The surname of BUTLER was a surname that has been prominent in Irish history, and can be traced back to the appointment of Theobald Fitz-Walter, one of the Anglo-Norman invadors, as Hereditary Chief Butler of Ireland. His son, also Theobald, adopted the surname Butler or Le Botiler, and it became the family surname of his descendants. The first Theobald acquired the baronies of Ormond Upper and Ormond Lower in County Tipperary; his descendants extended the family possessions in that county and in County Kilkenny, where the largest of the Butler castles eventually became the seat of the head of the family. The inland Munster county of Tipperary is second only in extent in Ireland to the Ulster county of Donegal, covering as it does over one million acres. The county is bounded on the east and north-east by the province of Leinster, having boundaries with the counties of Offaly, Leix and Kilkenny. On the south side County Tipperary has a boundary with County Waterford, marked for some distance by the River Suir. The community which mushroomed beside one rich colliery, which opened in the 18th century, one of the earliest to be exploited in the county, was named Coalbrook. Ironstone metal was also found in the pits there. As this county covered a large territory it accommodated anciently a number of septs; by the time of the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, branches of several Dalcassian septs from Thomond had also established themselves in the area. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Lady Eleanor Butler (1745-1829) Irish recluse born in Dublin. In 1779 she and her friend Sarah Ponsonby resolved to live in seclusion, and settled at a cottage in Wales, accompanied by a maidservant. They became famous throughout Europe as the 'Maids of Llangollen' or 'Ladies of the Vale' and attracted visitors from far and wide. Sir William Francis Butler (1838-1910) Irish soldier and author, born in Tipparary. He joined the British army in 1858, and served in Canada, providing the materials for a popular book, The Great Lone Land (1872). He served on the Red River exhibition (1870-71) on the Ashanti exhibition (1873) and in South Africa (1888-9). He published several travel books.
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