The Duke of Ormond
|Chancellor of the University of Oxford|
4 August 1669 - 1688
|The 2nd Duke of Ormond|
|Lord High Steward|
29 May 1660 - 13 February 1689
|The 1st Duke of Richmond|
|The 1st Duke of Devonshire|
|Lord Lieutenant of Ireland|
24 May 1677 - 24 February 1685
|The 1st Earl of Essex|
|The 2nd Earl of Claredon|
21 February 1662 - 7 February 1668
|The 1st Duke of Albemarle|
|The 6th Earl of Ossory|
30 September 1648 - 22 June 1649
13 November 1643 - 9 April 1646
|2nd Earl of Leicester|
|Born||19 October 1610|
Clerkenwell, London, England
|Died||21 July 1688 (aged 77)|
Kingston Lacy, England
|Resting place||Westminster Abbey, London|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Preston, Baroness Dingwall|
|Children||Thomas, Richard, Elizabeth, John, & others|
|Parents||Thomas, Viscount Thurles|
Elizabeth, Lady Thurles
|Branch/service|| English Army|
|Years of service||1639-1651|
|Rank||Commander-in-chief, General, Commandant|
|Battles/wars||Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639--1651) Second Bishops' War, 1st Siege of Drogheda, Battle of Kilrush, Battle of New Ross, Battle of Rathmines, 2nd Siege of Drogheda.|
Lieutenant-General James FitzThomas Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, KG, PC (1610-1688), was an Irish statesman and soldier, known as Earl of Ormond from 1634 to 1642 and Marquess of Ormond from 1642 to 1661.[a] Following the failure of the senior line of the Butler family, he was the second representative of the Kilcash branch to inherit the earldom.
His friend, the 1st Earl of Strafford, caused him to be appointed the commander of the Cavalier forces in Ireland. From 1641 to 1647, he led the Royal Irish Army fighting against the Irish Catholic Confederation. From 1649 to 1650 he was the leading commander of the Royalist forces in the fight against the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
In the 1650s he lived in exile on the continent with King Charles II of England. Upon the restoration of Charles to the throne in 1660, Ormond became a major figure in English and Irish politics, holding many high government offices.
James was born on 19 October 1610 at Clerkenwell, London, the eldest child of Thomas Butler and his wife Elizabeth Pointz. His father, who was known by the courtesy title of Viscount Thurles, was the eldest son and heir apparent of Walter Butler, 11th Earl of Ormond, called "Walter of the rosary beads". 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. James's mother was English and Catholic, a daughter of Sir John Pointz of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, and his second wife Elizabeth Sydenham. James's birth house in Clerkenwell belonged to him, his maternal grandfather.
Shortly after his birth, his parents returned to Ireland. James was one of six siblings.
|James listed among his brothers|
|He heads the list of his brothers as the eldest:|
|His sisters were:|
In 1619 his father perished on his way from Ireland to England in a shipwreck near the Skerries off the coast of Anglesey. James inherited his father's courtesy title Viscount Thurles. The year following that disaster, his mother brought young Thurles, as he now was, back to England, and placed him, then nine years old, at school with a Catholic gentleman at Finchley -- this doubtless through the influence of his grandfather, the 11th Earl. His mother remarried to George Mathew of Thurles.
On 26 May 1623, King James I, made Thurles a ward of Richard Preston, Earl of Desmond, and placed him at Lambeth, London, under the care of George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury to be brought up as a Protestant. The Ormond estates being under sequestration, the young Lord had but £40 a year for his own and his servants' clothing and expenses. He seems to have been neglected by the Archbishop -- "he was not instructed even in humanity, nor so much as taught to understand Latin".
When fifteen Thurles went to live with his paternal grandfather (then released from prison) at Drury Lane. His grandfather, the 11th Earl of Ormond, was now an old man and did not interfere much with his Protestant religious education. This was very important for Thurles's future life, as it meant that, unlike almost all his relatives in the Butler dynasty, he was a Protestant. This strained his relationship with the rest of his family and dependants, as they suffered from land confiscations and legal discrimination on account of their religion, while he did not.
