BUTLER (through the O. Fr. bouteillier, from the Late Lat. buticularius, buticula, a bottle), a domestic servant who superintends the wine-cellar and acts as the chief male servant of a household; among his other duties are the conduct of the service of the table and the custody of the plate. The butler of a royal household was an official of high rank, whose duties, though primarily connected with the supply of wine for the royal table, varied in the different courts in which the office appears. In England, as superintendent of the importation of wine, a duty was payable to him (see Butlerage and Prisage); the butlership of Ireland, Pincerna Hiberniae, was given by John, king of England, to Theobald Walter, who added the name of Butler to his own; it then became the surname of his descendants, the earls, dukes and marquesses of Ormonde (see Butler, family, above).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)