Lowther, family, Earls of Lonsdale
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The Lowther family, seated at Lowther in Westmorland by the 12th century, also held estates in Cumberland by the 14th century. These were greatly extended in the 17th century by Sir John Lowther (d. 1637), whose acquisition of the manor of St Bees (Cumberland) laid the foundations of the Whitehaven estate. He also purchased a small estate centred on Marton (Yorkshire, North Riding), but this property later passed to the Ramsden family of Byram (Yorkshire, West Riding). On his death the Lowther estate passed to his eldest son John (created a baronet in 1638), whilst Whitehaven descended to his second son Christopher (created a baronet in 1642), who also acquired Sockbridge and Hartsop (Westmorland) through his marriage to Frances Lancaster of Sockbridge. A third son, William, purchased an estate in Yorkshire and founded the Lowther family of Swillington. Sir John Lowther of Lowther, 2nd Bt, was created Viscount Lonsdale in 1696. Outlying estates in Yorkshire and County Durham were sold in the 1720s.
On the death without issue of the 3rd Viscount in 1751, the baronetcy and Lowther estates were inherited by his second cousin Sir James Lowther (1736-1802), whose father, Robert Lowther of Maulds Meaburn (Westmorland), Governor of Barbados, had acquired an estate in Barbados through his marriage in 1709 to Joan, widow of Robert Carleton, and had purchased the Duke of Wharton's Westmorland estates in 1730. Sir James Lowther’s trustees purchased for him additional Westmorland property and an estate in Cleveland (Yorkshire, North Riding). Sir James Lowther further inherited the estates of the 4th and last Lowther Bt of Whitehaven (d. 1755), including an estate at Laleham (Middlesex), which had been purchased by the 4th Bt. Having bought Sir Charles Pelham’s Workington (Cumberland) property in 1758 and an estate at Haslemere (Surrey) in 1780, Lowther was created Earl of Lonsdale in 1784. Dying without issue in 1802, he left his Barbados property to his sisters (see Vane, Barons Barnard), his Cumberland and Westmorland estates to his third cousin Sir William Lowther, Bt, of Swillington (who had purchased Cottesmore in Rutland in 1796), and his Yorkshire property to Sir William’s younger brother John Lowther; whilst Laleham was sold. On his inheritance of the Lonsdale estates Sir William Lowther (who was created Earl of Lonsdale in 1807) surrendered his paternal Swillington property to his brother John Lowther in accordance with their father’s will. The Lowther and Whitehaven estates were administered separately until the latter was sold in 1956.
Estates in 1883: Westmorland 39,229 acres, Cumberland 28,228 acres, Rutland 493 acres, Lancs 115 acres, total 68,065 acres worth £71,333 a year.
|Sources of authority:||Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Principal family and estate collections L-Z, 1999|
|Name authority reference:||GB/NNAF/F84241 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/F10761 )|
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