Now having more means at his command, Thurles entered into all the gaieties of the court and town. At eighteen he went to Portsmouth with his friend George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham intending to join the expedition for the relief of La Rochelle; a project abandoned upon the Duke's assassination.
It was during his London residence that he set himself to learn Irish, a partial knowledge of which proved most useful to him in after years.
About six months after his visit to Portsmouth, Thurles first saw at Court, and fell in love with, his cousin Lady Elizabeth Butler (Preston), Duchess of Ormond, only child and heiress of Richard Preston, Earl of Desmond and his wife Elizabeth. Charles I gave his consent by letters patent, on 8 September 1629. At Christmas 1629, they married putting an end to the long-standing quarrel between the families and united their estates.
James and Elizabeth had eight sons, five of whom died in childhood, and two daughters. Five children survived into adulthood:
Thurles's career began in 1633 with the appointment as head of government in Ireland of Thomas Wentworth, the future Earl of Strafford, by whom Ormond was treated with great favour. Writing to Charles I, Wentworth described Ormond as "young, but take it from me, a very staid head".
On 24 February 1633, Thurles, on the death of his grandfather, succeeded to the earldom as the 12th Earl of Ormond. Lord Ormond, as he now was, became Wentworth's chief friend and supporter. Wentworth planned large-scale confiscations of Catholic-owned land, both to raise money for the crown and to break the political power of the Irish Catholic gentry, a policy which Ormond supported. Yet, it infuriated his relatives, and drove many of them into opposition to Wentworth and ultimately into armed rebellion. In 1640, with Wentworth having been recalled to attend to the Second Bishops' War in England, Ormond was made commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland. The opposition to Wentworth ultimately aided impeachment of the Earl by the English Parliament, and his eventual execution in May 1641.
On the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Ormond found himself in command of the Irish Royal Army based in Dublin. Most of the country was taken by the Catholic rebels, who included Ormond's Butler relatives. However, Ormond's bonds of kinship were not entirely severed. His wife and children were escorted from Kilkenny to Dublin under the order of the rebel leader Richard Butler, 3rd Viscount Mountgarret, another member of the Butler dynasty.
Early in 1642 the Irish Catholics formed their own government, the Catholic Confederation, with its capital at Kilkenny, and began to raise their own regular troops, more organised and capable than the feudal militias of the 1641 rebellion. Also in early 1642, the king sent in troop reinforcements from England and Scotland. The Irish Confederate War was underway. Ormond mounted several expeditions from Dublin in 1642 that cleared the area around Dublin of Confederate forces. He secured control of the Pale, and re-supplied some outlying garrisons, without serious contest. The Lords Justices, Sir William Parsons, 1st Baronet of Bellamont and Sir John Borlase, who suspected him because he was related to many of the Confederate leaders, recalled him from command, but he succeeded securing much of County Kildare in February 1642. Next, he managed to lift the siege of Drogheda in March 1642. In April he relieved the royalist garrisons at Naas, Athy and Maryborough, and on his return to Dublin he won the Battle of Kilrush against a larger force. On 30 August 1642 he was created Marquess of Ormond. He received the public thanks of the English Parliament and a monetary reward, and in September 1642 was put in command with a commission direct from the king.
In March 1643, Ormond ventured with his troops to New Ross, County Wexford, deep in the territory of the Catholic Confederation, and won a small but indecisive victory there (Battle of New Ross) before returning to Dublin. Nevertheless, Ormond was in a difficult situation. The Confederates held two-thirds of the island. The English Civil War, started in September 1642, had removed the prospect of more reinforcements and supplies from England, and indeed the king desired to recall troops. In addition, the Scots Covenanters, who had landed an army in the northeast of Ireland at Carrickfergus to counter the Catholic rebellion in that part of the country in early 1642, had subsequently put northeast Ireland on the side of the English Parliamentarians against the king; and the relatively strong Protestant presence in and around Derry and Cork City was inclined to side with the Parliamentarians as well, and soon did so.
