World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alban Butler

Article Id: WHEBN0001139265
Reproduction Date:

Title: Alban Butler  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Charles Butler (lawyer), Judoc, Saint Valentine, Valentine's Day, People from Northamptonshire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alban Butler

Alban Butler (13 October 1710 – 15 May 1773) was an English Roman Catholic priest and hagiographer.


  • Biography 1
  • The Lives of Saints 2
    • The first edition (1756–1759) 2.1
    • Modern editions 2.2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Alban Butler was born in 1710, at Appletree, Northamptonshire, the second son of Simon Butler, Esq.[1] Orphaned at the age of eight, he was sent to be educated at the English College, Douai, in France. In 1735 Butler was ordained a priest. At Douai, he was appointed professor of philosophy, and later professor of theology. It was at Douai, he began his principal work The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints. He also prepared material for Richard Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, a work on the martyrs of the reign of Elizabeth.[2]

In 1745, Rev. Butler came to the attention of the James and Thomas Talbot later became Catholic bishops,[1]

He laboured for some time as a missionary priest in Staffordshire, and was finally appointed president of the English seminary at Saint Omer in France, where he remained till his death.[2]

Butler returned to England in 1749 and was made chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk,whose nephew and heir, the Hon. Edward Howard, Butler accompanied to Paris as tutor. While he was in Paris, Butler completed his Lives. During his term as President of the English seminary, Butler also served the bishops of Arras, Saint-Omer, Ypres, and Boulogne-Sur-Mer as their Vicar-General. Butler died in Saint-Omer in 1773 and was buried in the parish church of Saint-Denis.[3]

See An Account of the Life of A. B. by C. B., i.e. by his nephew Charles Butler (London, 1799); and Joseph Gillow's Bibliographical Dictionary of English Catholics, vol. i.

The Lives of Saints

Butler's great work, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints ("Butler's Lives"), the result of thirty years study, was first published in four volumes in London, 1756–1759. It is a popular and compendious reproduction of the Acta Sanctorum, exhibiting great industry and research, and is in all respects the best compendium of Acta in English. Butler's magnum opus has passed many editions and translations.

The first edition (1756–1759)

This edition was printed initially in 4 octavo volumes, with no stated publisher or author's name. However they were so thick that they were usually bound in more volumes. There were actually 6 title pages since Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 both have a "part II" issued thus: vol. I, vol. II, vol. III, vol. III part II, vol. IV, and vol. IV part II. Each "volume" contained three months of the liturgical calendar's Saints' lives. Vol. I also had a copperplate engraving with figures of the Roman devices of torture used, and a 2-page explanation of their use.

Charles Butler's assertion that "all the notes" were left out of the first edition at the suggestion of Bishop Challoner is exaggerated. There are many useful, and even extended notes in the first edition, but not to the extent that they appear in the second, and succeeding editions. According to Charles Knight, the edition published in twelve volumes in 1847 is considered the best and most complete.[1]

Modern editions

Since Fr Butler published his original edition of his Lives, many successors have revised and updated the work. Father Herbert Thurston, SJ, edited and significantly rewrote the work; his 12 volume "Revised Edition" was published between 1926 and 1938 by an English layman, Donald Attwater made further significant changes in the "Second Edition" published in 1956, in the same number of volumes.


  1. ^ a b c , Bradbury, Evans & Company, 1872Biography: Or, Third Division of "The English Encyclopedia"Knight, Charles. "Butler, Alban",
  2. ^ a b Ward, Bernard. "Alban Butler." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 20 March 2015
  3. ^ a b Alban Butler 1711-1173


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

External links

  • Works by Alban Butler at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Alban Butler at Internet Archive
  • Works by Alban Butler at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • "The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints", Complete text of the 12 vol. ed. of 1866 at
  • One modern abridged Concise Edition is: ISBN 0-06-069299-5
  • A modern complete edition (1995–2000) is also available in 12 volumes, organized by month and feast day: (The January volume is ISBN 0-8146-2377-8; February ISBN 0-8146-2378-6; March ISBN 0-8146-2379-4; April ISBN 0-8146-2380-8; May ISBN 0-8146-2381-6; June ISBN 0-8146-2382-4; July ISBN 0-8146-2383-2; August ISBN 0-8146-2384-0; September ISBN 0-8146-2385-9; October ISBN 0-8146-2386-7; November ISBN 0-8146-2387-5; December ISBN 0-8146-2388-3)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.