Anthony Babington (politician)

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For the 16th century MP, see Anthony Babington (died 1536).
The Right Honourable
Sir Anthony Babington
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
In office
5 November 1925 – 3 December 1937
Preceded by Richard Best
Succeeded by Edward Murphy
Member of Parliament
for Belfast Cromac
In office
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Maynard Sinclair
Member of Parliament
for South Belfast
In office
Preceded by Philip James Woods
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born Anthony Brutus Babington
(1877-11-24)24 November 1877
Died 10 April 1972(1972-04-10) (aged 94)
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Religion Church of Ireland

Sir Anthony Brutus Babington PC(NI) QC (24 November 1877 – 10 April 1972) was an Anglo-Irish barrister, judge and politician.

Born in 1877 to Hume Babington JP, the son of Rev. Hume Babington and a landowner in County Londonderry who inherited the family estate Creevagh House,[1][2] and Hester Watt (sister of Andrew Alexander Watt). He was educated at Glenalmond School, Perthshire and Trinity College, Dublin.

Babington was born into the Anglo-Irish Babington family that had resettled in Ireland after the execution of Anthony Babington for his participation in the Babington Plot. Notable relations include Anthony Babington, William Babington, Benjamin Guy Babington, James Melville Babington, Zachary Babington, the Couper Baronets and the Marquesses of Tweeddale.

Political and legal career[edit]

Babington was called to the Irish Bar in 1900 and took silk in 1918. In 1925, he was elected to the House of Commons of Northern Ireland as Unionist member for South Belfast, and then for Belfast, Cromac in 1929 until he resigned upon appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1937. He was a proponent of renaming Northern Ireland as "Ulster".[3]

He served as Attorney General for Northern Ireland from 1925–1937, and was appointed to the Privy Council of Northern Ireland in 1926, entitling him to the style "The Right Honourable". He was knighted in the 1937 Coronation Honours. He retired from the judiciary in 1949. He was also a member of The Apprentice Boys of Derry Parent Club in Londonderry. From 1926 to 1952, Sir Anthony was a member of the board of governors of the Belfast Royal Academy. He served as warden (chairman) of the board from 1941-43. Through his efforts the school acquired the Castle Grounds from Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury in 1934.[4]

Personal life[edit]

On 5 September 1907, he married Ethel Vaughan Hart, daughter of George Vaughan Hart KC LLD, of Howth, County Dublin (the son of Sir Andrew S. Hart) and his wife Mary Elizabeth Hone, a scion of the Hone family.[5] They had three children:

Babington was a keen golfer. He was an international golfer from 1903 to 1913 where he achieved many awards and accolades, and his wife, Lady Babington, was also at the forefront of ladies' golf in Ireland.[15] The Babington Room in the Royal Portrush Golf Club is named after him, as is the 16th hole on the course as a result of the key role he played in shaping its history.[16][17]


He was the 4th great-grandson of Rt. Rev. Brutus Babington, the Bishop of Derry and 8th great-grandson of Sir Anthony Babington of Dethick, MP for Nottingham. He was also the second cousin nine times removed to the conspirator Anthony Babington (his direct ancestor being Babington's great-grandfather), who was executed in 1586 for plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I in the Babington Plot.[18] His first cousin once removed was Robert Babington, the MP for North Down, his first cousin thrice removed was the physician and mineralogist William Babington and his cousin was Lieutenant-General Sir James Babington.[19][20]

Sir Anthony's first cousin thrice removed William Babington by William Thomas Fry.

Another Babington, Rt. Rev. Gervase Babington, the Bishop of Worcester, was his first cousin ten times removed.[21]

Through his great-great-grandmother Jane Hamilton (see 27),[22] he was the 6th great-grandson of James Craggs the Younger and his mistress the actress Hester Santlow, who was coined 'England's first ballerina'. He was also the 4th great-grandson of James Hamilton, 7th Earl of Abercorn, the 7th great-grandson of politician John Colepeper, 1st Baron Colepeper and the 7th great-nephew of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. Additionally, he was a descendant of Henry III of England, through his son Edmund Crouchback, and of James II of Scotland through his daughter Mary Stewart, Countess of Arran.


  1. ^ Dictionary of Irish architects
  2. ^ Landowners in Co. Londonderry
  3. ^ The Irish Times, 20 November 1937 reporting on a speech given by the Attorney General on Monday, 15 November 1937.
  4. ^ History of Belfast Castle
  5. ^ Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958, Vol 2, pg 457
  6. ^ Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958, Vol 2, pg 690
  7. ^ Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, pg 271
  8. ^ The
  9. ^ T.G. Wilson
  10. ^ Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958, Vol 2, pg 708
  11. ^ Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, pg 271
  12. ^ The
  13. ^ Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, pg 271
  14. ^ The
  15. ^ Lord Justice Babington Biography
  16. ^ History of Royal Portrush Golf Club
  17. ^ 'The Royal Portrush Golf Club 1897-1955 by the Rt. Hon. Sir Anthony B. Babington PC QC'
  18. ^ College of Arms Roll 1627 ft. Public Records, Heralds, Visitations and Private Documents.
  19. ^ College of Arms Roll 1627 ft. Public Records, Heralds, Visitations and Private Documents.
  20. ^ Burke's Irish Landed Gentry of 1958, pg 42
  21. ^ College of Arms Roll 1627 ft. Public Records, Heralds, Visitations and Private Documents.
  22. ^ Burke's Irish Landed Gentry of 1958, pg 42


Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Philip James Woods
Member of Parliament for South Belfast
1925 - 1929
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of Parliament for Belfast, Cromac
1929 - 1937
Succeeded by
Maynard Sinclair
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Best
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1925 - 1937
Succeeded by
Edward Sullivan Murphy