The peerage title Earl of Ormond and the related titles Duke of Ormonde and Marquess of Ormonde have a long and complex history. An earldom of Ormond has been created three times in the Peerage of Ireland.
The earldom of Ormond was originally created in 1328 for James Butler. For many subsequent years, the earls took significant roles in the government of Ireland, and kept a tradition of loyalty to the English crown and to English custom. Several of the earls also had reputations as scholars.The fifth earl was created Earl of Wiltshire (1449) in the Peerage of England, but he was attainted in 1461 and his peerages were declared forfeit. The earldom of Ormond was restored to his younger brother, John Butler, the sixth earl, in 1476. Thomas, the 7th earl, died without issue in 1515; the de facto, if not indeed the de jure earl, Piers Butler, a cousin of the 7th Earl, was induced to resign his rights to the title in 1528. This facilitated the next creation by awarding the titles of Ormond and Wiltshire to Thomas Boleyn, who was the father of Anne Boleyn. At that time, Anne was the mistress of King Henry VIII of England. As a maternal grandson of the 7th Earl, Thomas Boleyn had a slim claim to the title. Through his daughter, Anne, he was the grandfather of Elizabeth I of England. On the death of Boleyn, these peerages of the second creation became extinct because he lacked male heirs, his son George having been executed for treason.
As a reward for his patriotism and generosity, Piers Butler was created Earl of Ossory five days after resigning his rights to the other titles. The third creation for Piers Butler (in 1538) merely recognised the reality of the situation prior to the Boleyn irruption, and in 1544 an act of parliament confirmed him in the possession of his earldom, which was declared to be the creation of 1328, and not the new creation of 1538.James Butler, the fifth earl of this creation, was made Marquess of Ormonde (1642) and Duke of Ormonde (1660) in the Peerage of Ireland, and Duke of Ormonde (1682) in the Peerage of England. Through his marriage with his cousin Elizabeth Preston, granddaughter of the third earl, he had reunited the titles with the Ormonde estates. After 1682, the spelling "Ormonde" was used almost universally.
Prior to the creation of the Earldom of Ormond, the First Earl's father had been created the first Earl of Carrick. However, this title did not pass to James Butler. After a gap of 7 years following his father's death, James, who had recently married Eleanor de Bohun (a granddaughter of Edward I) was rewarded with an earldom in his own right – Ormond.
The 2nd Earl of Ormand was known widely as the Earl of Gowran (1385), a customary title. A later peerage title, the Earldom of Gowran, was granted to the seventh son of the 1st Duke of Ormond in 1676 but became extinct within less than two years. A subsidiary barony title - Baron Gowran - was held by the FitzGeralds, Earls of Upper Ossory, between 1715-1818.
Subsidiary titles for the dukes were Earl of Brecknock (1660) and Baron Butler (1660) in the Peerage of England and Earl of Ormond (1328), Earl of Ossory (1538) and Viscount Thurles (1536) in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1715, the second duke was attainted and his English peerages declared forfeit. In 1758 the de jure third duke (Irish) died and the dukedom and marquessate became extinct. Walter, the eleventh earl, was given an English peerage as Lord Butler of Llanthony in 1801,and was created the Marquess of Ormonde in the Peerage of Ireland in 1816; on his death that title became extinct and the earldoms passed to his brother, for whom the title Marquess of Ormonde was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1825. That title became extinct in 1997, while the earldom became dormant.
An unrelated Earldom of Ormonde was twice created in the Peerage of Scotland.
The 3rd Marquess of Ormonde is recorded as having written to the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Benjamin Disraeli, regarding the restoration of the Dukedom of Ormonde in October 1868. Lord Ormonde claimed that his grandfather, James Butler, 1st Marquess of Ormonde (then 19th Earl of Ormond) had been advised by Lord Liverpool to apply for the restoration of the Dukedom, and that Lord Liverpool had advised him that in order to achieve this, he would first need to apply to be elevated from the rank of Earl to Marquess. An application was duly made, and James, 19th Earl of Ormond was granted the title Marquess of Ormonde. The 3rd Marquess believed that Lord Liverpool's loss of the Office of Prime Minister in 1827 frustrated this plan, and the 1st Marquess took no further action towards applying for the restoration of the Dukedom. The 3rd Marquess also alleged in his letter to Prime Minister Disraeli that his father, John Butler, 2nd Marquess of Ormonde had resolved not to pursue the restoration of the Dukedom of Ormonde unless another peer was also elevated to a Dukedom during his lifetime. Disraeli responded to the 3rd Marquess' letter on 27 October 1868, and expressed his sympathy with Lord Ormonde's desire to restore "the title of an illustrious ancestor". However, in his letter, Disraeli implied that the political climate of the time did not render the creation, or restoration, of the Dukedom of Ormonde to be appropriate, noting that "the condition of the party [the Conversation Party] is now critical,".
The presumed successors of the 7th marquess in the Earldoms of Ormonde and Ossory have been the 17th and 18th Viscounts Mountgarret, descending in the male line from a younger son of the 8th Earl; however, no claim from the 17th or 18th viscount was submitted to the Monarch.
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, 1st Earl of Ormond, 1st Viscount RochfordKGKB, of Hever Castle in Kent, was an English diplomat and politician who was the father of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, and was thus the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. By Henry VIII he was made a knight of the Garter in 1523 and was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford in 1525 and in 1529 was further ennobled as Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond.
