Lefroy, William (1836–1909), Church of Ireland clergyman and dean of Norwich, was born 6 November 1836 in Dublin, the eldest of the four children of Isaac and Isabella Lefroy; his father was of huguenot ancestry. He was educated in Dublin at St Michael-le-Pole, a long-established Latin school. The family, though possibly well connected, was not wealthy, and Lefroy was apprenticed as a printer at the Irish Times and then became a journalist and sub-editor. While still working as a journalist, he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated BA in 1863; he later graduated MA, BD (1867) and DD (1889). He was ordained deacon in 1864 (when his colleagues from the Irish Times presented him with a gold watch), and a year later John Gregg (qv), bishop of Cork, ordained him priest, and licensed him to the curacy of Christ Church, Cork.
At Cork, Lefroy was influenced by William Connor Magee (qv), then dean of Cork and later archbishop of York. Magee encouraged the development of Lefroy's dynamic preaching style and in 1866 obtained for his protégé the incumbency of St Andrew's, Renshaw Street, Liverpool. Although it was in a poor area, the large church was filled to capacity under Lefroy's ministry. He sustained the parish schools with vigour and success, supported children's services, held Bible classes and cottage lectures, and improved the condition of church buildings. He served on the Liverpool school board and trained twenty-five young men for careers in the ministry. During his time at St Andrew's, he raised nearly £100,000 for church work, mostly by appealing to Liverpool's wealthy merchants. Lefroy held strongly evangelical views and achieved more than local prominence in the church. In collaboration with John Torr MP he helped to create the diocese of Liverpool, and in 1880 Dr Ryle, the first bishop of Liverpool, made Lefroy an honorary canon, a post that he held until 1887. He was rural dean of Liverpool South from 1884 and archdeacon of Warrington from 1887; in the latter year he was also Donnellan lecturer at TCD.
In 1889 Lefroy was appointed dean of Norwich, in which role he helped to restore the cathedral, both as a building and as the centre of ecclesiastical and spiritual life in the diocese. His controversial decision to abolish pew rents resulted in greatly increased attendance by the poorer people of the city. For many years he attended convocation, and was particularly involved in problems of financial provision for the clergy and the support of missionary projects; his suggestions were influential in the foundation in 1897 of the Queen Victoria Clergy Fund.
Lefroy was an enthusiastic member of the Alpine Club, and from 1867 spent his summers in the Alps, mountaineering and working as a chaplain for the Colonial and Continental Church Society. Several small churches for English visitors were built with Lefroy's support; he helped the church at Zermatt to pay off debts, and in 1884 founded a church at Riffel Alp. Lefroy was taken ill at Riffel in summer 1909 and died there 11 August 1909; he was buried at the church of the Holy Trinity, Riffel, on 13 August.
Nothing is known of Lefroy's first wife, but on 11 February 1878, he married Mary Ann, the second daughter of Charles MacIver of Calderstone, Liverpool. They had two daughters. A portrait in oils by an obscure artist named Blackden is at the deanery, Norwich. A street in Norwich was named in Lefroy's honour.