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The Earl of Arran
Richard Butler (1639–1685), 1st Earl of Arran, National Trust, Hardwick Hall.png
Detail from the portrait below
Born15 July 1639
Died25 January 1686(1686-01-25) (aged 46)
  • 1. Mary Stuart
  • 2. Dorothy Ferrers
Charlotte & others
FatherJames, 1st Duke of Ormond
MotherElizabeth Preston

Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Arran (1639–1686) was Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1682 to 1684 while James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, his father, the Lord Lieutenant, was absent in England. He sat in the Irish House of Lords as Earl of Arran and in the English one as Baron Butler of Weston. When William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford was accused of treason during the Popish Plot, Arran braved the anti-Catholic hysteria and voted not guilty.

Birth and origins

Family tree
Richard Butler with his two wives, his parents, and other selected relatives.[a]

c. 1585
– 1628
1st Earl

d. 1628)

bef. 1596 –


1st Duke


6th Earl


d. 1668
1st Earl


d. 1716

d. 1700
2nd Duke

1st Earl

4th Baron



d. 1738
1st Earl


d. 1785
de jure
15th Earl

d. 1766
XXXSubject of
the article
XXXEarls & dukes
of Ormond
XXXBarons and Earls
of Cornwallis

Richard was born on 15 July 1639,[2] probably in Ireland.[3] He was the fifth son of James Butler and his wife Elizabeth Preston. His father was then the 12th Earl of Ormond but would be elevated to marquess and 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.[4]

Richard's mother was a second cousin once removed of his father as she was the granddaughter of Black Tom, the 10th Earl of Ormond. Her father, however, was Scottish, Richard Preston, 1st Earl of Desmond, a favourite of James I. Both his parents were Protestants. They had married on Christmas Day 1629.[5]

Richard was one of ten siblings, but five of his brothers died in early childhood. He, his three surviving brothers and two sisters,[6] are listed in his father's article.

Early life

In June 1647 Richard, together with James Dillon, 3rd Earl of Roscommon, was given as hostage to the English Parliament by his father.[7] On 13 May 1662 he was created Baron Butler of Cloughgrennan, Viscount Tullogh and Earl of Arran (having purchased the Aran Islands) in the Peerage of Ireland, with a special remainder to his younger brother John, should his own male line fail.[8] This precaution would prove inefficient as his younger brother died before him.

A 3/4 length painted portrait of Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, showing a clean-shaven man with long curly fair hair wearing a lace jabot and clad in black armour, resting his right hand on his helmet on a table before him and holding a marshal's staff in his left. Arran stands before a mostly dark background, only on the extreme left is a view into a landscape.
Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, attributed to Godfrey Kneller

Marriages and children

Arran, as he was now, married twice. Both brides were rich heiresses.[9] In September 1664 he married Mary Stuart, Baroness Clifton in her own right, daughter of James Stuart, 1st Duke of Richmond and 4th Duke of Lennox.[10] She died in 1668 childless at the age of 16[11] and was buried in St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny.[12]

He married secondly Dorothy, daughter of John Ferrers of Tamworth Castle and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Dudley Carleton.[13]

Richard and Dorothy had four children:

  1. James (1674–1676), died in infancy
  2. Thomas (1675–1681), died in infancy
  3. Charlotte (1679–1725), his only surviving child and heiress, who married Charles, 4th Baron Cornwallis[14]
  4. Thomas (1681–1685), died in infancy

Later life

On 27 August 1673, as a reward for his bravery in the sea fights against the Dutch in the Third Anglo-Dutch War, Arran was also created Baron Butler of Weston in the Peerage of England.[15]

In 1680, when the Catholic William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford was tried for high treason in the bogus Popish Plot, Arran was one of 31 peers who voted not guilty. As the most junior English peer, Arran was the first to cast his vote; his vote of "not guilty" took some courage, given the prevailing hysteria whipped up against anyone who cast doubt on the veracity of the supposed plot. However, 55 peers voted guilty and Stafford was executed.

Arran was made Lord Deputy of Ireland in April 1682 when his father, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, travelled to England, and held the post until August 1684 when his father returned.[16] This honour came to him because his elder brother Ossory, who had been deputy from 1668 to 1669[17] had died in 1680.[18]

Death and timeline

Arran died of pleurisy in London on 25 January 1686[19] and was buried in Westminster Abbey.[20] As he died without surviving male issue, and his brother John had died before him, his titles became extinct. His only daughter, Charlotte, inherited the estate, which she brought her husband when she married Lord Cornwallis in 1699.

