Butler, John (c.1422–1477), 6th earl of Ormond , was second son of James (qv), 4th earl of Ormond, and his first wife, Joan, daughter of William Beauchamp, Lord Abergavenny; he was born in Ireland but spent most of his life in England. He served in the English army in Normandy throughout the 1440s, and was captured and ransomed after the fall of Rouen (October 1449). His one recorded visit to Ireland in this period came in 1446, when he came in the retinue of John Talbot (qv), earl of Shrewsbury. In the 1450s he remained a firm supporter of the Lancastrians, rising to the position of squire of the body to Henry VI, and receiving a knighthood before 1461. Butler supported Henry VI against Edward IV in 1461 and succeeded to the earldom of Ormond (May 1461) after the execution of his elder brother James Butler (qv), 5th earl of Ormond and earl of Wiltshire. Ormond refused to accept the victory of Edward IV and fled to Scotland with the Lancastrian court; he was attainted by the English parliament in November 1461.
Ormond sailed to Ireland to attempt a pro-Lancastrian uprising there. Despite some initial successes, most notably the capture of Waterford city, the prospect of a successful revolt was ended after his Irish kinsmen were defeated at the battle of Pilltown in the summer of 1462 by Thomas FitzGerald (qv), 8th earl of Desmond. Ormond was not present at this battle and continued to campaign, ignoring a second attainder in the Irish parliament (January 1463). In 1464 he went into exile in Portugal and France for six years, returning to England during the restoration of Henry VI in 1470–71. He finally accepted the reality of the Yorkist victory in 1471; although his English attainder was never reversed, he appears to have become a favourite of the king and served in the French campaign of 1475. Ormond was restored to his Irish lands and titles in 1475, but never returned from the campaign. From Normandy he travelled to Rome and, according to tradition, died on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February 1477. He died unmarried, but with Reynalda, daughter of Toirdhealbhach Bog Ó Briain, he had at least one illegitimate son, Sir James Butler (qv), who came to prominence in the 1490s.