Anne Welles, Countess of Ormond

Anne Welles, Countess of Ormond
Spouse(s) James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond


James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond
Anne Butler
Sir Richard Butler
Father John de Welles, 4th Lord Welles
Mother Maud de Ros
Born 1360
Gainsby, Lincolnshire, England
Died 13 November 1397

Anne Butler, Countess of Ormond (née Welles; 1360 – 13 November 1397), was the first wife of Irish noble James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond, and the mother of James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond. She was the first countess of Ormond to live at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland.

According to Frederick Tupper, Professor of English at the University of Vermont, she was commemorated as "Anelida, Queen of Armenia" in Geoffrey Chaucer's poem Anelida and Arcite. [1]

Family and lineage

Anne Welles was born in Gainsby, Lincolnshire, England in 1360, the daughter of John de Welles, 4th Lord Welles (23 August 1334 – 11 October 1361) and Maud de Ros (died 9 December 1388). She had an elder brother John de Welles, 5th Lord Welles (born 20 April 1352), who married Eleanor de Mowbray, by whom he had issue. She had a sister Margery de Welles, who married firstly, John de Huntingfield, and secondly, Lord Scrope of Masham.

Her paternal grandparents were Sir Adam de Welles, 3rd Lord Welles and Margaret Bardolf, and her maternal grandparents were William de Ros, 2nd Lord Ros and Margery Badlesmere, the eldest daughter of Bartholmew de Badlesmere, 1st Lord Badlesmere and Margaret de Clare.


Kilkenny Castle, Ireland. After 1391, this was the principal residence of the Earls of Ormond. Anne Welles was the first countess of Ormond to reside at the castle

Prior to 17 June 1386, Anne Welles married James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond (died 6 September 1405), son of James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond and Elizabeth Darcy. He twice served as Lord Justice of Ireland. Upon her marriage to the earl, she assumed the title Countess of Ormond.

In September 1391, James purchased Kilkenny Castle from Hugh le Despenser, and the Ormonds subsequently made this magnificent stone fortification set in a park their chief residence with the earl using this as a base from which he ruled over the district. Previously they had lived at Gowran Castle. James and Anne hosted King Richard II when he visited Kilkenny Castle in 1395. King Richard showed his favour to the earl and countess by acting as godfather to their second son, named Richard in honour of the king.[2]

It was suggested by Frederick Tupper, Professor of English at the University of Vermont, that Anne was commemorated as "Anelida, Queen of Armenia", in Geoffrey Chaucer's poem Anelida and Arcite with "Arcite" having been her husband.[1]


James and Anne had three children:[3]


On 26 June 1397, Anne issued a lease to Sir John Drayton, of the manor of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and rents and appurtences of the towns of Aylesbury and Burton.[5] Anne Welles died on 13 November 1397, around the age of 37.[6] The Earl of Ormond married secondly, Katherine FitzGerald of Desmond, by whom he had four children. The Earl had an illegitimate son, Thomas Le Boteller, Prior of Kilmainham by an unknown mistress.[3] He is often incorrectly listed as a child of Anne Welles.


  1. 1 2 De Weever, Jacqueline (1995). Chaucer Name Dictionary: A Guide to the Astrological, Biblical, Historical, Literary, and Mythological Names in the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. New York: Routledge. p. 25
  2. Kilkenny Castle: The Marble Fireplace Archived 14 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 25 March 2012.
  3. 1 2 Richardson, Douglas, Everingham, Kimball G. (2005). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Baltimore:Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. p. 162
  4. Richardson, Everingham. pp.162–165
  5. Worcestershire Record Office: Hampton (Pakington) of Westwood Park, Droitwich, Worcestershire, Catalogue Reference number:705:349/12946/492083 Dated "Tuesday next after The Feast of the Nativity of St. John The Baptist 21 Ric II 26 June 1397"
  6. Collectanea Top. et Gen.1 (1834), pp. 280–81


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