Urquhart, William Pollard- (1815–71), writer and politician, was born William Pollard in Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, on 19 June 1815, eldest among eight sons of William Dutton Pollard (1789–1839), JP, DL, and high sheriff of Westmeath (1812), and his second wife, Louisa Anne, daughter of Adm. Sir Thomas Pakenham (1757–1836). He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating BA (1838) and MA (1843). He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1839 but was never called to the bar. On 20 August 1846 he married Mary Isabella, only daughter and heir of William Urquhart of Craigston Castle, Aberdeen, Scotland, and assumed by royal licence the additional surname and arms of Urquhart. After marriage he settled down in both Westmeath and Aberdeen and as a writer of treatises on agricultural (including Agricultural distress and its remedies (1850)) and taxation questions. An 1851 essay advised substituting direct for indirect taxation as a move towards free trade, and two years later he wrote suggesting that a land credit company on the Prussian model should be formed in Ireland. His only work aimed at the general public was the Life and times of Francisco Sforza, duke of Milan (1852); this was negatively reviewed in the Athenaeum, which accused him of providing no new material and of treating history piecemeal. By this time he had determined on a political career and thereafter wrote only sporadically. In 1852 he contested Westmeath as an independent liberal in one of that county's most memorable elections. There were three candidates; Urquhart was the favourite of the catholic clergy but the other independent, William Henry Magan (1819–60), had greater popular support, having spent more on his campaign; Sir Richard George Augustus Levinge (1811–84) also stood as a conservative. On nomination day special trains bought contingents from the neighbouring counties to shout for Magan, who topped the poll, though Urquhart was also elected and sat 1852–7, and again 1859–71.
In parliament he spoke in support of tenant improvement compensation bills, and emphasised the need to reclaim bogland to improve Irish agriculture. In December 1865 he attended the meeting in Dublin called by John Blake Dillon (qv) to establish the short-lived National Association, which proposed extensive reforms including tenant right, church disestablishment, denominational education through to university level, and the broadening of the franchise with a secret ballot. His prosperity may have contributed to his rather sedentary approach to politics. He died 1 June 1871 at 19 Brunswick Terrace, Brighton, Sussex, and was survived by his wife, five sons and three daughters.