Isolated in Dublin in what was now a 3-sided contest, with the king desiring to reduce the Irish Royal Army, Ormond negotiated a "cessation" or ceasefire for a year with the Confederates. The truce began on 15 September 1643, By this treaty the greater part of Ireland was given up into the hands of the Catholic Confederation (leaving only districts in the north, the Dublin Pale, round Cork City, and certain smallish garrisons in the possession of Protestant commanders). This truce was vehemently opposed by the Lords Justices and the Protestant community in general in Ireland.
Soon afterwards, in November 1643, by the King's orders, Ormond dispatched a body of his troops into England to fight on the Royalist side in the Civil War, estimated at 4,000 troops, half of whom were sent from Cork. In November 1643 the king appointed Ormond as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was sworn in on 21 January 1644. The previous occupant of this post, Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, had never set foot in Ireland. Ormond's assigned mission was to prevent the king's Parliamentarian enemies from being reinforced from Ireland, and to aim to deliver more troops to fight for the Royalists in England. To these ends, he was instructed to do all in his power to keep the Scottish Covenanter army in the north of Ireland occupied. He was also given the king's authority to negotiate a treaty with the Catholic Confederation that could allow their troops to be redirected against the Parliamentarians. In August 1644, the cessation with the Confederates was extended for another year.
Ormond was faced with a difficult task in reconciling the various factions in Ireland. The Old (native) Irish and Catholic Irish of English descent ("Old English") were represented in Confederate Ireland--essentially an independent Catholic government based in Kilkenny--who wanted to come to terms with King Charles I of England in return for religious toleration and self-government. On the other side, any concession that Ormond made to the Confederates weakened his support among English and Scottish Protestants in Ireland. Ormond's negotiations with the Confederates were therefore tortuous, even though many of the Confederate leaders were his relatives or friends.
In 1644, he assisted Randall Macdonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim in mounting an Irish Confederate expedition into Scotland. The force, led by Alasdair MacColla was sent to help the Scottish Royalists and sparked off a civil war in Scotland (1644-45). This turned out to be the only intervention of Irish Catholic troops in Britain during the Civil Wars.
On 25 August 1645, Edward Somerset, Earl of Glamorgan, acting on behalf of King Charles, signed a treaty in Kilkenny with the Irish Catholic Confederates without first airing the terms of the treaty with the Irish Protestant community. Irish Protestant opposition turned out to be so intense, that Charles was forced to repudiate the treaty almost immediately out of fear of ceding almost all Irish Protestant support to the other side in the English civil war.
On 21 October 1645 Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, the papal nuncio landed in Ireland. On 28 March 1646, Ormond, on behalf of the king, concluded the First Ormond Peace, another treaty with the Confederates that granted religious concessions and removed various grievances. However, the Confederates' General Assembly in Kilkenny rejected the deal, partly due to the influence of the pope's ambassador (nuncio) Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, who worked to dissuade the Catholics from entering into a compromise. The Confederates called off their truce with Ormond, and arrested those among their number who had signed the treaty with Ormond.
Ormond then judged that he could not hold Dublin against the Confederates. He, therefore, applied to the English Long Parliament and signed a treaty with them on 19 June 1647 delivering Dublin into the hands of the Parliamentarians on terms that protected the interests of both royalist Protestants and Roman Catholics who had not actually entered into rebellion. At the beginning of August 1647, Ormond handed over Dublin, together with 3000 royalist troops under his command, to the Parliamentarian commander Michael Jones, who had recently arrived from England with 5000 Parliamentarian troops. Ormond in turn sailed for England on 28 July 1647, remarking of his surrender that he "preferred English rebels to Irish ones". On 8 August 1647 the combined royalist and parliamentarian troops won the major Battle of Dungan's Hill against the Confederates.
Ormond attended King Charles during August and October 1647 at Hampton Court Palace, but in March 1648, in order to avoid arrest by the parliament, he joined the Queen and the Prince of Wales at Paris.
