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Ballintemple: Dark Knights, Blue Bells


Major Piers Butler had been living in America for close on 20 years when he embarked on his first return trip to his Irish homeland in the summer of 1785. Life on the 41-year-old Carlow man’s plantations in South Carolina had been increasingly awkward ever since the outbreak of war between the colonists and the British Redcoats who sought to govern them. Major Butler would be among those who gathered in Philadelphia to sign the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Shortly before he embarked on his journey across the Atlantic, he wrote to a friend of his excitement at seeing his birthplace once again. ‘Ballintemple! What an Irish name!’

Baile an Teampaill & the Knights Templar
Ballintemple is of course an Irish name, an Anglicized version of Baile an Teampaill, indicating that Major Butler’s family home stood upon the site of a sanctuary or settlement attached to an ancient temple. Little remains of this temple today but Lewis’s invaluable Topographical Dictionary of Ireland states that, in 1837, there was at Ballintemple “the ruins of an old church, beautifully situated on the margin of the River Slaney”. All the signs suggest that the original temple at Ballintemple belonged to the Knights Templar. This extraordinary, often controversial military order was established by the Papacy in 1119 to protect pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem permitted them to keep their arms in the Temple of Solomon at the rear of his castle; hence the name ‘templar’. By 1129 they had come under the influence of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Cistercian Order. He established the orders’ hierarchy, greatly increased the membership and created a code, binding the knights to vows of poverty and celibacy. The Templar code decreed that no knight retreat unless outnumber by more than three to one. The Knights reputation and strength grew with astonishing speed over the 12th century. By the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, they were the wealthiest Order in Europe, boasting their own merchant navy and several major financial institutions. As the vanguard of Europe’s crusading armies, the Order inevitably became well acquainted with the philosophies and ritual secrets of their Muslim and Judaic brothers. This may have inspired the Christian leaders to conspire upon the Order’s downfall. On Black Friday 13th October 1307 the Pope, then captive of King Philip of France, excommunicated all members of the Knights Templar.

The Legacy of William Marshall
The Knights first arrived in Ireland in the wake of the Cambro-Norman invasion of 1169, initially settling at Templetown, County Wexford, but gradually securing strongholds throughout Ireland from Templemore, County Tipperary, to Temple House, County Sligo. During the early years of the Norman conquest, Carlow formed part of the Irish inheritance of the great Norman magnate, William Marshall. Shortly before his death in 1216, he was made an honorary knight of the Order. It is my belief that William Marshall donated the lands at Ballintemple to the Knights Templar for use as a sanctuary. The site made practical sense. The nearby village of Aghade, one of the few fordable points across the Slaney, was an important pass between the Norman strongholds of Wexford and Dublin. One of the benefits of being a Templar was exemption from payment of the hefty toll taxes levied at fords such as Aghade.

Sir Thomas Butler of Cloghrennan
Although the history of the Knights Templar was much censored over the course of the Middle Ages, their stories became the stuff of legends. It seems likely that their name still conjured a great deal in popular imagination when their former sanctuary at Ballintemple was granted to an off-shoot branch of the great Butler House of Ormonde. In 1564 Wiliam (Roo) O’Nolan of Kilbride granted all his possessions in Ballintemple to Sir Edmund Butler. (A History of the O’Nolan’s, Art Kavanagh & Fr. John Nolan, p 260). More information on William can be found in that book but suffice it to say, he was pardoned for being in rebellion with the Butlers in 1559 and 1566. (William may have been William of “Ballywilliamroe” townland next to the the ruins of Ballymoon castle).

Sir Edmund was father of both ‘Black Tom’ Butler, the Earl of Ormonde and Sir Thomas Butler of Cloghrennan. Sir Thomas was Sir Edmund’s illegitimate son but, with Black Tom, grew up in England in the same household as the future Queen Elizabeth. Loyalty to the Houses of Tudor and Stuart paid off when Thomas was elevated to the peerage by Charles I in 1628. In due course, he found himself centre stage of the Confederate Wars. His cousin, the Earl (later “Great Duke”) of Ormonde convened a large royalist Confederate army at his castle at Cloghrennan (near Milford) in 1649. The army was duly annihilated by the English at Rathmines and Cloghrennan Castle blown apart by Cromwel’s canons. Sir Thomas and his wife, Lady Anne, were arrested and held prisoner in Kilkenny Castle. Lady Anne later recalled the waters of the River Barrow filled with the bloated carcasses of slaughtered innocents.

