Robert Butler was part of a family with strong cricket connections – his brother, Frederic, played fifty First-Class matches and his uncle was the much venerated George Parr, one of Nottinghamshire’s finest batsmen.
Butler was born in Radcliffe-on-Trent on 8 March 1852 and educated at the Collegiate School, Newark and Loughborough Grammar School, where he was in the XI of 1868. His reputation then was as a ‘first-rate’ all round cricketer capable of both defence and attack and that brought him a place in the county side. In August 1870 he had an impressive First-Class debut against Kent, scoring 60 and earning the compliment that he had ‘plainly been taught by the best leg hitter that had ever handled a bat’, to wit, uncle George Parr who was Robert’s partner for some of that first innings.
He took part in the next county game v Surrey but had to wait until 1876 for his next First XI fixture and his appearance versus Lancashire at Old Trafford in July 1877 was his final First-Class match for Notts. He played in three regional First-Class games – for North v South in 1872, for the United North v United South at Hull in 1876 and then, curiously, for the South v North in the same year.
His First-Class record shows 16 innings in ten matches, for 163 runs at 10.19, with that debut 60 his top score. The bulk of his cricket was played for the All England Eleven that he represented 22 times; Butler’s last recorded senior game was for George Lohmann’s XI v Louis Hall’s XI at Harrogate in August 1889, in which he made 3no and 20no.
Butler lived from some years in London, working at first for the Nottingham Manufacturing Co at their base in the City. In 1873 he turned down an invitation to play for Middlesex. He died on 18 February 1916 in Sutton-cum-Granby, Nottinghamshire.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 128