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Lowther, family, Earls of Lonsdale

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The summary includes a brief description of the collection(s) (usually including the covering dates of the collection), the name of the archive where they are held, and reference information to help you find the collection.

Date: 1100-2011
History:

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.

Places:
  • Ackworth, Yorkshire
  • Aikton, Cumberland
  • Asby Grange, Westmorland
  • Cambo, Northumberland
  • Casterton, Westmorland
  • Cavendish, Suffolk
  • Christchurch, Barbados
  • Cottesmore, Rutland
  • Dennington, Suffolk
  • Drumburgh, Cumberland
  • Garforth, Yorkshire
  • Haslemere, Surrey
  • Kendal, Westmorland
  • Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland
  • Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland
  • Laleham, Surrey
  • London
  • Lowther, Westmorland
  • Lupton, Westmorland
  • Marton cum Grafton, Yorkshire
  • Maulds Meaburn, Westmorland
  • Nunthorpe, Yorkshire
  • Parton, Cumberland
  • Penrith, Cumberland
  • Ravenstonedale, Westmorland
  • Sandal, Yorkshire
  • Sockbridge, Westmorland
  • St Bees, Cumberland
  • Whitehaven, Cumberland
  • Workington, Cumberland
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 )
Collections
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1
12th cent-20th cent: Cumberland (St Bees, Whitehaven, Workington, etc), Westmorland (Kirkby Lonsdale, Lowther, etc) and Yorks (Marton, etc) deeds, legal papers, manorial records, maps, plans, rentals, accounts and estate, mining and Lowther family corresp and papers 12th-20th cent, incl London, Lowther, Maulds Meaburn and Whitehaven household papers 17th-20th cent, with Laleham (Middlesex) deeds, manorial records and estate papers 1428-19th cent, deeds and papers for Norfolk and Suffolk (Cavendish, Dennington, etc) 13th-17th cent, Northumberland (Cambo) 12th-16th cent, Cottesmore (Rutland) 1776-19th cent and Haslemere (Surrey) 17th-19th cent, Christchurch (Barbados) estate papers 1649-1802, etc
Cumbria Archive Centre, Carlisle
NRA 17777 Lowther

See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63a]; Archivist's Report Oct-Dec 1993, Oct-De
2
late 17th cent-20th cent: Cumberland (Aikton, Drumburgh, etc) and Westmorland (Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale, etc) legal and estate papers
Cumbria Archive Centre, Carlisle
NRA 36596

See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63b]
3
18th cent-2011: Cumberland (St Bees, Whitehaven, etc) legal, manorial, estate, mining and election corresp and papers
Cumbria Archive Centre, Carlisle
NRA 23766

See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63c]
4
16th cent-19th cent: Westmorland (Casterton, Kirkby Lonsdale, etc) deeds and papers 16th-19th cent, incl Casterton rental 1704 and Kirkby Lonsdale survey 1757
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63d]
5
12th cent-19th cent: Westmorland (Asby Grange and Ravenstonedale) deeds, manorial records and legal and misc papers
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
NRA 32567

See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63e]
6
16th cent-20th cent: Westmorland (Kirkby Lonsdale, Lupton, etc) manorial records
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
NRA 40440

See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63f]
7
1587: Maulds Meaburn (Westmorland) rental
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63g]
8
1734-1735: Kendal (Westmorland) rental
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63h]
9
1792-20th cent: Westmorland and Cumberland manor call books and collectors books 19th-20th cent, with estate rentals 1792, 1846, 1861 and Lake Windermere encroachment books 1893, 1907
Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63i]
10
1291-1726: Yorks (Marton, etc) deeds and papers 1291-1689, Lowther family corresp 1660-89 and papers rel to the 3rd Viscount Lonsdale's appointment as Constable of the Tower 1726
West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds
NRA 7344 Ramsden
11
1295-1751: Yorks (Marton, etc) deeds and papers
North Yorkshire County Record Office
NRA 40287 Lowther
12
1756: Christchurch (Barbados) plantation accounts
British Library, Manuscript Collections
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [109k]
13
1690-1800: Christchurch (Barbados) deeds and estate papers 1690-1800 and Lowther family accounts and papers 1703-69
Royal Bank of Scotland Archives
See information from website
14
1737-1746: account book of Sir James Lowther of Whithaven
Cumbria Archive and Local Studies Centre, Whitehaven
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63j]
15
1687-1697: letters to 1st Viscount Lonsdale
Yale University Libraries: Beinecke Library
See HMC Principal family and estate collections L-W, 1999 [63k]
16
1726-1746: papers of the 3rd Viscount Lonsdale as Constable of the Tower 1726-27 and lord lieutenant of Cumberland 1745-46
Cumbria Archive and Local Studies Centre, Whitehaven
NRA 12093

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