James Butler, 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Ormonde, was born in 1610. He gained his first title as Viscount Thurles when his father drowned at sea in 1619.
James Butler married his cousin Elizabeth Preston, Baroness Dingwall suo jure (in her own right).
They had five sons and three daughters, 5 of which survived to adulthood.
Their fifth son Richard, born 15 June, 1639, died in London January 1685/6 was created Baron Butler of Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullogh and Earl of Arran on 13 May 1662, and on 27 August 1673 he was created Baron Butler of Weston co Huntingdon. He married 1) Mary, Baroness Clyfton de Layton Bromswold, baptized 10 July 1651, sister and heir of Esme, Duke of Richmond, and daughter of James Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Duke of Lennox, and Mary, the daughter of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and 2) Dorothy, daughter of John Ferrers, of Tamworth Castle and Anne the daughter of Sir Dudley Carleton,
The Duke in his person was of a fair complexion, . . a lively and ingenuous look, and a countenance that expressed a greatness of mind, and was yet full of sweetness and modesty. He was somewhat taller than what is deemed the middle size, well shaped and limbed as any man of his time, of active and clever strength, not corpulent, yet always preserving a good embonpoint. He had a noble air and mien: had he been dressed like a ploughman, he would have still appeared a man of quality; and the manner of his address was natural, easy, graceful, and engaging.
His dress was plain, but very elegant and neat, nobody wore his clothes better, but he still suited them to the weather. . . The cheerfulness of his temper, the liveliness of his conversation, the ready flow and pleasant tarn of his wit, and the care he always took to adapt himself to the King's manner and humour, rendered him very agreeable to that prince; . . but King James II seemed always to stand in awe of him.
The Ministers about Court cannot be supposed to have much affection to a person whom they could not but consider as their rival in power, . . and who would never enter into any of their cabals. . . Conscious of . . integrity, and depending on the remembrance of his services, he despised all the little arts that are used about courts to get into power. . . He detested making a low court to any of the King's mistresses; and yet he was not averse to the keeping of measures with them, when it might be useful to the public service, the great end by which he regulated his own conduct in public affairs. He had a wonderful memory; was an early riser, fond of field sports, and regular and temperate in his habits.
The Duke of Ormond is one of the historical figures profiled in the documentary "Cromwell: God's Executioner".
The Ormond Lordship in County Kilkenny, 1515-1642 is an in-depth study by David Edwards for the University of Dublin's History Department. Covers the tenures of Piers the 8th Earl; James 9th Earl; Thomas 10th Earl; Walter 11th Earl; and James the 1st Duke of Ormond. Divided into sections based on themes rather than the tenures of the men themselves. Not for the faint-hearted (it's a 400-page thesis) but it's well researched and written.