James Butler 4th Earl of Ormond

Butler, James, 4th Earl of Ormond, known as the "White Earl," was, like many of his predecessors, a minor when his father died. He received an education in advance of most young Irish lords of his time. Before he was of age he distinguished himself in the field against the Irish, was made Lord-Deputy, and held a Parliament in Dublin about 1408. He travelled in France with Thomas of Lancaster in 1412. In 1420 he attended Henry V. in his French wars, and ingratiated himself so much with that monarch that he returned to Ireland as Lord-Lieutenant. He headed expeditions against the native septs into Ulster and other parts of the country. A few months after Henry V.'s death he was replaced in the government of Ireland by Edmund Mortimer. The Earl held the office of Lord-Deputy in 1425 and 1440, and was Lord-Lieutenant in 1443. A violent feud arose between the Butlers and Talbots; and members of the latter family used every endeavour, but without success, to lessen the esteem in which he was held by Henry VI. He died at Ardee, 23rd August 1452, and was buried at St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin. His first wife was a daughter of the Earl of Kildare, his second the widow of Earl Grey. The White Earl was esteemed a deep student of history and antiquities, and a proficient in the laws of arms and matters of honour. He endowed the College of Heralds with lands, and advanced the study and culture of Irish heraldry.


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

339. Ware, Sir James, Works: Walter Harris. 2 vols. Dublin, 1764.