Selwyn, William (1775-1855) (DNB00)

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SELWYN, WILLIAM (1775–1855), legal author, second son of William Selwyn, K.C. (who was treasurer of Lincoln's Inn in 1793), by Frances Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. John Dod of Woodford, Essex. George Augustus Selwyn [q. v.], the wit, was his father's first cousin. Born in 1775, William was educated at Eton and St. John's and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1797, being first chancellor's medallist in classics, and senior optime in the mathematical tripos, and proceeded M.A. in 1800. At Lincoln's Inn, where he was admitted a student in 1797, he was called to the bar on 24 Nov. 1807, and elected treasurer in 1840. He went the western circuit, was recorder of Portsmouth from 1819 to 1829, and took silk in Trinity vacation 1827. Soon after the marriage of Queen Victoria he was chosen to assist the prince consort in his legal studies. In later life he became a chronic valetudinarian, and lived in retirement at Pagoda House, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey, an estate inherited from his father in 1817. He died on 25 July 1855, while on a visit to Tunbridge Wells, being buried in the neighbouring churchyard of Rusthall.

Selwyn married, in 1801, Lætitia Frances (d. 1842), youngest daughter of Thomas Kynaston of Witham, Essex, by whom he left issue three sons—viz. (1) William Selwyn (1806-1875) (1806–1875) [q. v.]; (2) George Augustus Selwyn (1808–1878) (1808–1878) [q. v.], primate of New Zealand and bishop of Lichfield; (3) Sir Charles Jasper [q. v.]—and two daughters, viz. (1) Lætitia Frances, and (2) Frances Elizabeth, wife of George Peacock [q. v.], dean of Ely.

Selwyn collaborated with George Maule in the production of ‘Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench,’ London, 1814, 2 vols. 8vo. He was author of ‘Abridgment of the Law of Nisi Prius,’ 3 successive parts, London, 1806–8, 8vo, a work of great merit, of which the latest 13th edit., by David Keane, Q.C., and Charles T. Smith, judge of the Cape of Good Hope, appeared in 1869, London, 2 vols. 8vo.

[Bigland's Gloucestershire, ii. 201; Rudder's Gloucestershire, p. 542; Cambridge Calendar, 1798; Gent. Mag. 1855, ii. 320; Tucker's Life of G. A. Selwyn, D.D.; Brayley and Britton's Surrey, iii. 108; Grey's Early Years of the Prince Consort, p. 361; Haydn's Book of Dignities.]

J. M. R.