Piers BUTLER

(8th E. Ormonde)

Born: ABT 1467

Acceded: 1515

Died: 26 Aug 1539

Buried: St. Canice, Kilkenny, Ireland

Father: James BUTLER (Sir)

Mother: Sabine KAVANAGH

Married: Margaret FITZGERALD (C. Ormonde) ABT 1485

Children:

1. James BUTLER (9 E. Ormonde)

2. Margaret BUTLER

3. Thomas BUTLER

4. Richard BUTLER (1 V. Mountgarret)

5. Edmund BUTLER (Archbishop of Cashel)

6. Catherine BUTLER (C. Desmond)

7. Joan BUTLER

8. Helen BUTLER (C. Thomond)

9. Eleanor BUTLER



Known as the "Red Piers". 1st. Seneschal of the Liberty of Tipperary. Chief Governor of Ireland. Piers married Margaret FitzGerald, daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare. This couple were great builders. They are credited with important additions to Granagh Castle in Kilkenny; they rebuilt another Butler castle at Gowran, Kilkenny; founded Kilkenny College (one of Ireland's oldest surviving schools) in 1536 and they were also responsible for work at Ormond Castle.

In the early years of their marriage Piers and his wife were reduced to penury by Sir James Dubh "Black James" Ormond, the ambitious agent, and bastard nephew, of the absentee Thomas, 7 Earl of Ormond. Such was their plight that they were forced to lurk in the woods where Margaret, being great with child and upon necessity constrained to use a spare diet (for her only sustenance was milk) she longed sore for wine; and calling her lord and a trusty servant of his, James White, unto her, she requested them both to help her to some wine. "Truly, Margaret', quoth Sir Piers, 'Thou shalt have store of wine within this four and twenty hours, or else thou shalt feed alone on milk for me'.

The next day following Piers, having intelligence that his enemy, the base Butler, would have travelled from Donmore to Kilkenny; notwithstanding he were accompanied with six horesemen, yet Piers having none but his lackey, did forestal him in the way, and with a courageous charge gored the bastard through with his spear. Piers himself then became Ormond's agent and presumably Margaret got her wine. But it required all his pertinacity to get himself recognised as the true heir to the earldom. The existence of two elder brothers would have been an insuperable stumbling block, had not both of them been born before their parents had received the necessary papal dispensation for marriage. Then there was the Boleyn bombshell.

Forced to give up Earldom of Ormonde to Anne Boleyn's father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, in 1529, after Henry VIII fell for her, in return Butler was created 1st Earl of Ossory. After the fall of Anne Boleyn 1536, and the death shortly after without male heir of her father, he succeeded in regaining Earldom of Ormonde, always numbered as 8th Earl (Boleyn not counted). Piers emerged from the interlude with two Earldoms and died the next year in 1539. He was the first of the earls of Ormond to be buried in St Canice's Cathedral.

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