Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran

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Charles Butler
Earl of Arran (Ireland)
Detail from portrait below
Born4 September 1671
Died17 December 1758
Family Butler dynasty
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Crew
Father Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory
Mother Emilia von Nassau

Lieutenant-General Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran (of the second creation), de jure 3rd Duke of Ormonde (1671–1758) was an Anglo-Irish peer. His uncle Richard was the 1st Earl of Arran of the first creation. The titles were re-created for Charles in 1693. His elder brother, the 2nd Duke of Ormonde, was attainted during the Jacobite rising of 1715, but in 1721 Arran was allowed to buy the estate back. At the death of the 2nd Duke, he succeeded as de jure 3rd Duke of Ormonde in the Irish peerage but did not claim the title.


Birth and origin

Charles was born on 4 September 1671. [1] He was the youngest son of Thomas Butler and his wife Emilia. His father was known as Lord Ossory and was heir apparent of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond but predeceased him and so never became duke. His father's family, the Butler dynasty, was Old English and descended from Theobald Walter, who had been appointed Chief Butler of Ireland by King Henry II in 1177. [2]

Charles's mother was Dutch. Her family was a cadet branch of the House of Nassau. Both parents were Protestant. They had married on 17 November 1659 N.S. [3]

Family tree
Charles Butler with wife, parents, and other selected relatives. [lower-alpha 1]

d. 1619

1st Duke


Richard B.
of Kilcash
6th Earl


1st Earl

Walter B.
of Garryricken
d. 1700
2nd Duke

1st Earl


d. 1756

d. 1760
Thomas B.
of Garryricken
d. 1738

d. 1750
de jure
15th Earl

d. 1766
XXXSubject of
the article
XXX Earls & dukes of
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris)

He was one of eleven siblings, [5] but not all seem to be known by name. Lists of his brothers and sisters can be found in his father's article.

Early life

Arms of Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran Arms of Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran.svg
Arms of Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran

Charles's father died in 1680 [6] when he was eight years old. In 1688 his grandfather, Lord Ormond, died. [7] Charles's elder brother succeeded as 2nd Duke of Ormond. In 1693, Charles Butler was ennobled as Baron of Cloughgrenan, Viscount of Tullogh and Earl of Arran (of the second creation) in the Peerage of Ireland. [8] Lord Arran, as he was now, was in the following year also made an English peer by creating him Baron Butler of Weston in County Huntingdon, in the Peerage of England. [9]

Military career

Arran pursued a career in the Irish army. In 1697 he was appointed Colonel of the 6th Horse (later 5th Dragoon Guards), a post he held until 1703. [10] In 1699 his brother James resigned his place in the bed chamber, [11] which was given to Arran, who thus became Lord of the Bedchamber to King William III, which office he retained until the King's death in 1702. [12] On 24 January 1702 he was promoted Brigadier General. [13] In 1703 Arran was appointed Colonel of the 3rd Troop of Horse Guards, a post he held until 1715. [14] On 1 January 1704 he was promoted Major General. [15]


On 3 June 1705 he married Elizabeth Crew, daughter of Thomas Crew, 2nd Baron Crew by his second wife, Anne Airmine, daughter of Sir William Airmine, 2nd Baronet, in Oatlands near Weybridge in Surrey. [16] The marriage was to stay childless. [17]

Elizabeth, Countess of Arran, by C. F. Zincke Elizabeth Butler, by Christian Friedrich Zincke.jpg
Elizabeth, Countess of Arran, by C. F. Zincke
Portrait by James Thornhill 1stEarlOfArran.jpg
Portrait by James Thornhill

Further promotions

On 22 April 1708 he was promoted Lieutenant-General, his final rank in the Army. [18] From November 1712 to 1714 he was Master-General of the Ordnance in Ireland. [19]

Brother's attainder

His eldest brother, the 2nd duke of Ormond, got involved in the Jacobite rising of 1715. He was impeached for high treason by Lord Stanhope on 21 June 1715. [20] He was attainted, whereupon all his honours were assumed to have been forfeit. [21] In 1721 Arran was allowed by act of the English Parliament to buy back the family estates that had been forfeited under his brother's attainder. [22]

Arran participated in the Atterbury Plot of the early 1720s. [23] and should have been the commander of all Jacobite forces in England and Ireland. [24] But the plot was betrayed and the rising never took place. On 2 January 1722, the Old Pretender (Jacobite "King James III") created Charles Duke of Arran in the Jacobite Peerage of England. [25]

On 16 November 1745 N.S., his brother died in Avignon. It was later ruled that the attainder, enacted by the Parliament of Great Britain, applied to his British titles (i.e. those in the Peerages of England and Scotland) but not to his Irish titles. Lord Arran therefore de jure succeeded on his brother's death on 5 November 1745 as 3rd Duke of Ormonde in the Peerage of Ireland, but was not aware of this succession and never assumed the title. [26]