The Great Duke & Sir Thomas Butler, MP
The restoration of Charles II and the House of Stuart in 1660 would have stood the Butler family in good stead. Sir Thomas’s cousin, the Earl of Ormonde, was created Lord Deputy of Ireland and, in 1682, elevated to the Duchy. Would this enlightened soul not have rewarded his long-suffering kinsman with a grant of lands, perhaps even the lands on which the Knights Templar once gathered? The lands at Ballintemple had been part of the vast estate purchased by Ormonde’s forefathers in the late 14th century. The Duke must have been aware of the Knights Templar, perhaps through his friendship with Charles II. In 1680 he founded the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham as a home for wounded army pensioners. Symbolic or not, Kilmainham was itself a former stronghold of the Knights. The family survived the upheavals of King James II’s fall in 1691 intact, no doubt helped by their Protestant faith. Sir Thomas’s grandson, Sir Thomas Butler, 3rd Bart, of Garryhunden, represented Carlow as an MP from 1692 until the death of Queen Mary in 1703. His sister Arrabella Butler married John Warren, MP for the Borough of Carlow in 1689, son of Henry and Elizabeth Warren of Grangebegg Co Kildare. After Arabella’s death, John Warren married secondly Katherine Walsh (whose sister was married to Morgan Kavanagh), a Catholic. Warren was subsequently attainted as a Jacobite supporte rand lost significant land holdings in Carlow around Ballon and Tullow.

Sir Richard Butler represented County Carlow in the Irish parliament from 1783 until 1790 when Henry Bruen, flush with the money he made transporting British arms during the American War of Independence, put in a challenge. Sir Richard. had led a rather undistinguished parliamentary career. He apparently spent the 1780s ‘trying to bargain with the Crown for patronage of one of his brothers in exchange for political support, and when that failed he joined the opposition’. In August 1789, Finn’s Leinster Journal reckoned Bruen’s victory was inevitable, prompting an angry letter from Lady Henrietta Butler to the editor, accusing him of writing ‘as if her grandson, Sir Richard Butler, was supine, who, she well knows, is determined to support an old and steady interest, and has the most flattering prospect of having again the honour he now enjoys’. However, in April 1790, Richard announced that ‘by a concurrence of unexpected circumstances’ and from motives which his friends would approve, he was withdrawing from the race. After Bruen’s death in December 1795, Richard resumed his old seat and served from 1796 until the Act of Union abolished the Irish Parliament. Anti-Unionists suspected he took a bribe in order to desert their cause. One official source described Sir Richard as a ‘Tony Lumpkin’, a nod to Goldsmith’s fool in Stoops to Conquer. Malcomson, 25-29. [Bear in mind that one of those commenting on this was South Carolina Senator Pierce Butler] [The letters of Pierce Butler, 1790-1794: nation building and enterprise in the new American republic, p. 100, edited by Terry W. Lipscomb (Univ of South Carolina Press, 2007)

Extract from book in the Pat Purcell Papers entitled “Memories of the Different Rebellions in Ireland” published in 1801 by Sir Richard Musgrave.

“In 1796 most of the Popish yeomen [Roman Catholics] in County Carlow were disaffected, and would, had an opportunity offered, have turned their arms against their King and country. In Sir Richard Butler’s cavalry at Garryhundon in the County of Carlow, nine papists of whom his permanent sergeant was one, conspired to murder its Protestant members. The Sergeant and his popish friends were to have been posted in the rear of the action against the Rebels and his fellow conspirators were to have fired on the Protestant Cavalry men shooting them in the back. Seven of the papists were convicted and hanged, the other two fled : but later turned themselves in under the proclamation obtained their pardon.”

