Butler, Stephen

Stephen Butler


Baptised: 25th December 1819 Stephen Butler

Baptised, Slieverue Roman Catholic Church, Waterford, Ireland


Marriage: 5th March 1848 Stephen Butler and Jane Jago

Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England


Death: 26th June 1863 Stephen Butler

10 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England


My great grandfather, Stephen, was baptised the first of five sons to James and Mary Butler (nee Connery) in Slieverue, Waterford, Ireland, on 25th December 1819.

He had an older sister, Ellen, baptised on 16th January 1814 and a younger one, Johanna, baptised on 1st November 1834.
His younger brothers were Edmund (baptised 1st May 1822), John, (24th February 1824), another John (born 4th February 1824) and James (21st August 1828).  Although I have yet to find any evidence to that effect, it seems likely the older “John” may have died soon after his birth.

I was fortunate enough to visit Waterford in August 2017 and guided by Michael O’Connor of Waterford Heritage Services was able to explore the area around Slieverue where the family lived at the time of Stephen’s birth.  Although there is no way we can be sure exactly where, we do know that it was in Councillor’s Road between Larkfield and Peafield about 6 km north-east of Waterford – as is shown on the map below:

Likely location of James and Mary Butler’s home between Larkfield and Peafield, County Kilkenny, Ireland 1819

We have little knowledge of Stephen’s early life, but he would have to have undertaken an apprenticeship at shipyards in Waterford, (where there was considerable shipbuilding at the time) or, later in England, to have gained employment as a Shipwright with the Royal Navy.

That he probably completed his Apprenticeship in Waterford and was recruited by the Navy appears to be supported by the following extract from the Journal of the Old Waterford Society’s Journal “Decies” of Autumn 1992:

“Between the years 1806 and 1880, ship-building was Waterford’s chief industry, and the five firms previously mentioned repaired or built all kinds of seagoing craft at their respective yards. Ships of sail or steam designed by Waterford’s craftsmen earned the reputation of the port, unequalled by any in the British shipyards. At times the local yards experienced difficulty in keeping their staffs of skilled tradesmen at home, so keen was the canvassing of their English and Scottish rivals to grab the Waterford workers. The employers had no fear in this regard in their own country, for in no part of Ireland was there a ship or repair yard to compare with the up-to-datedness and the efficient equipment of the local builders. At the beginning and well beyond the middle of the last century, Waterford held the signal honour of being one of the principal ship-building centres of western Europe, and the clang of hammers, roar of furnaces, and dull thudding sound of boiler-making, with the ‘heaving’ and ‘hauling’ associated with the life of a busy shipping port, were heard all day, and sometimes all night – making music for the ears of the old-timers of ‘Waterford of the Shippes’.”

In trying to get a better understanding of the role of a shipwright and the training needed to qualify as one, I came across the following excerpt from “Dockyard Shipwrights” by Bert Shardlow and Dr David Penney.
I’d be surprised if you do not find it as informative as I did.
This is the link: http://www.djbryant.co.uk/dockyard/links/index-links.htm

I have, so far, been unable to establish when he emigrated to England, but it was probably in the late 1830s or early 1840s.

He married Jane Jago, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Jago (née Cross) in the Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, on 5 March 1848.  At the time of their marriage, Stephen was 28 years of age and Jane 38.
They had a son, Richard Jago born on the 11th December 1948 and another, William James Jago, on the 29th June 1850.

An entry in the 1851 UK Census was the first indication I had that Stephen was born in Ireland and Waterford in particular.  It is from this Census that we learn that the family lived at 7 Cannon Street, Stoke Damerel, Devonport, only about a mile and a half from the Royal Naval Dockyards where he was employed.  From recent reading, I learned that Cannon Street was one of the earliest laid down near the Devonport dock when, in the early 1700s, residential buildings were first allowed to be built in the vicinity of the dockyard.

