The Walters arrive in Ireland

The first ancestor of the Butler family to come to Ireland was Theobald Walter (d.1205). Of Norman origin, his father held lands in Weeton, Lancashire, England. Well connected through their mother, Matilda, co-heir of the Lord of Parham, Suffolk, Theobald and his brother Hubert, who was later Archbishop of Canterbury and Justiciar of England, moved in the higher echelons of Norman society.

While the brothers were being raised in the household of Ranulf de Glanville, Justiciar of England during the 1180s, Prince John, son of Henry II, was also attached there. Theobald accompanied John when the prince came to Ireland in 1185 to assume his lordship of the country.

Like many other Norman magnates, Theobald established religious houses at Arklow in Wicklow, Owney in Limerick, and Nenagh in Tipperary. When Theobald died he had extensive land holdings in Munster and south Leinster.