The attainders of the Barony of Butler (of Moore Park) and the Lordship of Dingwall would be reversed in 1871. It, therefore, matters how the claims to these titles were transmitted. Both these titles had the particularity of being able to pass through the female line. In 1745 the claim to these titles, therefore, passed to Elizabeth Butler, his brother's only surviving child, who would therefore have been Baroness Dingwall and Baroness Butler in her own right (suo jure). Elizabeth died unmarried in 1750 and the claims passed to Arran, her uncle. [27]

Death, succession, and timeline

Lord Arran died at his lodgings at Whitehall on 17 December 1758 and was buried in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. [17] [28] On his death, the Earldom of Arran, the Barony of Butler (of Weston), and the Jacobite Dukedom of Arran (such as it was) became extinct, along with the Dukedom and Marquessate of Ormonde. The rest of his de jure Irish titles, including the Earldom of Ormonde, passed to his kinsman John Butler (de jure 15th Earl), but remained dormant. [29] Arran's considerable estate was inherited by his unmarried sister Amelia [30] and on her death in 1760 to John Butler. [31]

His claims to the Barony of Butler (of Moore Park) and the Lordship of Dingwall passed to his niece, Frances Elliot, eldest daughter of Arran's sister Henrietta who had married the 1st Earl of Grantham. [32] From Frances the claims eventually passed to the Earls Cowper (descendants of Lord Grantham's youngest daughter). In 1871 the attainder was finally reversed in favour of the 7th Earl. [33]

Horace Walpole called Arran "an inoffensive old man, the last male of the illustrious house of Ormond ... and much respected by the Jacobites  ...". [34]

01671, 4 SepBorn. [1]
81680, 30 JulFather died. [6]
131685, 6 FebAccession of King James II, succeeding King Charles II [35]
161688, 21 JulHis brother succeeded as 2nd Duke as their grandfather died. [7]
171689, 13 FebAccession of William and Mary, succeeding King James II [36]
211693, 8 MarCreated Earl of Arran. [8]
221694, 23 JanCreated Baron Butler of Weston in England. [9]
261697Appointed Colonel of the 6th Horse (later 5th Dragoon Guards) until 1703. [10]
281699Appointed a lord of the bedchamber to King William III. [12]
301702, 24 JanPromoted Brigadier General [13]
301702, 8 MarAccession of Queen Anne, succeeding King William III [37]
321703Appointed Colonel of the 3rd Troop of Horse Guards. [14]
321704, 1 JanPromoted Major-General [15]
331705, 3 JunMarried Elizabeth Crew in Surrey, England. [16]
361708, 22 AprPromoted Lieutenant-General [18]
411713, 11 Apr Peace of Utrecht ended the War of the Spanish Succession . [38]
421714, 1 AugAccession of King George I, succeeding Queen Anne [39]
431715, 21 JunBrother impeached for treason [20]
501721Allowed to buy back his brother's estate [22]
501722, 2 JanCreated Duke of Arran by the Old Pretender [25]
551727, 11 JunAccession of King George II, succeeding King George I [40]
741745, 5 NovSucceeded his brother as the de jure3rd Duke of Ormond [26]
871758, 17 DecDied in London [17]

Notes and references


  1. This family tree is partly derived from the condensed Butler family tree pictured in Dunboyne. [4] Also see the lists of siblings in the text.


