Butler, Walter (d. 1633), 11th earl of Ormond , nobleman, was the eldest surviving son of Sir John Butler of Kilcash and his wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir Cormac MacCarthy Reagh, and was nephew to Thomas Butler (qv), 10th earl of Ormond. His date of birth is usually given as 1569, though the date of 1559 has been suggested, since he attained his majority in 1580 (Edwards, 113). He married Helen (or Ellen) Butler, daughter of Edward, 2nd Viscount Mountgarret, and his wife, Grizel (or Grainne) Fitzpatrick, daughter of Barnaby, 1st baron of Upper Ossory; they had three sons and nine daughters. He was a commissioner for cess for Co. Tipperary from 21 December 1592. He served with his uncle in the later stages of the nine years war, mostly in the Butler territories of Kilkenny and Tipperary, was knighted on 22 January 1598 and was wounded in action on 7 January 1601. He also acted as a go-between in negotiations with Hugh O'Neill (qv) in March–April 1598 and signed the truce with O'Neill authorised by Ormond on 1 December 1599. He acted as seneschal of Ormond's liberty of Tipperary between 1600 and 1612. A devout catholic, unlike his conformist uncle, he may have been involved in Kilkenny's participation in the recusancy revolt of 1603; certainly, as an MP for Co. Tipperary from 1613, he was considered a leader in efforts to place the catholic Sir John Everard (qv) in the speaker's chair, and he was one of the catholic MPs summoned to court by James I on 27 January 1614 as a result of proceedings in the parliamentary session of 1613.
On his uncle's death, he succeeded as 11th earl of Ormond on 22 November 1614, and he was called to the Irish house of lords on 26 April 1615. His title as male heir to the late earl was, however, challenged by the 10th earl's only surviving legitimate child, his daughter Elizabeth, recently married to courtier Richard Preston, Lord Dingwall (later earl of Desmond). Though Earl Walter appeared to have the better legal case, James I compelled both parties to submit the matter to his arbitration, and enter into heavy financial bonds to accept the outcome; his pronouncement of 3 October 1618 divided the property between the contestants, but heavily favoured the Prestons. The 11th earl refused to accept the findings, determined to maintain the Ormond inheritance intact, resulting in the loss of his £100,000 bond and the sequestration of his remaining properties, while he was imprisoned in the Fleet prison, London, on 11 June 1619. His feoffees in Ireland (Sir John Everard among them) also failed to comply and were also imprisoned in 1620–1, while the Ormond palatine liberty of Tipperary, which had been challenged at the time of earl Thomas's death, was suppressed in 1621. With the earl in prison further suits were raised by other members of the extended Butler family or pretenders to his title. Having indicated his willingness to submit to the earlier adjudication in March 1625, Earl Walter was released from prison, heavily in debt, and was granted an allowance from the rents of his property. Suggestions had been made that a marriage between one of his grandsons and the only daughter of the Prestons might resolve the issue, but negotiations to this end, hampered by the deaths of both Prestons in 1628, were concluded only in September 1629, when he was granted the wardship of Elizabeth Preston, articles for her marriage with his grandson and heir James Butler (qv) were concluded, and the bond on his forfeited property was finally cancelled. He remained dogged by other disputes, however, and by plans to promote a plantation of the barony of Ormond, Co. Tipperary, in 1630–31. He died 24 February 1633 at Carrick-on-Suir.