest, remembered as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
The Blessed Arthur Bell was an English Franciscan martyr. He was found guilty of being a Roman Catholic priest by a court sitting under the auspices of Parliament during the English Civil War. He was executed at Tyburn in London.
Elias and four companions, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Samuel were Egyptian martyrs. Their feast day is February 16.
Acepsimas of Hnaita was a bishop, martyr and saint.
Blessed John Bodey was an English Roman Catholic academic jurist and lay theologian. He was martyred in 1583, and beatified in 1929.
Saint Antoninus of Pamiers was an early Christian missionary and martyr, called the "Apostle of the Rouergue". His life is dated to the first, second, fourth, and fifth century by various sources, since he often confused with various other venerated Antonini. Today he is revered as the patron saint of Pamiers, Palencia, and Medina del Campo. His historicity and exact identity are in doubt.
Saint Theodoret or Saint Theodoritus was a Greek-speaking Syrian Christian priest who died a martyr in Antioch during the reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate. His life is recorded only by apologetic works. His relics were later taken to Uzès in the south of France and placed in the cathedral, which is dedicated to him.
Nicholas Woodfen born Nicholas Wheeler, also known as Nicholas Devereux, was an English Roman Catholic priest who was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, London on 21 January 1586. He is considered a Catholic martyr and one of the Eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales who were executed between 1584 and 1679. He was beatified on 22 November 1987 by Pope John Paul II.
Edward Thwing was an English Catholic priest and martyr.
Elias of Palestine was an early Christian martyr. A priest, Elias was one of four Christians who led Mass for the persecuted Christians condemned to work in the Palestinian quarries in the wake of the Diocletianic Persecution. When the Roman emperor Galerius learned of this, he had Elias burned alive along with the other leaders, and the Christians dispersed to mines in Cyprus and Lebanon. He is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church.