  1. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 10a. "was b. 4 Sep 1671."
  2. Debrett 1828, p.  640. "Theobald le Boteler on whom that office [Chief Butler of Ireland] was conferred by King Henry II., 1177 ..."
  3. Lodge 1789, p.  59, line 27. "He married 17 November 1659, N.S. the Lady Amelia Nassau, eldest daughter of Louis, Lord of Beverwaert ..."
  4. Dunboyne 1968, pp.  16–17. "Butler Family Tree condensed"
  5. Davies 2004, p.  226, right column. "The marriage produced eleven children ..."
  6. 1 2 Cokayne 1895, p.  150, line 28. "He [Ossory} d. v.p. of a violent fever, after four days illness, 30 July 1680 ..."
  7. 1 2 Airy 1886, p.  60, right column, line 22. "... he [Lord Ormond] died quietly of decay, not having, as he rejoyced to know, 'outlived his intellectuals.'"
  8. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 10b. "On 8 Mar. 1693, he was cr. [created] Baron of Cloughgrenan, Viscount of Tullogh, and Earl of Arran [I. [Ireland]]."
  9. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 12. "On 23 Jan. 1693/4, he was cr. Baron Butler of Weston, co. Huntingdon, [E. [England]]."
  10. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 14. "Col. of the 6th Horse (now 5th Dragoon guards) 1697–1703;"
  11. Handley 2004, p.  165, right column. "In February 1699 Ormond resigned his place in the bed chamber, which William then gave to his brother Charles, earl of Arran."
  12. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 13. "He was Lord of the bed chamber to William III 1699–1702."
  13. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 16a. "Brig. Gen. 24 Jan. 1702;"
  14. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 15. "Col of the 3rd Troop of Horse Guards 1703–1715"
  15. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 16b. "Major Gen. 1 Jan. 1704;"
  16. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 29. "He m. [married], ... 3 June 1705 at Oatlands, Weybridge, Surrey, Elizabeth, 4th da. [daughter] and coh. [coheir] of Thomas (Crew), 2nd Lord Crew of Stene ..."
  17. 1 2 3 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 35. "He d. s.p. [died childless], in his 88th year, at his lodgings next the Tilt yard, Whitehall, 17 and was bur. 23 Dec. 1758, at St. Margarets, Westm. ..."
  18. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 16c. "Lieut. Gen. 22 Apr. 1708;"
  19. Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 17. "Master-General of the Ordnance [I. [Ireland]], Nov 1712–1714."
  20. 1 2 Smollett 1800, p.  314. "On the twenty-first day of June, Mr. Secretary Stanhope impeached James Duke of Ormond, of high-treason ..."
  21. "No. 5357". The London Gazette . 20–23 August 1715. p. 1. Westminster, August 20. ... An act for the Attainder of James Duke of Ormond of High Treason, unless he shall render himself to Justice by a day certain therin mentioned.
  22. 1 2 Cokayne 1910, p.  226, line 20. "By Act of Parl. [E.] 1721 he was enabled to repurchase the family estates (forfeited by the attainder of his br., the duke of Ormonde, in 1715), which were thus preserved in the family."
  23. Miller 1971, p.  259. "In London, in addition to Bishop Atterbury, there were ... Lords Orrery, Grey, North, Gower and Arran."
  24. Miller 1971, p.  265. "Lord Arran would be General of all the forces in England and Ireland."
  25. 1 2 Ruvigny 1904, p.  14, line 2. "On the 2nd of January 1722 he was as 'Charles Butler' created by James III and VIII Duke of [?Arran] {E} with remainder to the heirs male of his body ..."]
  26. 1 2 Handley 2004, p.  167. "He [Ormond] was succeeded in his Irish peerages by his brother, the earl of Arran, who did not assume them."
  27. Burke & Burke 1909, p.  1401, left column, line 6. "1. Elizabeth d. unm. [died unmarried] 20 April 1750."
  28. Walcott 1847, p.  47. "1758 Dec. 17. Earl of Arran"
  29. Burke & Burke 1909, p.  1401, left column, line 33. "... the Irish earldoms of Ormonde and Ossory, with the viscounty of Thurles, supposed to have fallen under the English attainder, became dormant, but were really vested in John Butler, of Kilcash ..."
  30. Dunboyne 1968, p.  18. "While the 2nd Duke was in exile, his estates were bought in 1721 by his brother, the Earl of Arran, and settled first on their sister, Lady Amelia Butler, who inherited them when, in the words of Walpole 'a young heiress of 99'—she died two months short of her centenary—and secondly on John Butler of Kilcash, the representative of Richard, younger brother of the 1st Duke."
  31. Burke & Burke 1915, p.  1550, right column, line 18. "2. Emilia, d. unm. [died unmaried] 1760."
  32. Cokayne 1916, p.  368. "The Lady Frances Elliot, niece and h. of line, being eldest da. and coh. of Henry (Nassau de Overquerque), Earl of Grantham (1698–1754) by Henrietta, sister of Charles and James ... and the sole sister whose issue was then remaining."
  33. Burke & Burke 1909, p.  483, left column. "He [Cowper] was declared, 15 Aug. 1871, to have inherited, as heir-general of Thomas, Earl of Ossory, son of James 1st Duke of Ormonde, the barony of Butler in the English Peerage, and that of Dingwall in the peerage of Scotland, the attainder of 1715 having been reversed in July 1871."
  34. Walpole 1822, p.  332. "1758 – At the end of the year died Lord Arran, an inoffensive old man, the last male of the illustrious house of Ormond. He was chancellor of Oxford and much respected by the Jacobites  ..."
  35. Fryde et al. 1986, p.  44, line 46. "James II. ... acc. 6 Feb. 1685 ..."
  36. Fryde et al. 1986, p.  45, line 11. "William III. ... acc. 13 Feb. 1689 ..."
  37. Fryde et al. 1986, p.  45, line 31. "Anne ... acc. 8 Mar. 1702 ..."
  38. Miller 1971, p.  147, line 8. "On 11 April 1713 the peace was signed at Utrecht: in return for the acknowledgement of his grandson as Philip V of Spain, Louis had to recognize the Hanoverian and Protestant succession in England."
  39. Fryde et al. 1986, p.  45, line 38. "George I … acc. 1 Aug. 1714;"
  40. Fryde et al. 1986, p.  46, line 11. "George II … acc. 11 Jun. 1727;"


Military offices
Preceded by
John Coy
Colonel of The Earl of Arran's Regiment of Horse
Succeeded by
Preceded by Captain and Colonel of the
3rd Troop of Horse Guards

Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Butler
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Duke of Ormonde
(de jure)

Earl of Ormonde
(de jure)

Succeeded by
New creation Earl of Arran

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