This tallies with Ryan’s conclusions: ‘In Sir Richard Butler’s corps of cavalry, nine papists of whom his permanent serjeant was one conspired to murder its Protestant members. The serjeant was to have posted in the rear the conspirators, who were to have fired on the Protestants in action. Seven of them were convicted and hanged, the other two fled, but coming in under the proclamation obtained their pardon.’

The Construction of Ballintemple House
The chief hazard of writing the history of Ballintemple House is that scant little information about the house survived its burning in 1917. Thus we do not know when it was built, who built it or even which of the family commissioned it. That said, it is my belief that the original house of Ballintemple was built for Sir Richard Butler, 5th Bart, father of the Major Butler who fought in the American Revolution. He stood as MP for Carlow from 1729 to 1761 and married a cousin of the Duke of Northumberland. 18th century MPs were wont to devote their latter years to overseeing the construction of magnificent new homes that might reflect their lifetime achievements for centuries to come. Such properties were erected throughout Carlow at this time – consider Burton Hall (1730), Viewmount House (1750), Beechy Park (1750s), Duckett’s Grove (pre-Gothic, 1760s) and Browne’s Hill (1763). Sir Richard was a man of considerable wealth and political prowess. He would have required a sizeable house for a family of four sons and six daughters and perhaps, as befitting the age, he decided to build a new home at Ballintemple. It is certainly relevant to note that the parish records in Aghade state that (Major) Piers Butler was born ‘at Ballintemple’ on 11th July 1744.

Reflections Past from 1862
This article from the Pat Purcell Papers gives some added insight into the family history at this point. It is based on a letter sent to Pat in May 1931 which was 52, double sided hand-written pages in length, and which has been kindly edited, transcribed and abbreviated by Michael Purcell. The letter of 1931 was sent by J. Hallam [?] of Threadneedle Street, London, and sought ‘information on the present ownership and standing of Steuart’s Lodge situated in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.’ Mr. Hallam enclosed the following chronicle compiled by his Carlow-born grandmother, the wife of Rev. William Hickey of County Cork. He reckoned ‘she commenced writing this on her 49th wedding anniversary in 1862′. She lived to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of her wedding day – they were married in 1813, her husband died in 1875, she died in 1877.

