James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond (1305 – 6 January 1338). James is buried in St. Mary's Collegiate Church Gowran, Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, was a noble in the Peerage of Ireland.
He was the son of Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick, Justiciar of Ireland, (1268- 13 September 1321) and Joan FitzGerald, Countess of Carrick. His paternal grandparents were Theobald le Botiller (1242–1285), (son of Theobald le Botiller and Margery de Burgh), and Joan FitzJohn (FitzGeffrey) (died 4 April 1303), daughter of John FitzGeoffrey, Lord of Shere, Justiciar of Ireland, and Isabel Bigod. His maternal grandfather was John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare.
Upon his father's death in 1321, the only hereditary title that James held was that of Chief Butler Of Ireland. As the 7th Chief Butler, he inherited the title from his ancestor Theobald Fitzwalter whose successors adopted the surname Butler. A gap of 7 years was to follow before James was rewarded for his loyalty to the Crown with an earldom in his own right. His benefactor, King Edward III created him the first Earl of Ormond by patent, bearing date 2 November 1328 at Salisbury, the King then holding a Parliament there, with the creation fee of £10 a year. Seven days afterwards, by patent dated at Wallingford, in consideration of his services, and the better to enable him to support the honour, the King gave to him the regalities, liberties, knights fees, and other royal privileges of the county of Tipperary, and the rights of a palatine in that county for life.
At the same time, the king created Roger Mortimer as the 1st Earl of March.
In 1336 he founded the friary of Carrick-Begg (a townland on the River Suir opposite Carrick-on-Suir) for Franciscan Friars. On 3 June of that year, he gave the friars his castle and estate of Carrick, of which they took possession on Sunday the feast of SS. Peter and Paul.
Marriage and Children
In 1327, he married Eleanor de Bohun (1304-1363), daughter of The 4th Earl of Hereford and The Lady Elizabeth, herself a daughter of King Edward I of England, and they had two daughters and two sons:
- John Butler (born and died an infant in 1330)
- Anne Butler (b. 1328 died a year later in 1329)
- Eleanor (1330-1392/1346-1375)
- Petronella Butler (1332-23 April 1368), married Gilbert Talbot, 3rd Baron Talbot, son of Richard Talbot, 2nd Baron Talbot and Elizabeth Comyn, and had issue.
- Elizabeth Butler (1330-1392), married after 20 July 1359, Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Desmond, son of Maurice FitzThomas, Earl of Desmond and Aveline FitzMorice, and had issue.
- James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond (4 Oct 1331 – 18 Oct 1382), married Elizabeth Darcy daughter of Sir John Darcy, Lord Justice of Ireland, and Joan de Burgh, and had issue. James was born at Kilkenny and given in ward, 1 September 1344, to Maurice, Earl of Desmond, for the fine of 2306 marcs; and afterward to Sir John Darcy who married him to his daughter Elizabeth. He was usually called the noble Earl, on account of his descent from the Royal Family.
James' successors held the title Earl of Ormond, later merged with the higher title of Duke of Ormonde and held palatine rights in County Tipperary until the County Palatine of Tipperary Act 1715.