Butler of Maidenhall

Butler of Maidenhall

As Hubert Butler, that exceptional man of great insight and international fame said modestly, ‘the Butlers of Maidenhall were minor gentry’. Maidenhall is near Bennetsbridge in Co. Kilkenny. The family took up residence there in the mid 1800s. Before that it was built and occupied by a Henry and Frances Griffith in the mid eighteenth century.[1] Henry was an intellectual and an entrepreneur[2] and his wife was a writer[3]. Hubert Butler found them a most extraordinary couple and in his book Escape from the Anthill he devoted the first chapter to them under the title Henry and Frances.

[1] On a Taylor and Skinner Map of the 18th century it was noted as being in the ownership of the Flood family.

[2] Henry got a grant from parliament for starting linen manufacturing on the Nore. He built a factory and his house – Maidenhall c. 1745. An expected second grant did not materialize and as Henry was heavily mortgaged his business was ruined.  He and Frances turned their hands to novel writing and Frances, in particular, was quite successful. Henry was also able to make a living from his writings.

[3] She was the first English translator of Voltaire.

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