December 11th 1862.
Family motto ;
Today is the anniversary of my marriage, 49 years ago !.
How like a dream does that period seem to me now !.
I can scarcely identify myself with the then blooming bride of twenty-one summers, and alas ! what changes have passed upon those who witnessed my wedding ; many of them have entered into eternity, and upon those that remain Time has laid a heavy blighting hand.
But I must not sentimentalise.
I have been asked by my children to note down my personal recollections, and also the traditional accounts of my ancestors, and of those connected with me by ties of blood ; in short to write a family chronicle, and I shall endeavour to do so, although the task will be a sad and difficult journey into the Golden days of past.
I was born on the 24th May 1792, at Steuarts Lodge, in the County of Carlow. My father, John Steuart, was the proprietor of a small estate which had been in his family for only two generations. His grandfather, the Honourable John Steuart, was a younger son of the third Earl of Galloway. He left Scotland to serve as Colonel of a British Regiment, and was in 1707 Brigadier General at the Battle of Almanza in Spain during the War of succession. He was left for dead on the battlefield of Almanza, but was rescued by the servants of a Spanish lady who resided near the field of battle, and who despatched her servants to help the wounded. Upon his recovery he was received by Queen Anne, who, as a mark of her favour, bestowed upon him a magnificent diamond ring, and also it is said gave him the white satin quilt and pillow case all now in my possession. He sold his Army commission and bought an estate and house in County Carlow. He moved to Carlow and at the age of 60 married Bridget, sister to Admiral Pocklington.
They had two children, a daughter, Henrietta, who married Anthony Weldon, Esquire, of Kilmarony, and a son, William who married twice, first to Anne Eliza Butler, daughter of Sir Richard Butler, of Ballintemple, Carlow and secondly Miss Swift.
My father’s step-mother, Miss Swift was a woman of extravagant habits, is said to have indulged in a new pair of gloves every day, and a new pair of stays every week, and as her other tastes corresponded to these small items, she found it necessary to raise money in order to gratify them, therefore, following my grandfather’s death, she sold the Diamond ring which had been presented to my ancestor, the Honourable John Steuart by Queen Anne. She also sold a silver shield which had been an heirloom in the Steuart family of the ROYAL STUARTS of which the Galloway family were the elder Branch.
By his first marriage to Anne Butler, he had a son John (my father) and five daughters viz., Bridget, Henrietta, Anne, Mary and Hannah,
by his second marriage to Miss Swift he had a son, William, and three daughters, viz., Emily, Catherine, and Sophia.
[The letter then names in great length and detail who the children married. Here are some of the marriages that may be of interest to our readers – Michael Purcell]
Anne married Thomas Whelan, Esquire. [related to Pilsworth Whelan ].
Mary married Edward Dillon, Esquire. and had a numerous family.
Hannah married Mr Ward, and had no family.
Of the children by the second marriage, William became Colonel of the 3rd Bombay Infantry.
Emily married Mr Medlycott.
Catherine married Mr Keegan.
Sophia married first, Mr Boyce and secondly, Mr Snow, an Englishman.
Henrietta married twice, first to Captain Obins, ( her son Hamlet, Colonel Obins married Miss Keogh of Killbride, Carlow. )
Henrietta’s second marriage to Rev. Joseph Miller, produced three daughters, Henrietta (Mrs Le Hunte of Artramont ) Mary Ann (Mrs Jacob), Ellen, (Mrs Bayly).
I must now speak of my great grandmother Lady Butler.
I remember as a child sitting upon her great bed. I was about 4 years old when she died. She was formerly Miss Percy, of the Northumberland House. Her husband was Sir Richard Butler, she was early left a widow when her husband, Sir Richard, died on a visit at Kilkenny Castle. to visit his cousin, Lord Ormonde, having been accidentally suffocated by the sulphur of Kilkenny coal in his bedroom.
Her eldest son was killed by a fall from his horse when out hunting ;
Her second son, Pierce, emigrated to America, and served under General Washington in the American Army. ( his grandson, Pierce Mease Butler married Miss Fanny Kemble in 1834 , the noted British actress and writer. )
Her third son, William, married Harriet Nickson.
Her eldest daughter, Anne Eliza, married my grandfather William Steuart.
Her second daughter was Henrietta, Mrs Eustace, from whom is descended the present Countess of Howth.
Her third daughter, Jane, married the Hon. Mr French, brother to the Earl of Clancarty. (Her son was Captain Nicolas French, Inspector of Constabulary. ).
Her fourth daughter, Miss Butler, married Mr Gordon of Belmount.
Her fifth daughter, Fanny, died unmarried.
It is a rather singular circumstance that for several generations there have been three Ladies Butler living at the same time, owing to the premature death of their husbands.
