BUTLER, ALBAN (1710–1773), English Roman Catholic priest and hagiologist, was born in Northampton on the 24th of October 1710. He was educated at the English college, Douai, where on his ordination to the priesthood he held successively the chairs of philosophy and divinity. He laboured for some time as a missionary priest in Staffordshire, held several positions as tutor to young Roman Catholic noblemen, and was finally appointed president of the English seminary at St Omer, where he remained till his death on the 15th of May 1773. Butler’s great work, The Lives of the Saints, the result of thirty years’ study (4 vols., London, 1756–1759), has passed through many editions and translations (best edition, including valuable notes, Dublin, 12 vols. 1779–1780). It is a popular and compendious reproduction of the Acta Sanctorum, exhibiting great industry and research, and is in all respects the best work of its kind in English literature.
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.