Pierce Butler

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« James Butler 7th Earl of Ormond | Index | James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond »

Butler, Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormond, Earl of Ossory, succeeded his father in 1515. He had already distinguished himself in the service of Crown, and had been successful in suppressing the insurrections of the native Irish. In 1521 he was appointed Lord-Deputy. His marriage with a sister of the Earl of Kildare did not extinguish the feud between the Butlers and FitzGeralds. On account of the murder of his friend, Richard Talbot,by James FitzGerald, he impeached the Earl of Kildare. The matter ended by FitzGerald being obliged to walk through London candle in hand, and a halter round his neck; on the other hand, Ormond was replaced in the office of Deputy by Kildare. At one time it is stated negotiations were set on foot for the marriage of his son to his cousin, Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII. coerced Pierce to resign his title of Earl of Ormond to Sir Thomas Boleyn, who was desirous of the honour. In its stead, the Earldom of Ossory was conferred upon him by the King, in great state, at Windsor, 23rd February 1527-'8.

After Sir Thomas Boleyn's death, Pierce was restored to his ancient honour of Ormond. By this deference to Henry VIII.'s wishes he acquired large additions to his estates in various parts of Leinster. Lord Thomas FitzGerald endeavoured to induce the Earl to join him in insurrection — offering to divide the Kingdom of Ireland with his son James. The Earl declined in a spirited letter, in which he wrote: "You are so liberal in parting stakes with me, that a man would weene you had no right to the game; and so importunate for my company, as if you would perswade me to hang with you for good fellowship. And think you that James is so mad as to gape for gudgeons, or so ungrateful as to sell his truth and loyalty for a piece of Ireland." Nettled by this reply, FitzGerald, with O'Neill and other Irish chief tains, ravaged the County of Kilkenny, and in an engagement near Jerpoint wounded and nearly took prisoner James, the Earl's son. Ormond was foremost in suppressing the insurrection, and upon the death of Kildare and the execution of his uncles in 1537, was, as a reward, further enriched by the Crown: he then turned his arms against the Earl of Desmond, who submitted, and took an oath of loyalty. He and his countess brought workmen from Flanders, and enriched Kilkenny Castle with tapestry, diapers, Turkey carpets, and cushions. The latter part of the Earl's life was spent in prayer, contemplation, and alms-giving.

He died 26th August 1539, and was buried in St. Canice's, Kilkenny. He is described as "a man of great honour and sincerity, infinitely good-natured, plain, kind, loving, familiar, and liberal to his friends and followers; but an enemy and severe scourge to all bad people." His second son was created Viscount Mountgarret, and his illegitimate son Edmund, Archbishop of Cashel.


271. Ormond, Duke of, Life 1610-'88: Thomas A. Carte, M.A. 6 vols. Oxford, 1851.

« James Butler 7th Earl of Ormond | Index | James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond »

Search Library Ireland


My Lady of the Chimney CornerMy Lady of the Chimney Corner

A memorable and moving story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In 1863 the author, Alexander Irvine, was born into dire poverty, the child of a 'mixed' marriage. His parents had survived the ravages of the famine years, but want and hunger were never to be too far away from their door. Irvine was ultimately destined to leave Ireland for America and to become a successful minister and author. He learned to read and write when he had left his home in Antrim far behind, but he came to realize that the greatest lessons he had received in life were at his mother's knee. My Lady of the Chimney Corner is the depiction of an existence that would be unthinkable in modern Ireland; but, more than that, it is the author's loving tribute to his mother, Anna, who taught him to look at the world through clean spectacles. ISBN 978-1-910375-32-7. USA orders. The book is also available as a Kindle download (UK) and Kindle download (US).

Popular Rhymes and Sayings of IrelandPopular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland

In Popular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland (first published in 1924) John J. Marshall examines the origin of a variety of rhymes and sayings that were at one time in vogue around different parts of the country, including those which he recalled from his own childhood in County Tyrone. Numerous riddles, games and charms are recounted, as well as the traditions of the ‘Wren Boys’ and Christmas Rhymers. Other chapters describe the war cries of prominent Irish septs and the names by which Ireland has been personified in literature over the centuries. The book is also available as a Kindle download.


Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland, by Asenath Nicholson, still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord’s field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be appalled and distressed.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger

This book, the prequel to Annals of the Famine in Ireland cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Refusing the luxury of hotels and first class travel, she stayed at a variety of lodging-houses, and even in the crude cabins of the very poorest. Not to be missed!

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

The Scotch-Irish in America

The Scotch-Irish in America

Henry Ford Jones' book, first published in 1915 by Princeton University, is a classic in its field. It covers the history of the Scotch-Irish from the first settlement in Ulster to the American Revolutionary period and the foundation of the country.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».


letterJoin our mailing list to receive updates on new content on Library, our latest ebooks, and more.

You won’t be inundated with emails! — we'll just keep you posted periodically — about once a monthish — on what's happening with the library.