The Lowther Family

The following is taken from Biographical Sketches of the Worthies of Leeds and its Neighbourhood, by the Reverend Richard Vickerman Taylor, Curate of St Barnabas, Holbeck. It was first published in 1865.


Died at Swillington Hall, near Leeds, his principal residence, on Monday, the 13th of May, 1844, aged eighty-five. Sir John Lowther was the only brother of the late Earl of Lonsdale, K.G., whom he survived for less than two months.

He was born on the 1st of April, 1759, the younger son of the late Rev. Sir William Lowther, Bart., rector of Swillington, and Ann, his wife, a descendant of the ancient family of the Zouches.

He was of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B.A. in 1780; and he was one of the last survivors of the parliament of 1780, to which he was returned for the borough of Cockermouth, and again in 1784.

In April, 1786, he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, in order to stand for Carlisle; but on a petition was declared not duly elected, a committee deciding in favour of John Christian, Esq. Room was made for him as one of the members for Haslemere. We do not find him in the parliament of 1790, but in 1796 he was elected for the county of Cumberland, and again in 1802.

In 1806 he was returned for both Cockermouth and the county, but made his election for the
latter in January, 1807. He was re-elected in 1812 and 1818, and again in 1820. Sir John Lowther (then a baronet) was re-chosen for Cumberland in 1826 and 1830, but retired in 1831, at which election his nephew, Lord Lowther, was defeated. He was created a baronet by patent dated 1824, thus restoring the old family title, which had merged in the peerage. Indeed, two patents of baronetage, dated respectively 1640 and 1764 (the former of Nova Scotia), are vested in the Earl of Lonsdale.

Sir John Lowther was also in the remainder of the dignities of Viscount Lowther and Baron Lowther, of Whitehaven, conferred on his cousin, James, Earl of Lonsdale. Sir John Lowther strongly resembled the late excellent Earl of Lonsdale, both in features and personal disposition. He was exemplary in all the relations of life, and by none was his death more sincerely lamented than by his tenantry, and the poor in the vicinity of his extensive property.

Though fond of retirement, he was not unused to public life, and his constituents ever found in him a zealous guardian of their local and general interests. Sir John Lowther married, September 4th, 1790, Lady Elizabeth Fane, third daughter of John, ninth Earl of Westmoreland, and sister to Lady Augusta, whom his brother had previously married in 1781.

They had issue three sons and three daughters: Elizabeth, unmarried; Sir John Henry Lowther, who has succeeded to the baronetcy; George William, who died in 1805, in his tenth year; Frederica, who died in 1812, aged thirteen; Louisa, who died in 1816, aged fifteen ; Charles Hugh Lowther, Esq., who married, in 1834, Isabella, eldest daughter of the late Rev. Robert Morehead, D.D., and has issue two sons and a daughter.

Lady Elizabeth Lowther had been for some time indisposed, and her illness having increased after the death of her venerable husband, she became so unwell that orders were sent to delay the preparations for the baronet’s funeral, as it was feared her ladyship could not long survive, and it was not desirable to disturb her repose by the bustle necessarily incident to that mournful ceremonial. She died on the 19th of May, aged seventy-four.

Their funeral took place on the 25th, at Swillington, near Leeds. The two hearses were followed by a mourning coach containing the chief mourner. Sir John Henry Lowther, Bart., M.P., accompanied by his brother, Charles Hugh Lowther, Esq., General Sir John Woodford, half-brother of the deceased lady, and the Rev. Henry Fludyer, a nephew of her ladyship.

Five other coaches followed, containing the pall-bearers of the deceased baronet, namely, the Earl of Mexborough, the Honourable Sir Edward M. Vavasour, Bart., the Honourable and Rev. Philip Yorke Savile, Colonel Markham, Christopher Beckett, Esq., Thomas Davison Bland, Esq., Henry Ramsden, Esq., and Adolphus Woodford, Esq.; the pall-bearers of the Lady Elizabeth Lowther, namely, the Honourable Henry Savile, John Blayds, Esq., the Rev. Theophilus Barnes, the Rev. John Bell, Leonard Thompson, Esq., Thomas D. Bland, Esq., Martin John West, Esq., and Thomas T. Dibb, Esq. ; the rector of Swillington, Mr. Ellerton, of Kippax, the family surgeon, and others.