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Richard Butler, 3rd Viscount Mountgarret (1578–1651) was the son of Edmund, second viscount Mountgarret, and Grany or Grizzel, daughter of Barnaby, first lord of Upper Ossory, and was born in 1578. He is best known for his participation in the Irish Confederate Wars on behalf of the Irish Confederate Catholics.

His first wife was Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, and having joined in his father-in-law's rebellion, he specially distinguished himself by his defence of the castles of Ballyragget and Cullihill. His estates were nevertheless confirmed to him on the death of his father in 1605, and he sat in the parliaments of 1613, 1615, and 1634.

At the Irish Rebellion of 1641 he was appointed joint governor of Kilkenny with the Earl of Ormonde, but being alarmed by designs said to have been formed against the lords of the Pale, he, after writing an explanatory letter to the Earl of Ormonde, took possession of Kilkenny in the name of the Catholic rebels. He then detached parties to secure other adjacent towns, which was done with such success that in the space of a week all the fortresses in the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford, and Tipperary were in their power.

After this he was chosen general of the Catholic Confederation which the rebels had formed to coordinate their war effort; but the county of Cork having insisted on choosing a general of its own, his forces were thereby considerably weakened, and he was defeated by the Earl of Ormonde at the Battle of Kilrush, near Athy, on 10 April 1642. Returning to Kilkenny, he was chosen president of the Supreme Council (the Confederate Government) formed there in the following summer.

In 1643 he was at the Battle of New Ross, fought by General Preston against the Marquis of Ormonde, and he took part in the capture of various fortresses. He died in 1651 during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. Although he was dead before it passed, he was excepted from pardon for life or estate by the crown in the Act of Settlement 1652 passed on 12 Aug. 1652. This was because of his participation in the rebellion of 1641.

He was buried in the chancel of St. Canice's cathedral, Kilkenny, under a monument with a eulogistic Latin inscription. By his first wife, Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, he had three sons and six daughters, of whom Edmund became fourth viscount. He was again twice married: to Thomasine (afterwards named Elizabeth), daughter of Sir William Andrews of Newport, and to Margaret, daughter of Richard Branthwaite, serjeant-at-law, and widow of Sir Thomas Spencer of Yarnton, Oxfordshire, but by neither of these marriages had he any issue.


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Edmund Butler
Viscount Mountgarret Succeeded by
Edmund Butler


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