Map of Plymouth (Devonport and Stonehouse)

Thus far, I have been unable to trace any record of his service at the Dockyards either through the National Archives of the United Kingdom or the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre but will keep trying.

A view of the Royal Naval Dockyards at Plymouth – mid-1800s

Whether or not as a result of advancement at the Dockyard and/or an accompanying improvement in income, the Census entry for 1861 tells us that the family had by then moved to another property in Cannon Street, namely No 40.

Stephen passed away at home on 26th June 1863 at the age of 44. According to his Death Certificate, the cause of death was consumption, a condition he had suffered for twelve months.  A copy of the entry in the Stoke Damerel Anglican Parish Burial Register is included in the Evidence section and, for Latin scholars, a transcript from the entry in the Church register that I obtained on a visit to Plymouth in 2005 is shown below.

Entry from Roman Catholic Burial Registry – Stephen Butler – for which a translation is: “On the 26th day of the month of June in the year 1863 Stephen Butler from Cannon Street, Devonport, aged 43 years, in communion with the Holy Mother Church (and) supported by sacraments, gave up his soul to God; his body was buried on the 3rd day of the month of July in the cemetery at Stoke, the funeral rites having been completed in Church. George F. Hobson, Apostolic Missionary”.

According to one article I have read, there were few Catholic churchyards –  and the Catholic Church at Stoke Damerel certainly did not have one – so the majority of Catholics were buried in Anglican ones. This may explain how Stephen came to be buried in a churchyard associated with a neighbouring Anglican church – and that his burial is recorded again in the registry of the Anglican Parish of Stoke Damerel.  I wonder how many other Catholics are “blessed” with entries in the registers of two denominations.

This left Jane a widow, possibly but not certainly with a pension, caring for the two boys, Richard aged 15 and William, 13.
Whatever the circumstances the family found itself in, Jane must have been instrumental in ensuring that her elder son, Richard, at least, continued his education. My evidence for this belief is an item from the “Journal of the Society of Arts” dated 12th June 1868, where we learn that as an engineering student at the Devonport Mechanics Institute, he won 1st Prize (valued at £5) for Conic Sections and 2nd Prize (valued at £3) for Principles of Mechanics.

MURRAY, J., ANDREWS, S., & LE NEVE FOSTER, P. (1868). Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 16, no. 814. The Journal of the Society of Arts, 16(814), 567-590
Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41323875

Whether or not as a result of her widowhood, the Census for 1871 shows that Jane had moved to 12 Albert Road, Devonport, where her occupation is listed as Housekeeper. Her second son William, who by this time is aged 21, is shown as a carpenter.
Perhaps he was thus able to provide her with the economic support she needed.  In fact, as far as I can ascertain, she lived with him for the rest of her life – and being as long-lived as she was, this was not until 1902 when she was 93 years of age.



