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Lowther, Westmorland

Historical Description

Lowther, a township and a parish in Westmorland. The township lies on the river Lowther, with a station called Clifton and Lowther on the L. & N.W.R., and 4 miles S of Penrith; contains the villages of Lowther and Lowther New-town; and gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Lonsdale. At the latter village is a post office under Penrith; money order office, Askham; telegraph office, Hackthorpe. Both villages are small, and the latter was founded in 1682 by Sir John Lowther, at the demolition of a portion of the old one. The parish contains also the townships of Hackthorpe, Melkinthorpe, and Whale. Acreage, 3674, of which 81 are water; population, 438. The manor belonged to the Machels, the Cliffords, and the Stricklands, and passed to the Lowthers, who became Earls of Lonsdale. Lowtber Castle, the seat of the Earl of Lonsdale, occupies the site of an ancient manorial mansion, nearly destroyed by fire in 1726; was built in 1802-10 after designs by Smirke; is a magnificent pile in the Castellated and Decorated English styles; measures 420 feet along the N front, 280 along the S front; presents a pyramidal outline, the wings adorned with turrets, the centre rising aloft in a massive, turreted, quadrangular tower; contains a grand staircase in the central tower, a hall 60 feet by 30, a saloon also 60 feet by 30, a library 45 feet by 30, and other apartments of corresponding size; is magnificently adorned and furnished with all sorts of products of art; commands very splendid and extensive views over the Lake region; and stands amid one of the most beautiful and richly embellished parks in England. Southey, after deploring the comparatively meagre style of most modern mansions, says-" With other feelings now, Lowther! have I beheld thy stately walls, Thy pinnacles, and broad embattled brow, And hospitable halls. Fair structure! worthy the triumphant age Of glorious England's opulence aud power, Peace be thy lasting heritage, And happiness thy dower; "

The living is a rectory in the diocese of Carlisle; gross value, £293 with residence. Patron, the Earl of Lonsdale. The church was rebuilt in 1686 and restored in 1856, when a new porch was built; is a cruciform structure in the Norman and Perpendicular styles, with a central tower surmounted by a lantern; and contains numerous brasses, tablets, and other monuments of the Lowthers. A mausoleum of the Lowther family is in the churchyard. Endowments exist to the amount of about £400 a year, chiefly for educational purposes, but including £65 for the poor. The endowed national school, founded in 1638 by the Lowthers, was rebuilt in 1887, and has accommodation for 120 children.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyWestmorland 
Ecclesiastical parishLowther St. Michael 
Poor Law unionWest ward 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lowther from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Westmorland is available to browse.