However, his three Irish titles would be recreated in 1693 for his nephew Charles Butler, who would be created Baron Butler of Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullough, and Earl of Arran of the 1693 creation.

Age Date Event
0 1639, 15 Jul Born, probably at Kilkenny Castle[2]
3 1642, 30 Aug Father created Marquess of Ormond[21]
7 1647, 19 Jun Given as hostage to the English Parliament by his father[7]
9 1649, 30 Jan King Charles I beheaded.[22]
20 1660, 29 May Restoration of King Charles II[23]
22 1662, 13 May Created Baron Butler of Cloughgrennan, Viscount Tullogh and Earl of Arran.[2]
25 1664, Sep Married 1st Mary Stuart, Baroness Clifton[10]
28 1668, 4 Jul First wife died childless.[11][12]
33–34 1673, before 7 Jun Married 2ndly Elizabeth Ferrers[13]
34 1673, 27 Aug Created Baron Butler of Weston in the Peerage of England[15]
37–38 1677 Brother John, Earl of Gowran, died.[24]
41 1680, 21 Jul Eldest brother Thomas, Earl of Ossory, died.[18]
42 1682, Apr Appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland to rule Ireland during his father's absence.[16]
45 1685, 6 Feb Accession of King James II, succeeding King Charles II[25]
46 1686, 25 Jan Died in London.[19]

Notes and references


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


  1. ^ Dunboyne 1968, pp. 16–17. "Butler Family Tree condensed"
  2. ^ a b c Lodge 1789, p. 55, line 23. "Richard, born 15 June 1639 was created 13 May 1662 Baron Butler of Cloughgrennan, Viscount Tullogh, and Earl of Arran ..."
  3. ^ Murtagh 2004, p. 197, right column, bottom. "Butler, Richard, 1st Earl of Arran (1639–1686), army officer, was born 15 June 1639, probably in Ireland."
  4. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 640. "Theobald le Boteler on whom that office [Chief Butler of Ireland] was conferred by King Henry II., 1177 ..."
  5. ^ Airy 1886, p. 53, line 2. "... the marriage took place on Christmas of the same year [1629] ..."
  6. ^ Perceval-Maxwell 2004, p. 130, right column, line 33. "... between 1632 and 1646 Elizabeth ... gave birth to eight sons including Richard Butler, five of whom died as children, and two daughters."
  7. ^ a b Meehan 1882, p. 211. "... his [Ormond's] second son, lord Richard Butler, with the earl of Roscommon, and Sir James Ware, had been sent to England as hostages for his performance of the articles in consideration of which he was to surrender Dublin to the English rebels."
  8. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 225, line 3. "... was cr. [created] 13 May 1662, Baron Butler of Cloughgrennan, Viscount Tullogh, and Earl of Arran [I. [Ireland]], with a spec. rem. [special remainder], failing the heirs male of his body, to his younger br. [brother] John Butler."
  9. ^ Murtagh 2004, p. 198, left column, line 50. "His financial position was strengthened by his two marriages to substantial heiresses."
  10. ^ a b Lodge 1789, p. 56, line 10. "He first married in September 1664, the Lady Mary Steuart, only surviving child of James, Duke of Richmond and Lennox ..."
  11. ^ a b Murtagh 2004, p. 198, left column, line 52. "The first [marriage], in September 1664, was to Mary, Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in her own right (bap. 1651, d. 1668)."
  12. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 225, line 21. "She [Mary] d. s.p. [died without issue] 4 July, and was bur. [buried] 19 Aug. 1668 at Kilkenny cathedral, aged 16."
  13. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 225, line 22. "He m. [married], secondly, before 7 June 1673, Dorothy, da. [daughter] of John Ferrers, of Tamworth castle by Anne, da. of Sir Dudley Carleton."
  14. ^ Debrett 1828a, p. 174. "Charles, 4th lord [Cornwallis], m. [married] 1 June 1699 Charlotte, da. [daughter] and sole heiress of Richard Butler, Earl of Arran ..."
  15. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 225, line 8. "In 1673 he distinguished himself in the sea fight with the Dutch., for which he was cr. [created], 27 Aug. 1673, Baron Butler of Weston, co. Huntingdon [E.]."
  16. ^ a b Bagwell 1916, p. 144. "Ormonde was in England from the end of April 1682 until August 1684, leaving his son Arran as Deputy ..."
  17. ^ Davies 2004, p. 227, bottom of right & top of left column. "Ossory spent much of 1668 and the first months of 1669 as his father's deputy in Ireland."
  18. ^ a b Cokayne 1895, p. 150, line 28. "He [Ossory} d. v.p. [predeceased his father] of a violent fever, after four days illness, 30 July 1680 ..."
  19. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 225, line 24. "He [Richard] d. [died] in London, s.p.m.s. [without surviving male issue] 25, and was bur. [buried] 27 Jan. 1685/6 ..."
  20. ^ Chester 1876, p. 215. "1685/6 Jan. 27 Richard , Earl of Arran; [in the Abbey]"
  21. ^ Cokayne 1895, p. 149, line 27. "He was cr. [created] 30 Aug 1642 Marquess of Ormonde [I. [Ireland]];"
  22. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 17. "Charles I. ... exec. 30 Jan. 1649 ..."
  23. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 39. "Charles II. ... acc. 29 May 1660 ..."
  24. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 1550, right column, line 31. "John, created Earl of Gowran 1676, m. [married] Lady Anne Chichester, dau. [daughter] of 1st Earl of Donegal, but d.s.p. [died without issue] 1677, when the dignity expired."
  25. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 46. "James II. ... acc. 6 Feb. 1685 ..."


