The Butler family now appear prominently in Irish history for the first time. It would appear from Carte that the name was originally Walter, Butler being an addition distinctive of office. The family was established in Ireland by Theobald Walter (Gaultier), an Anglo-Norman of high rank, who received extensive grants of land from Henry II., together with the hereditary office of “Pincerna,” Boteler, or Butler, in Ireland, to the Kings of England. In this capacity he and his successors were to attend these monarchs at their coronation, and present them, with the first cup of wine. In return they obtained many privileges. On account of the quarrels between this family and the De Burgos, De Berminghams, Le Poers, and the southern Geraldines, royal letters were issued, commanding them, under pain of forfeiture, to desist from warring on each other. The result was a meeting of the factious peers in Dublin, at which they engaged to keep the “King’s peace.” On the following day they were entertained by the Earl of Ulster; the next day, at St. Patrick’s, by Maurice FitzThomas; and the third day by the Viceroy and his fellow Knights Hospitallers, who had succeeded the Templars at Kilmainham. The Earldoms of Ormonde and Desmond were now created. The heads of these families long occupied an important place in Irish affairs. Butler died on his return from a pilgrimage to Compostella, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Jacques—“a liberal, friendly, pleasant, and stately youth”—who was married this year to King Edward’s cousin, Eleanor, daughter of the Earl of Essex. The Desmond peerage was created in 1329, when the County Palatine of Kerry was given to that family.
The quarrels of these nobles seemed to have originated, or rather to have culminated, in an insulting speech made by Poer to FitzGerald, whom he designated a “rhymer.” The “King’s peace” did not last long; and in 1330 the Lord Justice was obliged to imprison both Desmond and Ulster, that being the only method in which they could be “bound over to keep the peace.” The following year Sir Anthony de Lucy was sent to Ireland, as he had a reputation for summary justice. He summoned a Parliament in Dublin; but as the barons did not condescend to attend, he adjourned it to Kilkenny. This arrangement also failed to procure their presence. He seized Desmond, who had been placed in the care of the Sheriff of Limerick, and conveyed him to Dublin Castle. Several other nobles were arrested at the same time. Sir William Bermingham was confined with his son in the Keep of Dublin Castle, which still bears his name. He was hanged there soon after. De Lucy was recalled to England, probably in consequence of the indignation which was excited by this execution.