Ballyloughan Castle (13th century).
The Butlers of Ballin Temple
The area has been the home of the same family for over 800 years by some
counts and nearly 400 years by others. The clan may be referred to as "the
Butlers of Ballin Temple" in genealogical circles. It is descended from the
Vikings (or Norse men) that came through Normandy, England and then Ireland
in 1189. Theobald Walter, the first Butler, derived the name from the title
"bouteilleur" an official, political post, like Steward or Chamberlain,
which entitled the holder to 10% of all wine cargo docking in Ireland!
Ballintemple started life as a sanctuary for members of the Knights
Templar on leave from the Crusades. The estate formed part of William
Marshall's vast inheritance through his marriage with Strongbow’s daughter
in the late 12th century. 500 years later, the land was granted to Sir
Thomas Butler of Cloghrennan, a first cousin of the “Great Duke” of Ormonde.
Sir Richard is the thirteenth generation in descent from Sir Thomas. His
forbears generally played a modest role in the affairs of state. Perhaps the
most notable family member was Piers Butler, sometime Senator of South
Carolina and co-signatory of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
One hundred years ago the Ballintemple estate amounted to some 7000
acres, upon which Sir Richard’s grandfather developed his passion for
breeding Aberdeen Angus and Clydesdale shire-horses. He married Alice Mease,
a granddaughter of the American actress Fanny Kemble. On moving to the
ancestral manor house at Ballintemple, the well-travelled Lady Alice
described the estate as "one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen …
in the spring the woods are literally carpeted with bluebells, the bluest
and largest I have ever seen, often having fifteen bells on one stalk".
The burning of Ballintemple House in 1917, attributed to a plumber's
blow-lamp and dry-rot filled rafters, was a great loss to Carlow’s
architectural legacy. The shell was later demolished and only the 19th
century classical portico now remains. The Butler family then relocated to
England where Sir Richard’s father, Sir Tom Butler, served as Resident
Governor of the Tower of London. Subsequent confiscation’s and compulsory
purchases by the Irish Land Commission whittled the Butler estate down to a
few acres when Sir Richard inherited the property.
- Source: Turtle Bunbury website
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