In September of the same year, the pope's nuncio having been expelled, and affairs otherwise looking favourable, he returned to Ireland arriving at Cork on 29 September 1648. His aim was to unite all parties for the king.
The Irish Confederates were now much more amenable to compromise, as 1647 had seen a series of military disasters for them at the hands of English Parliamentarian forces. On 17 January 1649 Ormond concluded a peace with the rebels on the basis of the free exercise of their religion.
On the execution of the Charles I (30 January 1649) he proclaimed his loyalty to Charles II, who made him a Knight of the Garter in September 1649. Ormond was placed in command of the Irish Confederates' armies and also English Royalist troops who were landed in Ireland from France.
However, despite controlling almost all of Ireland before August 1649, Ormond was unable to prevent the conquest of Ireland by Cromwell in 1649-50. Ormond tried to retake Dublin by laying siege to the city in the summer of 1649, but was routed at the Battle of Rathmines in August. Subsequently, he tried to halt Cromwell by holding a line of fortified towns across the country. However, the New Model Army took them one after the other, beginning with the Siege of Drogheda in September 1649.
Ormond lost most of the English and Protestant Royalist troops under his command when they mutinied and went over to Cromwell in May 1650. This left him with only the Irish Catholic forces, who distrusted him greatly. Ormond was ousted from his command in late 1650.
He left Ireland for France sailing from Galway on 7 December 1650, but stopped over at Gleninagh Castle, on the southern shore of the Bay of Galway, from where he then started his passage to France on 11 December. He sailed on a small frigate, the Elizabeth, which the Duke of York had sent him from Jersey. Caught in winter storms, they reached Perros in Brittany after three weeks. Ormond was accompanied among others by Inchiquin, Bellings and Daniel O'Neill.
A synod held at the Augustinian abbey in Jamestown, County Leitrim, repudiated Ormond and excommunicated his followers. In Cromwell's Act of Settlement of 1652, all of Ormond's lands in Ireland were confiscated and he was excepted from the pardon given to those Royalists who had surrendered by that date. His name heads the list of over 100 men who were excluded from pardon.
Ormond, though desperately short of money, was in constant attendance on Charles II and the Queen Mother in Paris, and accompanied the King to Aix and Cologne when he was expelled from France by the terms of Mazarin's treaty with Cromwell in 1655. In April 1656 Ormond was one of two signatories who agreed the Treaty of Brussels, securing an alliance for the Royalists with the Spanish court. In 1658, he went disguised, and at great risk, on a secret mission into England to gain trustworthy intelligence as to the chances of an uprising. He attended the king at Fuenterrabia in 1659, had an interview with Mazarin, and was actively engaged in the secret transactions immediately preceding the Restoration. Relations between Ormond and the Queen Mother became increasingly strained; when she remarked that "if she had been trusted, the King had now been in England", Ormond retorted that "if she had never been trusted, the King had never been out of England".
On the return of Charles to England as king, Ormond was appointed a commissioner for the treasury and the navy, made Lord Steward of the Household, a Privy Councillor, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset (an office which he resigned in 1672), High Steward of Westminster, Kingston and Bristol, chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin, Baron Butler of Llanthony and Earl of Brecknock in the peerage of England; and on 30 March 1661 he was created Duke of Ormond in the Irish peerage and made Lord High Steward of England, for Charles's coronation that year. At the same time, he recovered his enormous estates in Ireland, and large grants in recompense of the fortune he had spent in the royal service were made to him by the king, while in the following year the Irish Parliament presented him with £30,000. His losses, however, according to Carte, exceeded his gains by nearly a million £. See also Act of Settlement 1662.
On 4 November 1661, he once more received the lord lieutenancy of Ireland, and busily engaged in the work of settling that country. The main problem was the land question, and the Act of Explanation was passed through the Irish parliament by Ormond, on 23 December 1665.
His heart was in his government, and he vehemently opposed the Importation Act 1667 prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle, which struck so fatal a blow at Irish trade; and retaliated by prohibiting the import into Ireland of Scottish commodities, and obtained leave to trade with foreign countries. He encouraged Irish manufacture and learning, and it was due to his efforts that the Irish College of Physicians owes its incorporation.