Lieutenant-General James FitzThomas Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, KG, PC, was a statesman and soldier, known as Earl of Ormond from 1634 to 1642 and Marquess of Ormond from 1642 to 1661. Following the failure of the senior line of the Butler family, he was the second representative of the Kilcash branch to inherit the earldom.
Vice-Admiral Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory, KG, PC, PC (Ire) (1634–1680) was an Irish soldier and politician. He was the eldest son of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond but predeceased his father and therefore never succeeded as duke.
The title Earl of Wiltshire is one of the oldest in the Peerage of England, going back to the 12th century. It is currently held by the Marquess of Winchester, and is used as a courtesy title for the eldest son of the marquess.
Earl of Ossory is a subsidiary title held by the Earl of Ormond that was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1528.
Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, 1st Earl of Ossory also known as Red Piers, was from the Polestown branch of the Butler family of Ireland. In the succession crisis at the death of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond he succeeded to the earldom as heir male, but lost the title in 1528 to Thomas Boleyn. He regained it after Boleyn's death in 1538.
James Hubert Theobald Charles Butler, 7th Marquess of Ormonde, MBE was the son of Reverend Lord Theobald Butler and Lady Annabella Brydon Gordon. He was the 7th and last holder of the title Marquess of Ormonde and the 25th holder of the title Earl of Ormond. The title Earl of Ormond is one of the oldest titles in the peerages in the British Isles, having first been granted to James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond, who married a granddaughter of Edward I of England.
James Edward William Theobald Butler, 3rd Marquess of Ormonde,, styled Earl of Ossory until 1854, was an Irish nobleman and member of the Butler dynasty.
John Butler, 2nd Marquess of Ormonde, KP was an Irish politician and peer.
James Wandesford Butler, 1st Marquess of Ormonde, was an Irish nobleman and politician. He was the second son of John Butler, 17th Earl of Ormonde and Frances Susan Elizabeth Wandesford. He was born at Kilkenny castle on 15 July 1774.
John Butler, 17th Earl of Ormonde, 10th Earl of Ossory (1740–1795) was an Irish peer and Member of Parliament (MP). He became a Protestant in 1764. He was an Irish MP, representing Gowran between 1776 and 1783, and Kilkenny City between 1783 and 1792. In 1791, his right to the peerage was acknowledged in the Irish House of Lords and he became the 17th Earl of Ormond.
Walter Butler (1703–1783), also known as Walter Butler of Kilcash, and Walter Butler of Garryricken, was the de jure16th Earl of Ormond and 9th Earl of Ossory. He did not assume these titles as he thought them forfeit as a result of the attainder of the 2nd Duke of Ormonde. In the peerage of Ireland, the titles were successfully claimed in 1791 by his son John, the 17th Earl.
John Butler, known as John Butler of Kilcash, a member of the Irish landed gentry, was de jure15th Earl of Ormond and 8th Earl of Ossory. He did not assume these titles as he thought them forfeit by the attainder of the 2nd Duke of Ormond. He did, however, inherit the Ormond estate from the 1st Earl of Arran through Arran's sister Amelia. In 1791, the title of Earl of Ormond would be successfully claimed by his cousin, the 17th Earl.
Lieutenant-General Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, de jure3rd 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.
James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond and 2nd Earl of Ossory, known as the Lame, was in 1541 confirmed as Earl of Ormond thereby ending the dispute over the Ormond earldom between his father, Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, and Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire. He died from poison in London.
Margaret Butler, Countess of Ormond, Countess of Ossory was an Irish noblewoman and a member of the powerful and celebrated FitzGerald dynasty also known as "The Geraldines". She married Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, by whom she had four sons and five daughters.
Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles was the son and heir apparent of Walter Butler, 11th Earl of Ormond, whom he predeceased. He lived at the Westgate Castle in Thurles, County Tipperary. He was the father of the Irish statesman and Royalist commander James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde.
Butler is the name of a noble family whose members were, for several centuries, prominent in the administration of the Lordship of Ireland and the Kingdom of Ireland. They rose to their highest prominence as Dukes of Ormonde. The family has produced multiple titles such as Baron Cahir, Baron Dunboyne, Viscount Ikerrin, Viscount Galmoye, Viscount Mountgarret, Viscount Thurles, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Kilkenny, Earl of Ormond, Earl of Ossory, Marquess of Ormonde and Duke of Ormonde. Variant spellings of the name include le Boteler and le Botiller. The Butlers were descendants of Anglo-Norman lords who participated in the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. The surname has its origins in the hereditary office of "Butler (cup-bearer) of Ireland", originating with Theobald Walter, 1st Chief Butler of Ireland. The arms of later family members depicted three cups in recognition of their original office.
Mary Butler, Duchess of Ormonde was the second wife of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde.
Elizabeth Butler, Duchess of Ormond and 2nd Baroness Dingwall reunited the Ormond estate as her maternal grandfather, Black Tom, 10th Earl of Ormond had it, by marrying James Butler, later Duke of Ormond, her second cousin once removed. She had inherited her share of the Ormond estate through her mother, Elizabeth Preston, who was Black Tom's daughter and only surviving child. Her husband had inherited his share from his grandfather Walter Butler, 11th Earl of Ormond, Black Tom's successor in the earldom. Her share was the bigger one and included Kilkenny Castle.