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Butler Family History
Family spelling variants include Buttler, Le Boutillier.
There are approximately 350,150 Butler family members around the world. In general you can double this figure to include those related to the Butler names to allow for those connected to the name through maiden name connections.
It is estimated that the largest group of Butler family members live USA 238,385 (68.1%), England with 42,009 (12%), Australia with 20,631 (5.9%), Canada with 15,370 (4.4%), South Africa with 13,789 (3.9%), Ireland with 11,479 (3.3%), New Zealand with 3,465 (1%), Scotland with 2,527 (0.7%) and Wales with 2,495 (0.7%) members.
English and Irish from an Anglicised form of French Boutilier, from Old French bouteillier denoting a ‘servant in charge of the wine-cellar’ or wine steward, usually the head servant. Originating from Latin buticularius, from buticula meaning ‘bottle’.
Also an occupational name for a bottle maker, from Yiddish butl ‘bottle’ + the agent suffix -er.
Early bearers of the surname include: Hugo Buteiller, 1055 in Documents in France; Alexander le butiller, 1174–84 in Hatton’s Book of Seals (Hunts); Baldwin le Buteilier, 1200 in Pipe Rolls (Kent); William le Boteller, 1260 in Assize Rolls (Cambs); Henry le Butler, 1327 in Subsidy Rolls (Worcs); Brigg le Botiller’, 1379 in Poll Tax (Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk); Johannes Buteler, Walterus Butelier, 1381 in Poll Tax (Buckhorn Weston, Dorset); Johannes Butler, 1538 in IGI (Croydon, Surrey); James Butler, 1539 in IGI (Feckenham, Worcs); Richard Butler, 1539 in IGI (Stone, Bucks).
James Butler, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" ship on 16th October 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia.
In 1891, there were 23,225 occurrences in England and Wales and a further 333 occurrences in Scotland.
In 1881 census, the surname was widespread across the West Midlands and South East England. Although, Gloucestershire was a top county with 764 occurrences of which 92 were recorded in Bristol, as a top district for the surname.
In 1881, Agricultural Labourer, Labourer and Farmer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Butler in the UK. The most common Butler occupation was Agricultural Labourer and a less common occupation was Coal Miner .
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
Butler Family From Wexford
THE Butlers did not settle to any great extent in County Wexford. As far as can be ascertained, the earliest members of
the family (the Ormonds) to settle here purchased Mountgarrett Castle, outside New Ross, around the beginning of the 16th century. This castle was built by Bishop Barrett as a residence for himself.
Richard Butler of Mountgarrett was granted the confiscated lands and friaries of the Augustinians and Dominicans in 1543. He was created Earl of Mountgarrett by Edward VI in 1550. He was second son of the 8th Earl of Ormond. He acquired the lands of Kayer (Cloghnageragh or Wilton Castle, near Bree) from Foulks Denn in 1556. These he gave to his son, Peter or Pierce. The lands of Kayer comprised all the district from Davidstown and Edermine to Glynn, on that side of the Slaney, 200 acres in all. Peter also took possession of Moneyhore, near Enniscorthy.
Peter died in 1599, and was succeeded by his son, Edward. He, in turn, was succeeded by Pierce, who is given in the Civil Survey (1654) as the papist landlord of Cloghnageragh and its demesne. His lands were confiscated by the Cromwellians and given to the Thornhill family. Later in 1695 William Alcock came into possession, whose family remained in possession until 1922.
A Col. Pierce Butler (of Barrowmount, Co. Kilkenny) was killed by the Cromwellians at the battle of Lambstown (Glynn), fighting on the Confederate side. (Known locally as the Battle of the Bloody Gap”).During the last quarter of the 17th century, there was a Mass station at Munfin in the parish of Kilrush where the priest was under the protection of Sir Toby Butler. The fine avenue at the rear of Munfin House was constructed by Sir Toby for the convenience of the Catholics of Kilrush parish to enable them to attend Mass. Sir Toby, who did not live there, was James the Second's Solicitor-General of Ireland. He was chief draughtsman on the Irish side for the Treaty of Limerick.
Col. Walter Butler, M.P. for Wexford in 1689, lived at Munfin and in his private chapel he kept a relic reputed to be a portion of the True Cross, brought from Rome for the use of Ferns Cathedral by Bishop French.