He had great influence over the appointment of judges: while he naturally wished to appoint to the Bench men of legal ability, a record of loyalty to the Crown was also generally required. It is interesting that he was prepared to appoint judges of Gaelic descent, like James Donnellan, and even some who were known to have Roman Catholic leanings. He was criticised for favouring old friends like John Bysse who were considered too infirm to be effective, but this also shows one of his main virtues, loyalty: as Elrington Ball remarks, those whom Ormond had ever loved, he loved to the end. Himself a merciful man, he encouraged the Irish judges to show a similar spirit of clemency; as he remarked, a man who has been reprieved can later be hanged, but a man who has been hanged can never be reprieved. In general, the judges followed his example and, by the standards of the age, were merciful enough.
Ormond's personality had always been a striking one, and he was highly regarded. He was dignified and proud of his loyalty, even when he lost royal favour, declaring, "However ill I may stand at court I am resolved to lye well in the chronicle". Ormond soon became the mark for attack from all that was worst in the court. Buckingham especially did his utmost to undermine his influence. Ormond's almost irresponsible government of Ireland during troubled times was open to criticism.
He had billeted soldiers on civilians, and had executed martial law. He was threatened by Buckingham with impeachment. In March 1669, Ormond was removed from the government of Ireland and from the committee for Irish affairs. He made no complaint, insisted that his sons and others over whom he had influence should retain their posts, and continued to fulfil the duties of his other offices, while his character and services were recognised in his election as Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 4 August 1669.
In 1670, an extraordinary attempt was made to assassinate the duke by a ruffian and adventurer named Thomas Blood, already notorious for an unsuccessful plot to surprise Dublin Castle in 1663, and later for stealing the royal crown from the Tower. Ormond was attacked by Blood and his accomplices while driving up St James's Street on the night of 6 December 1670, dragged out of his coach, and taken on horseback along Piccadilly with the intention of hanging him at Tyburn. Ormond, however, succeeded in overcoming the horseman to whom he was bound, and escaped.
The outrage, it was suspected, had been instigated by Buckingham, who was openly accused of the crime by Lord Ossory, Ormond's son, in the king's presence, and threatened by him with instant death if any violence should happen to his father. These suspicions were encouraged by the improper action of the king in pardoning Blood, and in admitting him to his presence and treating him with favour after his apprehension while endeavouring to steal the crown jewels.
In 1671 Ormond successfully opposed Richard Talbot's attempt to upset the Act of Settlement 1662. In 1673, he again visited Ireland, returned to London in 1675 to give advice to Charles on affairs in parliament, and in 1677 was again restored to favour and reappointed to the lord lieutenancy. On his arrival in Ireland, he occupied himself in placing the revenue and the army upon a proper footing. Upon the outbreak of the disturbances caused by the Popish Plot (1678) in England, Ormond at once took steps towards rendering the Roman Catholics, who were in the proportion of 15 to 1, powerless; and the mildness and moderation of his measures served as the ground of an attack upon him in England led by Shaftesbury, from which he was defended with great spirit by his own son Lord Ossory. While wary of defending Oliver Plunkett publicly, in private he denounced the obvious falsity of the charges against him - of the informers who claimed that Plunkett had hired them to kill the King he wrote that "no schoolboy would have trusted them with the design of robbing an orchard".
In 1682 Charles summoned Ormond to court. The same year he wrote "A Letter, from a Person of Honour in the Country, in answer to the earl of Anglesey, his Observations upon the earl of Castlehaven's Memoires concerning the Rebellion of Ireland", and gave Charles general support. On 29 November 1682, an English dukedom was conferred upon him, and in June 1684 he returned to Ireland, but he was recalled in October in consequence of fresh intrigues. Before he could give up his government to Rochester, Charles II died; and Ormond's last act as lord lieutenant was to proclaim James II in Dublin.
