Seymour, William Digby (1822–95), politician and judge, was born 22 September 1822 at Kilronan, Co. Roscommon, second of two sons of the Rev. Charles Seymour, vicar of Kilronan, and Beata Seymour (née Langley). Educated at TCD, he graduated BA (1844) and LLD (1872). Deciding on a legal career, he studied at the Middle Temple and was called to the bar on 12 June 1846. He practised on the north-eastern circuit in England, but with limited success. He married (1847) Emily, daughter of Joseph Wright, a prominent solicitor in Sunderland. Through the influence of his father-in-law he was persuaded to stand for parliament and was returned as liberal MP for Sunderland in 1852. He was appointed recorder of Newcastle on 23 December 1854. He stood for election in Hull in 1857 but was not returned. Cynical and unscrupulous in his business dealings, he became chairman of the Waller gold-mining company in 1852, but was declared bankrupt in 1858. The benchers of the Middle Temple censured him in early 1859 after he failed to explain satisfactorily some of his more dubious dealings, and he was excluded from the mess bar of the northern circuit. Furious at some comments made about him by the Law Magazine, he sued for libel and was awarded forty shillings (£2.00) in damages in 1862.
In May 1859 he stood for election in Southampton, styling himself a liberal conservative, and topped the poll. However, he had promised not to vote against Lord Derby's government, and outraged his constituents by reneging on this pledge. He was named QC in the county palatine of Lancaster in August 1860 and became a full QC on 19 February 1861. Reconciled with the government, he was asked to draft the admiralty reform act (1861). Increasingly reactionary and erratic in his pronouncements, he lost his seat in 1865. His political career went into free-fall and he was unsuccessful in his bids to become MP for Nottingham (1869, 1870), Stockton (1880), and South Shields (1885). In August 1889 he was named a judge of county court number one at Northumberland. He was the author of a number of polemical works: the most significant were How to employ capital in western Ireland (1851), The Hebrew psalter (1882), and Home rule and state supremacy (1889). A vehement opponent of home rule, he drafted a bill to create a federal government for Ireland, which he published in 1889.
He died 16 March 1895 at his home at 45 Percy Park, Tynemouth, North Shields.