3 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

From Grammont's notes

Richard Butler, Earl of Arran, fifth son of James Butler, the first Duke of Ormond. He was born 15th July, 1639, and educated with great care, being taught every thing suitable to his birth, and the great affection his parents had for him. As he grew up, he distinguished himself by a brave and excellent disposition, which determined him to a military life. When the duke, his father, was first made lord-lieutenant of Ireland, after the Restoration, his majesty was pleased, by his letter, dated April 23, 1662, to create Lord Richard, Baron Butler of Cloghgrenan, Viscount Tullogh, in the county of Catherlough, and Earl of Arran, with remainder to his brother. In September, 1664, he married Lady Mary Stuart, only surviving daughter of James Duke of Richmond and Lennox, by Mary, the only daughter of the great Duke of Buckingham, who died in July, 1667, at the age of eighteen, and was interred at Kilkenny. He distinguished himself in reducing the mutineers at Carrick-Fergus, and behaved with great courage in the famous sea-fight with the Dutch, in 1673. In August that year, he was created Baron Butler of Weston, in the county of Huntingdon. He married, in the preceding June, Dorothy, daughter of John Ferrars, of Tamworth Castle, in Warwickshire, Esq. In 1682, he was constituted lord-deputy of Ireland, upon his father's going over to England, and held that office until August, 1684, when the duke returned. In the year 1686, he died at London, and was interred in Westminster-abbey, leaving an only daughter, Charlotte, who was married to Charles Lord Cornwallis.… see note 48

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, Baron Butler of Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullough (15 July 1639 – 25 January 1685/1686) was an Irish peer, the fourth son of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde.…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The House of Commons have this to say about Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Arran:

Richard Butler was brought up with Ossory, his other brothers having died young, but he shared few of his accomplishments and virtues.

Although ‘singularly adroit in all kinds of exercises’, notably tennis and the guitar, his amorous and alcoholic proclivities made him a symbol of ‘the baseness and looseness of the Court’.

Richard Butler was returned for Wells at the general election of 1661 as a compliment to his father, who was lord lieutenant of Somerset, and became the first member of his family to sit in the Lower House at Westminster. But he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he acted as teller in five divisions but was appointed to only 20 committees. Most of them, including that for the uniformity bill, were in the first session, before he was made Earl of Arran (cr. Earl of Arran 13 May 1662) and given Irish appointments worth £5,000 p.a. according to report.

Richard Butler, Earl of Arran was listed as a court dependant in 1664 and as a government supporter in both lists of 1669-71.

Arran's first marriage was to ‘a lady of extraordinary quality ... that might have been made a wife for the King himself’, while his second wife, besides her portion, had prospects of an estate of £3,000 after the death of her father and her sickly young brother.

m. (1) 13 Sept. 1664 (with £20,000), Mary (d. 4 July 1668), suo jure Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold, da. of James, 1st Duke of Richmond, and heir to her bro. Esmé, 2nd Duke, s.p.;

m. (2) June 1673 (with £12,000), Dorothy (d. 30 Nov. 1716), da. and heir of John Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, Warws., 2s. d.v.p. 2da.

For more info, see http://www.historyofparliamentonl…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.