Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, son of Walter Butler “Walter of the Rosaries, “was probably the first of the family to take up residence in Thurles Castle. Thomas was summoned to England in 1619 to answer charges of treason, but the ship conveying him was wrecked off the coast of Skerries and he was drowned on 15th December 1619. His wife was Elizabeth Poyntz, daughter of Sir John Poyntz, Bart., of Acton in Gloucestershire, and the celebrated Lady Thurles (see pic). They had been married since 1608 and were the parents of three sons and four daughters.
After Viscount Thurles’s death, his widow, Lady Thurles, married again, about 1620, one Captain George Mathew of Radyr and Llandaff in Glamorganshire, Wales, by whom Lady Thurles had a further two sons and a daughter. Captain George Mathew died at Tenby in Wales in 1636. His widow, Lady Thurles survived him by 37 years and died in Thurles in May 1673. Her body was interred beside St. Mary’s Famine Museum Church in Thurles. A period portrait, oil on canvas, of Lady Thurles is in the possession of the Tipperary County Library at the Source building in Thurles.
(Please click on both images for higher resolution)
Lady Thurles was a loyal and staunch Catholic, but also a loyal and staunch Englishwoman (Royalist). From the time of her marriage with Viscount Thurles until her death in May 1673, she resided in Thurles Castle, except perhaps for short period (1658-1660) during the Cromwellian regime.
Generations later, the 3rd Duke of Abercorn’s daughter married Earl Spencer, grandfather of the Lady Diana Spencer who married Prince Charles of England. Thus Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, and Elizabeth Poyntz, Lady Thurles are direct ancestors of Lady Diana Spencer.
Prince Charles of England is a direct descendant of Viscount and Lady Thurles through their eldest son, the Duke of Ormond. The Duke’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl Chesterfield, and their daughter Elizabeth Stanhope married John Lyon, 4th Earl Strathmore. Later in direct line was the 14th Earl Strathmore whose daughter, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married the future King George VI; and these are the grandparents of Prince Charles.