Butlers of Bealaborrow, Co. Wexford, were descended from James, brother of the third Viscount Mountgarrett. Butlers of Kayer, Moneyhore and Munfin were descended from Pierce, second son of the first Viscount and Butlers of New Ross. from John. brother of second Viscount Mountgarrett. It is not clear what became of the Kayer and Moneyhore Butlers. We can only guess that when dispossessed of their lands by the Williamites they settled as tenants in the area. Up to the end of the last century, there was a pocket of Butler families in the Oylegate district. Among them were many of the name Pierce, Tom, Richard and Eleanor. None of the families is there now, but their descendants are in other parts of the county.
It seems that all the Wexford Butlers were Catholic (as descended from Mountgarrett). Fr. Balthazar Butler was the last Catholic Rector of Tomhaggard under the pre-Reformation regime. He died in 1552. Two students for the priesthood from Ferns in Lisbon around 1593 were Pierce and William Butler. A student in Salamanca in 1639 was Matthew Butler. In 1680 Fr. Theobald Butler was parish priest of Kilmuckridge, and resided at Tinacross in the parish.
Coming down to our own times there are very few Butlers among the clergy. John Gregory Butler, O.S.A., was a member of the Augustinian community in Grantstown from 1790 to 1814. Fr. John Butler, a native of Kilmore, died as parish priest of Bunclody some forty years ago. Fr. Felix Butler, O.F.M., a native of Glynn, has been attached to Gormanston College since its inception. He was mainly responsible for the building of the college. His cousin, Fr. Thomas C. Butler, O.S.A., is the present Prior of Clonmines, residing at Grantstown, continuing many centuries of an unbroken line of priors from the establishment of the Augustinians in Clonmines. Fr. Butler is author of a history of the Augustinian Priories in New Ross and Clonmines entitled 'Near Restful Waters' and has also published an excellent parish history of Bannow.
Rev. John M. Butler, a native of New Ross, who died parish priest of Cushinstown in 1959. was an army chaplain in World War One and suffered shell-shock. Afterwards he was a leading figure in the Gaeli League and the great Wexford feiseanna. He was a founder and chaplain for many years of the Catholic Boy Scouts in Wexford town where he spent most of his ministry and where he was Administrator before his appointment to Cushinstown. He was also chairman for many years of the County Wexford Vocational Education Committee and was a personal friend of Sean T. O'Kelly, second President of Ireland.
Rev. John Canon Butler, parish priest of Ramsgrange, is a former President of St. Peter's College, Wexford, and was ordained in the Irish College, Rome. He is a member of a well-known Newbawn family which has been prominently associated with Gaelic games and the teaching profession in the county. His father and his brother both named Thomas Butler, were Principals of Newbawn National School and both were County Registrars of the G.A.A. county board. The family is originally from The Rower, Co. Kilkenny.
The Butlers of Kilmuckridge are one of the country's leading sporting families. The brothers Michael, Henry and Pierre Butler have played hurling for the county while their sisters have represented Wexford in camogie.
Butlerstown Castle, near Tomhaggard, was built by Sir Richard Butler, about the middle of the sixteenth century. He was eldest son of Pierce Butler, the first Viscount Mountgarrett. According to Hore, James Butler held the castle of Richard Stafford of Ballymacane in 1559 and was succeeded by his son and heir Patrick Butler, aged 35. In 1608 James Butler of Butlerstown was one of the gentlemen of the barony. After the Cromwellian confiscation, a descendant of Sir Nicholas Heron. Governor of Ferns Castle, lived at Butlerstown for about a century. It afterwards passed to the Harvey family of Bargy Castle and then by marriage to the Boxwells.
Writing about Butlerstown Castle in 1925, Kathleen Browne states: 'It has been fortunate in the successors to the Butlers who inherited it. and to none of these is greater credit due than its present owner, Frank Boxwell, for his care and interest in the ancestral castle of the Butlers! Mr Boxwell is descended, on his mother's side, from the extraordinarily Idented family of Stokes to whom Irish archaeology owes so much. The
Sol of his aunt, Margaret Stokes, in particular for the Irish language as Las for Irish archaeology, is too well known to describe.
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