Census Data – Stephen Butler

Maps or photos





Stephen Butler
d: 26 Jun 1863
Register: B/1801-1836 VOL. P.191
Priest: Fitzpatrick J.
Church: Counsellors Road(Research):According to the 1851 census, your Richard was the son of Stephen & Jane
Head: BUTLER, Stephen Neighbors 75510
Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace
Stephen BUTLER Head M 30 M Shipwright Waterford-IRE
Jane BUTLER Wife M 36 F --- Plymstock-DEV
Richard BUTLER Son - 2 M --- Plymstock-DEV ******
William BUTLER Son - 9m M --- Devonport-DEV
Address: 7 Cannon Street, Devonport
Census Place: Stoke Damerel Stoke Damerel, Devonshire
PRO Reference: HO/107/1882 Folio: 31 Page: 57 FHL Film: 0221031(Medical):Certified copy of Death Certificate (dated 15 June 2005) held.
  • 25 Dec 1819 - Christening - ; Slieverue, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
  • 26 Jun 1863 - Death - ; 10 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Stephen Butler
- 26 Jun 1863
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) James Butler
Marriageto Mary Connery
PARENT (F) Mary Connery
Marriageto James Butler
FEllen Butler
MEdmund Butler
MJohn Butler
MJohn Butler
MJames Butler
FJohanna Butler
MStephen Butler
BirthWaterford, Ireland
Death26 Jun 186310 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage5 Mar 1848to Jane Jago at Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Stephen Butler
BirthWaterford, Ireland
Death26 Jun 1863 10 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage5 Mar 1848to Jane Jago at Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England
FatherJames Butler
MotherMary Connery
PARENT (F) Jane Jago
Birth1809Plymstock, Devon, England
Death18 Nov 1902 16 Pasley Terrace, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage5 Mar 1848to Stephen Butler at Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England
FatherRichard Jago
MotherElizabeth Cross
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 193117 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
MWilliam James Jago Butler
Birth29 Jun 18507 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Death26 Feb 191959 Pasley Street East, Stoke, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage26 Dec 1874to Mary Ann Gray at Church of St Mary & St Boniface, Plymouth, Devon, England
[S5]Private Family Reseach
Descendancy Chart
Stephen Butler d: 26 Jun 1863
Jane Jago b: 1809 d: 18 Nov 1902
Richard Jago Butler b: 11 Dec 1848 d: 4 Mar 1931
Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell b: 23 Jan 1869 d: 5 Apr 1940
Elizabeth Ann Greetham b: 1 Oct 1859 d: 19 Aug 1902
Rose Greetham Butler b: 15 Apr 1881 d: 23 Mar 1954
Reginald Francis Butler b: 18 Dec 1875 d: 23 Dec 1952
Edward Butler b: 6 Apr 1888
Wilfred Joseph Butler b: 12 Feb 1895
Cuthbert "Peter" Butler b: 24 Mar 1897 d: 25 Jan 1972
Mary Somner b: 28 Oct 1898 d: 13 Aug 1989
Patricia Anne Barnes b: 17 Aug 1933 d: 23 Nov 2004
Richard "Dick" Butler b: 29 Nov 1929 d: 20 Apr 1998
Gwenyth Julia Forsyth b: 15 Apr 1931 d: 25 Dec 1997
Marc Nicholas Butler b: 20 Nov 1989 d: 23 Feb 1998
Richard Jago Butler b: 16 Feb 1880 d: 5 Sep 1956
Christina Edith Whereat b: 23 Jan 1883 d: 1973
Richard Jago Butler b: 13 Jan 1919 d: 23 Feb 1943
Peter Paul Jago Butler b: 16 Jul 1921 d: 13 Apr 2003
Carmel Maureen Lee b: 9 Oct 1924
Christine Mary Jago Butler b: 24 Mar 1959 d: 1970
William James Jago Butler b: 29 Jun 1850 d: 26 Feb 1919
Mary Ann Gray b: 3 Nov 1851
Jane Jago Butler b: 2 Apr 1877 d: 23 Dec 1901
Elizabeth Cross Butler b: 12 Oct 1881
William Joseph Swan b: Abt 1882
Mary E. Swan b: 1912
Joseph W. Swan b: 1910
Catherine Butler b: Abt 1887
William Edward Butler b: 25 Sep 1888
Ellen Margaret Butler b: 20 Aug 1890
Annie Frances Butler b: 18 Nov 1892 d: 1968
Mary Jago Butler b: 27 Aug 1879 d: 18 Mar 1944
Norman Neill b: 28 Dec 1881 d: 10 May 1944
Betty M. Fawcett b: 1912
Judy A. Neill b: 1935
Jane M. Neill b: 1938
Richard Jago Butler b: 9 Dec 1875 d: 16 Feb 1890


Sources and citations

Copy of Transcript of Baptism Record – Stephen Butler
Copy of Marriage Certificate – Stephen Butler and Jane Jago
Copy of Death Certificate – Stephen Butler


Extract from Burial Register of Anglican Parish of Stoke Damerel – Stephen Butler