Ormond also served as the sixth Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin between 1645 and 1688, although he was in exile for the first fifteen years of his tenure.
Subsequently, Ormond lived in retirement at Cornbury in Oxfordshire, a house lent to him by Lord Clarendon, but emerged in 1687 to offer opposition at the board of the Charterhouse to James's attempt to assume the dispensing power and force upon the institution a Roman Catholic candidate without taking the oaths. Ormond also refused the king his support in the question of the Indulgence; James, to his credit, refused to take away his offices, and continued to hold him in respect and favour to the last. Despite his long service to Ireland he admitted that he had no wish to spend his last years there.
Ormond died on 21 July 1688 at Kingston Lacy estate, Dorset, not having, as he rejoiced to know, "outlived his intellectuals".(not having become senile) Ormond was buried in Westminster Abbey on 4 August 1688. His eldest son, Thomas, 6th Earl of Ossory, predeceased him, but Ossory's eldest son James succeeded as 2nd Duke of Ormond (1665-1745).
The anonymous author of Ormond's biography in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) wrote that with him disappeared the greatest and grandest figure of the times, and that Ormond's splendid qualities were expressed with some felicity in verses written on welcoming his return to Ireland and printed in 1682:
- A Man of Plato's grand nobility,
- An inbred greatness, innate honesty;
- A Man not form'd of accidents, and whom
- Misfortune might oppress, not overcome
- Who weighs himself not by opinion
- But conscience of a noble action.
|0||1610, 19 Oct||Born at Clerkenwell, London|
|9||1619, 15 Dec||Father drowned at sea. James became heir apparent as Viscount Thurles.|
|12||1623, 26 May||Made a ward of the Earl of Desmond, by order of the King|
|14||1625, 27 Mar||Accession of King Charles I, succeeding King James I|
|19||1629, 25 Dec||Married Elizabeth Preston|
|22||1633, 24 Feb||Succeeded his grandfather as the 12th Earl of Ormond]].|
|31||1642, 15 Apr||Defeated the Confederates under Mountgarrett at the skirmish of Kilrush.|
|31||1642, 30 Aug||Created Marquess of Ormond.|
|32||1643, 15 Sep||Signed the Cessation (truce) he had negotiated with the Confederates.|
|33||1643, Nov||Appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland|
|35||1645, 21 Oct||Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, the papal nuncio, landed in Ireland.|
|35||1646, 28 Mar||Signed 1st Ormond Peace with the confederates, but it was never ratified.|
|36||1647, 28 Jul||Left for England.|
|37||1648, Feb||Escaped from London to France.|
|37||1648, 29 Sep||Returned to Ireland landing at Cork|
|38||1649, 17 Jan||Signed the 2nd Ormond Peace with the Confederates|
|38||1649, 30 Jan||King Charles I beheaded.|
|38||1649, 23 Feb||The papal nuncio Giovanni Battista Rinuccini left Ireland.|
|38||1649, Aug||Lost the Battle of Rathmines against the Parliamentarians under Michael Jones|
|38||1649, Sep||Made a Knight of the Garter|
|40||1650, 11 Dec||Left Ireland, sailing on the frigate Elizabeth from Gleninagh Castle in the Bay of Galway|
|49||1660, 29 May||Restoration of King Charles II|
|50||1661, 30 Mar||Created Duke of Ormond in the Irish Peerage|
|51||1661, 4 Nov||Appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland|
|69||1680, 30 Jul||Son Thomas, Earl of Ossory, died.|
|74||1685, 6 Feb||Accession of King James II, succeeding King Charles II|
|77||1688, 21 Jul||Died at Kingston Lacy estate, Dorset, England|
The lineage of the Butlers can be traced back to James Butler born in 1331 in Knocktopher Castle, Arklow, Wicklow, Ireland. This James Butler was the son of Eleanor Bohun who was granddaughter of Edward I of England.
|Ancestors of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond|
His Majesty has been graciously pleased to Create his Grace the Duke of Ormond in the kingdom of Ireland, a duke in his kingdom by the name and title of James Duke of Ormond.