Brinsley Butler, 2nd Earl of Lanesborough

Brinsley Butler, 2nd Earl of Lanesborough, PC (Ire) (4 March 1728 – 24 January 1779), styled The Honourable until 1756 and Lord Newtown-Butler from 1756 to 1768, was an Irish politician and peer.

He was the son of Humphrey Butler, 1st Earl of Lanesborough and Mary Berry, daughter of Richard Berry. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Lanesborough in 1768.

From 1751 until 1768, he was a Member of Parliament (MP), or 'Knight of the Shire', for Cavan County in the Irish House of Commons, and was High Sheriff of Westmeath in 1763. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin.[1]

As a Freemason, he was Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland from 1753 to 1756, and was elected Grand Master in 1757, a post he held until the next year.[2]


He married Lady Jane Rochfort, daughter of Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere and his second wife Mary Molesworth. Their children were :

His widow moved to Italy with her unmarried daughters, and there she gained an unenviable reputation for immorality and extravagance: in 1786 she fled from Naples to avoid being arrested for debt.[4] When her daughter Sophia married a Milanese nobleman, the Marquis Marescotti, Emma, Lady Hamilton asked unkindly if the mother had sold the daughter off to pay her debts.[5] She remarried John King, who had reputedly been her lover for some time, and died in 1828.[6]


Coat of arms of Brinsley Butler, 2nd Earl of Lanesborough
A Coronet of an Earl
1st: A Wyvern with wings elevated and tail nowed Or the dexter paw supporting a Shield Argent thereon a Bend Gules charged with three Martlets Gold (Danvers); 2nd: A Demi Cockatrice couped Vert wings elevated Argent combed beaked wattled and ducally gorged Or (Butler)
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Gules a Chevron wavy between three Mullets of six points radiant Or pierced Azure (Danvers); 2nd and 3rd, Argent three Covered Cups in bend between two Bendlets engrailed Sable (Butler)
On the dexter side a Cockatrice Vert with wings elevated Argent combed beaked wattled and ducally gorged Or, and on the sinister side a Wyvern Vert gorged with a Plain Collar and chained Or
Liberte Tout Entiere (Liberty entire)


  1. ^ Alumni Dublinenses: a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin (1593–1860), George Dames Burtchaell/Thomas Ulick Sadleir p. 121: Dublin, Alex Thom and Co, 1935
  2. ^ Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-60206-641-0.
  3. ^ Fraser, Fiona Beloved Emma:the life of Emma, Lady Hamilton Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1986
  4. ^ Fraser Beloved Emma
  5. ^ Fraser
  6. ^ Fraser
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Cavan County
With: John Maxwell 1751–1756
Hon. Barry Maxwell 1756–1761
Charles Coote II 1761–1766
William Stewart 1766–1768
Succeeded by
Masonic offices
Preceded by Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Lanesborough
Succeeded by
Robert Butler