Joynt, William Lane (1824–95), barrister, politician and government official, was born on 26 December 1824 in Limerick city, the first son of William Persse Joynt, a merchant of Limerick city, and his wife Arabella (née Lane), the daughter of a doctor of Limerick city. Through his paternal line, William Lane Joynt was a cousin of Lady Augusta Gregory (qv). Having trained under Sir Matthew Barrington in Dublin, he was sworn a solicitor in 1843. He had returned to Limerick city by the late 1840s where he established a successful practice at 15 Thomas Street. He resided at 86 O'Connell Street, Limerick. In 1854 he married Jane Russell, the daughter of a Limerick merchant. They had five sons and a daughter.
A Young Irelander in his youth, he became a prominent Liberal politician, being for some years the Liberals' chief election agent in Ireland. He was elected to Limerick Corporation, first as a councillor for the Thomond Bridge Ward (1848–52) and then as an alderman for the Abbey Ward (1852–64). During his year as lord mayor of Limerick in 1862, he refused a knighthood from the lord lieutenant George William Frederick Howard (qv), Lord Carlisle. Although a member of the Church of Ireland, he had the political support of the catholic clergy and advocated tenants' rights, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the founding of a catholic university. (His opposition to Home Rule, however, eventually caused him to leave the Liberal party in 1886.) The Limerick Corporation's land agent and solicitor, he served as clerk of the crown for Limerick city (1857–69) and was an active member of the Limerick Harbour Commissioners. He was involved in managing the salmon fisheries of the Lower Shannon and advised on the successful court case which established the legal point that landlords had the right to build weirs. In 1861, he published a pamphlet entitled The salmon and fishery laws of Ireland.
In 1856 Col. Henry White, who was created Baron Annaly in 1873, appointed Lane Joynt agent for his estates. In this capacity he bought and sold land in Cos. Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Meath to the value of £500,000. He also bought property for himself in Cos. Clare, Limerick and Galway. Annaly became the largest landowner in Co. Clare where Lane Joynt lived for a significant part of each year in Annaly's mansion, Clareville House, Ballyvaughan. He electioneered in parliamentary elections for Annaly's sons Col. Luke White (afterwards the second Baron Annaly) in Dublin and Col. Charles White in Tipperary. Upon his death in 1873, the first Baron Annaly left Lane Joynt a life annuity of £1,000.
Interested in education and the arts, he was chair of the Limerick Celtic Society in 1848, President of the Limerick Literary and Scientific Society in 1853, and a patron of the Mechanics' Institute in Limerick, funding the position of a teacher for its evening adult school. After proposing in 1852 that a Limerick Athenaeum be founded as a local cultural and adult education society, he bought the lease of the former headquarters of St Michael's parish commissioners on Cecil Street in 1854 and oversaw the construction of a 600-seat lecture theatre. The Limerick Athenaeum was inaugurated in 1856, with Lane Joynt as the first president, and was used for public lectures, concerts, operas and public meetings for the rest of the century. Thereafter it was used mainly as a cinema. In 1856 he published a pamphlet suggesting that the Limerick Athenaeum could house 5,000 books and fifty readers, though nothing came of this. Later he was vice-president of the Association of Librarians and oversaw the publication of the complete works of the poet Denis Florence MacCarthy (qv) in 1881.
Resigning from Limerick Corporation in late 1863, he moved the next year to Grange Abbey, Raheny, near Dublin city, and was elected to Dublin Corporation for the Rotunda ward from 1864, first as a councillor and later as an alderman. He was also on the Port and Docks Board and in 1865 deputy lieutenant of Dublin City and JP of Dublin county. Much admired for his witty and eloquent speeches, he was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1867, and the same year attended the Great Exhibition in Paris and was awarded the Legion of Honour by Napoleon III. A journalist described him in 1867 as 'portly enough for a burgomaster and magnificent enough in all his belongings to have been painted by Rubens' (Kennerk, Shadow of the brotherhood, 78). He resigned from Dublin Corporation in 1869 upon being made Crown and Treasury Solicitor, the highest office that a solicitor could obtain, and held this position until its abolition in 1887. As well as his house at Grange Abbey, he accumulated additional residences at Lower Gardiner Street and Merrion Square.
Continuing as land agent to Annaly and his sons, he spent each summer in Clareville House. Often on the Clare grand jury, he was Keeper of the Hanaper and District Lieutenant for County Clare, and in 1894 High Sheriff of Clare. He was well regarded by the tenants and persuaded Col. Charles White to spend some £2,500 in providing his tenants at Ballyvaughan with a free water supply, their efforts being commemorated on a public water fountain in Ballyvaughan, erected in 1875. Conversely, he represented the Whites in a legal case, which established the precedent that farms on land incapable of being tilled were outside the bounds of the Land Acts. This deprived many tenants in the Burren, Co. Clare, of the fair rent protections of the Land Acts.
During a period of acute distress in the west of Ireland in the early 1880s he was an active member of the Mansion House Relief Committee, overseeing the distribution of aid. He ensured the residue of the relief fund went towards building piers and landing slips in some of Ireland's most dangerous fishing regions. Drawing on his local knowledge, he offered £50 each to some fifty coastal communities which led in many cases to larger sums being raised from private or local government sources. As a member of the board of Irish Lights he arranged for the erection of a lighthouse at the entrance to Kilronan Harbour on Inishmore.
Latterly he suffered from bronchitis and spent his winters abroad. On 9 December 1894 a loaded revolver he was holding exploded, blowing off his little finger. Complications arising from the ensuing surgery led to his death on 3 January 1895 in his residence at 43 Merrion Square, Dublin. He was buried in St John's churchyard, Limerick city, and is commemorated in stained glass windows in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. One of his sons William Russell Lane-Joynt (1855–1921), was a noted philatelist and Olympic shooter; another Richard Lane Joynt (qv) (1867–1928) was an orthopaedic surgeon, metallurgist and X-ray pioneer.