As my grandfather’s first wife died early in life, and my grandfather married again, Lady Butler took my father and his five sisters to live with her at Ballintemple. Her daughter, Mrs Eustace also died young and my grandmother also took her children into her care at Ballintemple. At one point thirty of her descendants resided at one time beneath her roof. Her only income was £1,000 per annum, what would the present generation think of so many being supported by such a sum ? However, she had several acres of land in her own possession and tended a very productive garden that supplied all of the necessary dietary needs for her extensive extended family. She attained a great age, and her death was a heavy loss to many of her descendants.
Having given the foregoing account of my paternal relatives, I must proceed to that of my maternal ones.
My mother was the only daughter of a Carlow gentleman of the name of Whelan, who by his first marriage had a son who married my father’s sister Ann Steuart, whose children, of whom, I shall speak presently, were thus doubly connected with myself, as in the case of the Butlers of Broonville.
My grandfather Whelan must I think have been dead at the time of my birth in 1792 or soon after, as I have no remembrance of him, but my earliest childish reminiscences are connected with my venerable grandmother, Anna Maria Whelan, formerly Nickson, who always lived with us till her death, which took place at the advanced age of eighty-five.
She was one of a very large family, her sisters being of the classic number of the muses, and as they all but one married and had families, my connection is necessarily a very large one ; indeed my daughters sometimes jokingly say it must extend over half Ireland.
I have said that this is to be the family chronicle, so I am bound to give the names of my great aunts, and of some of their descendants. Their name was Nickson, (1) Elizabeth, (2) Rachel, (3) Christiana, (4) Anna Maria (my grandmother, Mrs Whelan), (5) Lydia, (6) Hester, (7) Mary, (8) Letitia, (9) Harriet, (10) Francis.
My eldest great aunt, Elizabeth, married Mr. Bunbury, a gentleman of landed property in the County of Carlow. ( of whom more anon ). She had but one child, a son, Harry Bunbury, whom I remember as an agreeable oddity; he died unmarried
(2) Rachel married the Reverend Christopher Harvey, D.D., of Kyle, in the County Wexford. She had one son, the late William Harvey, and two daughters, Mrs Freke (mother of the present Lord Carberry, and of the Honourable Mrs Charles Bernard), and Mrs Randall, whose only child is now Mrs Hastings Parker. My great aunt Rachel Harvey lived to the age of ninety-one. She used to pay an annual visit to Steuart’s Lodge, where her coming was always a matter of rejoicing, and her daughters were two of the most fascinating creatures I ever knew.
(3) My great aunt Christina was named after her great aunt and godmother, Mrs Hutchinson, the wife of her great uncle, Richard Hutchinson, a gentleman of large property, and the possessor of Knocklofty, near Clonmell, County Tipperary. She, Christina, was adopted by the Hutchinsons, as they had no children, and became their heiress. She married a barrister of the name of Hely, who added the name of Hutchinson to his own name when he succeeded to the estates. He was afterwards Provost of Trinity College, and Secretary of State. He was offered a peerage, which he
declined for himself but accepted for his wife, who thus became Baroness of Donoughmore. The title was raised to that of Earl, in the person of her eldest son, Richard, and he dying unmarried, her second son, John Hely-Hutchinson, became Earl of Donoughmore. Previous to his accession to his brother’s earldom he had received the title of Lord Hutchinson for his services in Egypt, where he commanded the army after the death of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, and achieved those brilliant victories which wrested Egypt from the French. I have seen two beautiful boxes given by the Sultan to two brothers of Lord Hutchinson, who had been sent to an Embassy to Constantinople ; one was a blood stone with a crescent of diamonds on the lid, the other of purple enamel with a star of diamonds ; they were lined with gold.
This second Earl of Donoughmore was succeeded by his nephew, also named John, who had first distinguished himself in the retreat of Corunna, and afterwards acted a conspicuous part in aiding the escape of General Lavalette. John was a personal acquaintance of mine, as after his return from Spain he came to visit my mother, who was a favourite cousin of the Hutchinsons.
This John was father of the present Earl ( 1862 ).
My great aunt, Christina, the first Lady Donoughmore, besides the two earls I have mentioned here, had three sons, viz., Abraham, Christopher and Lorenzo. And also three daughters, Honourable Mary, married to a Mr. Smith, Honourable Margaret, and Prudence. The two latter died unmarried. They were great friends of Hannah More, and in order to enjoy her society took a place near Barley Wood, where during their latter years they always resided.
My fourth great aunt (5) Lydia married John Nunn, Esquire, ………..

