Welcome

To The Butler Society Southern Cross Region website!

The Butler Society is a world-wide organisation and was formed in 1967 in Kilkenny Ireland.  The Southern Cross Region was established as a Branch of the Society in 1972 to host additional events and activities for members in Australia and New Zealand.  

The Title of Chief Butler

From 1391 until 1967 Kilkenny Castle was owned by a Butler family who became Earls and then Dukes of Ormonde.  The family traces their ancestry back to a Theobald Walter who was granted the title Chief Butler of Ireland in the 1180’s by King Henry II of England in order to act as the King’s representative in Ireland.

Origins of the Butler Surname

When surnames first came in to use in the 1200’s Theobald’s descendants adopted the title as their surname.  The first written record of this happening occurs about 1220.  As a consequence, this may be the origin of Butler as a surname. However, other medieval noble families had a butler in charge of their large households and it is possible that these men subsequently took their ‘job description’ as their surname and started alternative Butler lineages. 

For instance, there are records referring to:

1) Richard, the butler to the Earl of Chester in 1086;

2) Arnold who was alive in 1090 and was butler to William de Londres (that is William of London);

3) William le botiller (the butler) of Eaton, Leicestershire, alive in 1154;

4) William the butler of Hockerton, Nottinghamshire, alive in 1175;

5) Richard le butiller, living at Aiserigge, Devon in 1237.

Butlers and Bottles

Botiller has an early French origin, (due to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066), and refers to a man who, among other duties, was the keeper of the bottles or cellar.  The earliest Coats of Arms for the Chief Butlers incorporate covered cups or goblets, reflecting the fact that one of their earliest roles was that of cupbearer to the King, a prestigious position. 

Alternative Spellings

Variations of the spelling of the surname include Boutler (France), Buttlar (Germany), Buteler (Argentina) and Buitlear (Ireland).

Society Contacts:

8 Victoria Ridge, Upper Ferntree Gully, VIC 3156, Australia.

President: Abigail Butler, Tel 03 9758 6469.

Secretary: Kerry Butler Phillips

kerrybutlerphillips@yahoo.com

Webmaster: Bruce Butler, Email

babutler@optusnet.com.au