BUTLER, Hon. Charles Harward (1780-1860), of Castlecomer, co. Kilkenny.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1802 - Jan. 1809
27 May 1814 - 1820
11 Sept. 1820 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 9 Nov. 1780, 4th s. of John, 17th Earl of Ormonde [I] by Lady Susan Frances Elizabeth Wandesford, da. and h. of John, 1st Earl Wandesford [I], bro. of James Wandesford Butler*. educ. Eton 1789-97; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1797. m. (1) 1 Oct. 1812, Lady Sarah Butler (d.7 July 1838), da. of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick [I], 3s. 1da., (2) 10 Aug. 1842, Lucy, da. of Arthur French*, wid. of Somerset Richard, 3rd Earl of Carrick [I], s.p. Took by sign manual additional name of Clarke 31 Oct 1820, and additional names of Southwell and Wandesford 1 June 1830.

Offices Held

Cornet 14 Drag. 1799, lt. 1800, capt. 1803, brevet capt. 1802, maj. 1807, ret. 1811.

Sheriff, co. Kilkenny 1802-3; mayor, Kilkenny 1816-17.


Butler was in the same regiment as his elder brother James and was reputed to be ‘a good natured, pleasant and agreeable officer’.1 In 1802 his eldest brother returned him to Westminster for Kilkenny city, of which he had been an alderman for five years. His brother James was already Member for the county and their political conduct until 1809 was virtually identical, the only difference being a vote by one of them for Pitt’s naval motion on 15 Mar. 1804 and by Charles in the minority for the continuation of the naval commission of inquiry, 1 Mar. 1805. In 1809 Butler vacated his seat to make way for a nominee of the co-patron of Kilkenny, Lord Desart. The viceroy described him that year as being in opposition, but ‘not with violence’.2

In 1814 Desart was required to make the seat available for Butler again. ‘I think I now perceive’ he informed Peel, 4 May, ‘the object the Butlers have in view in getting Charles Butler into Parliament. Lord Ormond[e] is in a very bad state of health and they are anxious to wear an imposing aspect in order to make favourable terms with the government, if he should die.’3 This supposition proved correct for, after Butler had twice voted with the minority (on the civil list, 14 Apr. and on the transfer of Genoa, 27 Apr. 1815), Ormonde came to terms with government for his two brothers’ support. Charles Butler then changed sides on the civil list, 8 May 1815, and subsequently gave his vote to government,4 evidently attending in alternation with his brother James, like whom, however, he voted for Catholic relief in 1815, 1817 and 1819, and against the Irish window tax on 5 May 1819. No speech is known until 29 Apr. 1818 when he moved for an inquiry into Irish grand jury presentments. Either he or his brother said a few words favourable to Wyndham Quin*, 24 Feb. 1819. He voted for the extension of the franchise at Penryn, 22 June 1819, like his brother. In 1820 Butler succeeded his brother as county Member and continued in the same line. He died 7 Nov. 1860.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1808), 316.
  • 2. NLI, Richmond mss 70/1364.
  • 3. Add. 40216, f. 251.
  • 4. Add. 40289, f. 38; 40292, f. 83; 40298, f. 24.