[The above extracts were edited and abbreviated by Michael Purcell – He believes the Harry Bunbury mentioned is Henry Bunbury of PPP fame. He signed himself “Hen Bunbury” on about 200 documents. His address from 1780 – 1830s was noted as Bunbury Lodge and Johnstown and Athy Street. He was a Magistrate, Justice of the Peace and general busybody and was himself often involved in bother with the Byrnes. He constantly proffered Informations / Examinations before his fellow Magistrates]

A 1780 Election Notice: Lady Butler of Ballintemple in the County of Carlow, being informed that several of the friends of her family have lately been solicited for their Votes and Interests, as if a General Election was shortly expected, humbly takes the liberty of requesting all those who have formerly honoured the BUTLER FAMILY with their protection and support, to hold themselves disengaged until they can be properly consulted with respect to such an event———–Ballintemple, Nov. 10th 1780. (Pat Purcell Papers).

All that remains of Ballintemple today is a classical portico through which the Butler family and their guests once entered and exited the big house. It seems likely that this stylized entrance was a later addition to the Georgian building, probably added in the wake of the Act of Union when the landed gentry began rebuilding and updating their houses with renewed vigour. An estate of some 6500 acres centred on Ballintemple came into the possession of Sir Thomas Butler on the death of his father, the 7th Bart, in 1817.

Transcribed by Michael Purcell, July 2010.
Carlow Sentinel.
24th December 1881.
With deep regret we announce the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Thomas Butler, which occurred rather suddenly on the 16th December 1881, at his London residence, 66, Princess Gate, after three days’ illness of inflammation of the lungs.
This lamented gentleman, who had attained his 39th year, was only son of Thomas Butler, Esquire, and first cousin of Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, Bart.,D.L., of Ballintemple, Carlow.
About the year 1860 he was gazetted to an Ensigncy in the 58th Regiment. He was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the 4th Hussars, and subsequently to a Captaincy in the 13th Hussars, which Regiment he served several years in India, and was Colonel Commanding when the state of his health rendered necessary his retirement, on half pay, in 1879. Immediately on his return from India he came to Carlow, and as the general election was then approaching he offered himself as candidate on the Conservative side, and was warmly accepted and heartily supported by his party, as evidenced by the fact that he was only defeated by the narrow majority of twelve votes.
During his brief stay in this locality he made many friends, by whom, as well as by a very wide circle of relatives, brother officers, and acquaintances, his unexpected death is deeply and deservedly regretted.

His eldest son and heir, another Sir Thomas, wrote an intriguing journal chronicling his time with the 56th Regiment in the Crimean War while a young man. A letter written ‘TO THE EDITOR OF CARLOW SENTINEL AND THE CARLOW NATIONALIST’ in 1885 and supplied courtesy of Michael Purcell & the Pat Purcell Papers gives a short synopsis of his service:


Ballin Temple, Carlow, 17th November 1885.


In the concluding paragraph of your leading article on me in the Nationalist of the 14th, you imply that I avoided the Russian bullets in Crimea.

For your information and that of your readers, allow me to say that on the night of September 7th 1855, I was in command of a detachment on fatigue duty, carrying shot and shell to the various batteries engaged in the bombardment of Sebastopol. Men of my party were both killed and wounded.

In the action before Sepastopol, September 8th, I carried the Queen’s Colours of the 56th Regiment, and we did not try to avoid the bullets.

Yours truly, (signed) THOMAS P. BUTLER.

Carlow Sentinel (courtesy of Michael Purcell & the Pat Purcell Papers)

Dec 1883. Carlow Union. [extract]. A Protest.

A communication was read to the board signed by Maria Brennan [great-great-grandmother to Michael Brennan of Carlow Rootsweb], John Doogue and William Brennan, protesting against the erection of labourers’ cottages under the Labourers’ Act in the case of building houses, first in Ballickmoyler, and secondly and thirdly in the townland of Turra, in the Turra division, Queen’s County [Laois].

The houses objected to are those proposed to be erected on that part of the lands held by William O’ Brien, Ballickmoyler, Edward Lawler of Turra and Mrs Margaret Coogan of Turra. J.B. O’Neill said they had a right to object but they have no right to dictate.

The Chairman, Sir Thomas P. Butler marked the protest read, with the view to its being brought forward at the Local Government Board enquiry.


Transcribed by Selina Lawlor from a large advertisement poster in the Pat Purcell Papers.

