Babington, Sir Anthony Brutus (1877–1972), lawyer and politician, was born 24 November 1877, eldest son of Hume Babington, architect and civil engineer, of Creevagh House, Co. Londonderry, with an estate of 1,540 acres in 1876. The family were direct descendants of Brutus Babington (qv), bishop of Derry 1610–11, and Captain Richard Babington, an officer in King William's army at the Boyne. Educated at Glenalmond, Scotland, and TCD, he was called to the Irish bar (1900) and became a KC (1917). At the King's Inns he was a lecturer in equity, pleading, and practice, and was responsible for the second edition of Osborne's Pleading and practice in equity (Dublin, 1916). On the establishment of the Northern Ireland state in 1921, Babington moved north and enjoyed a wide practice on the north-west circuit. In 1925 he was elected to the NI house of commons as a unionist MP for Belfast South, and was appointed attorney general by Sir James Craig (qv). Despite being an unenthusiastic politician, he remained an MP and attorney general till 1937, representing the Cromac constituency from 1929. A member of the NI privy council from 1926, he was appointed an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple in 1930.
As a public representative, he was a staunch upholder of the unionist and protestant interest, sharing the convictions of his most stalwart cabinet colleagues. Knighted in the 1937 coronation honours list, he was appointed lord justice of appeal in the same year. In 1947 he chaired the agricultural inquiry committee, which advised on the development of the livestock industry and the more efficient marketing of all agricultural produce. He was vice-president of the Council of Social Services. In 1949 Babington retired from the bench to take up the chairmanship of the tribunal established under the Ulster transport act. This tribunal, which operated till 1967, encouraged a more car-centred transport policy, and was largely responsible for the closure of the Belfast & Co. Down railway. Babington also chaired a government inquiry into the licensing of clubs, which led to the enactment of new regulatory legislation at Stormont. A keen sportsman, he was invited by the Larne golf club to advise them on the layout of their new course at Cairndhu (1955); he was vice-president of the Dublin University boat club and for more than twenty years president of Linfield FC. He was a resolute agnostic, contemptuous of religious fanaticism but holding strong moral views; a member of the order of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick; and an art collector. Babington died 10 April 1972 at his home, ‘Creevagh’, Portrush, Co. Antrim, aged 94.
He married (5 September 1907) Ethel (d. 1964), daughter of George Vaughan Hart (KC, TCD professor of feudal and English law) of Woodside, Howth, Co. Dublin, and sister of Ruth, wife of Senator Andrew Jameson (qv). They had one son and two daughters. Their son, Emerson, was crown solicitor for Co. Londonderry; their daughter Mary Hume married the surgeon T. D. Wilson. Newspaper obituaries stated that Babington spent many years working on a history of the Northern Ireland state, but to date nothing of this has been published. A valuable source for his career, however, is an unpublished typescript autobiography (written 1966), in the possession (2000) of Dr Thomas Wilson of Dublin.