The Election of a Representative to Parliament is shortly to take place.
Many of you will have the privilege of recording your votes for the first time, and it is of importance that you should have the opportunity of expressing your opinion on a question that greatly affects your interests .
I allude to the relationship that is to exist between this country and Great Britain.
I have been asked to solicit your votes and support in opposition to Separation, in favour of which a candidate has been selected for you. Being firmly convinced the The Union with Great Britain is essential to the PEACE, PROSPERITY AND LIBERTY OF ALL CLASSES AND CREEDS in this country, I shall oppose any measures that may tend to the Dismemberment of the Empire or threaten the Supremacy of the Crown.
I shall support any measures that will enable Farmers to compete on fair terms with the Foreign produce that is now flooding our Markets, and that will HELP TO REVIVE OUR NATIVE INDUSTRIES and thus IMPROVE THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING MAN.
I consider that Foreign Manufactured Goods, admitted free to this country, while ours are taxed from 10 to 60 per cent before landing in foreign countries, is unfair and presses unduly on our manufacturing population, and is only one-sided Free Trade.
With the labouring classes now enfranchised rests this important question of who is to be your representative?
Have wages and employment increased under the many promises held out during the past few years ?
How many establishments have been closed, others reduced, and men thrown out of employment ?
Before prosperity can return to this land Agitation, Tyranny, and Boycotting must cease, and LIBERTY, INDUSTRY, and FREEDOM take their place.
WORK and GOOD WAGES cannot be obtained without capital, which will not be advanced without security.
Irrespective of parties I will support all such measures as will, in my opinion, PROMOTE the PROSPERITY of IRELAND and its INHABITANTS.
For more than twenty-three years I have PERMANENTLY RESIDED amongst you, and am known to many, having taken an ACTIVE part in all matters connected with Local affairs in the county.
It has ALWAYS been my desire to ASSIST ALL whom I have come in contact to the best of my power.
TRUSTING that the same good feeling that has hitherto existed between us may always continue,
I am, Yours faithfully,
Ballin Temple, Carlow. 16th November 1885.
[Note added by Michael Purcell Jan. 2013: ‘In the ensuing election ,
Thomas Butler received 751 votes, his opponent. Ed Gray of Pembroke House, Dublin received 4,801 votes. Mr Gray was deemed elected.’ ]


The Nationalist and Leinster Times.
Nov. 14th 1885.
[ Editorial. ]
Sir Thomas P. Butler’s appeal to the Electors of Carlow, to withhold the promise of their votes until they shall have heard what he has to say to them, is one of the richest jokes of the period.
The abracadabra by which he holes to cajole the rack-rented householders of the county must be very different from the hysterical shriek of the Loyal and Patriotic Unionists from the closing circle of fire that they themselves have kindled.
He will, doubtless, be discreetly silent about rent if he holds (as it is to be presumed) his agents views. This gentleman tries to bolster up his refusal of a reduction by the declaration that in 1850 prices were as low, and rents as high, as now.
If Sir Thomas for his own amusement push that argument to its logical conclusion, he may perceive its cogency for a return to the feudal times or the restoration of the Heptarchy.
The local deadheads deserve credit for having selected him amongst them who was, personally, least objectionable.
But what does he represent , save the moribund school of politicians whose stage craft might be summed up in the saying of the Lord of Ferney – ” THE PEOPLE ARE BEASTS OF BURDEN, WHO REQUIRE THE YOKE AND GOAD”. The choice of the Conservatives must have been influenced by the consideration that Sir Thomas is a lineal descendant of one of those ” slaves who sold their land for gold, as Judas sold his God”.
At a County Cattle Show Sir Thomas once made the proud boast that he had given up the sword for the ploughshare, showing that he preferred to military glory the indolent ease of a bucolic aristocrat.
He would be acting wisely in the showing now, as then, a practical belief in the truth of the adage that declares discretion to be the better part of valour – and so avoiding the attacks of the Irish Party as adroitly as he did the Russian bullets at the Crimea.
[The following week Sir Thomas replied to the editorial with the letter about his Crimean service which you can see above this under the heading ‘Bite the Bullet’]

Life went full circle for the Butlers when one afternoon in 1899 a young American heiress introduced herself to Sir Richard Butler, 10th Bart, as Alice Mease, great-great-granddaughter of Major Piers Butler. Between 1895 and 1945, one hundred and four British peers married Americans. Sir Richard was among the early ones. In June 1906, the two married; their grandson is Sir Richard, the present Baronet. Alice wrote of Ballintemple as ‘one of the most beautiful