Lowesby Hall

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Lowesby Hall, Leicestershire, south view, drawn by John Preston Neale (1780–1847), engraved by J. Capon, published in Neale's "Views of Seats", c.1830
Lowesby Hall, Leicestershire, drawn by John Preston Neale, engraved by J. Capon, published in Neale's "Views of Seats", c. 1830

Lowesby Hall is a large Grade II* Georgian mansion in the parish and former manor of Lowesby, eight miles east of Leicester in Leicestershire. It is a famous fox-hunting seat in the heart of the Quorn country. The poem "Lowesby Hall" by the Victorian English foxhunting MP William Bromley Davenport (1821–1884) was a parody on Alfred Tennyson's 1835 poem Locksley Hall.[1]



Arms of Wollaston: Argent, three mullets sable pierced of the field.[2] These arms are said to be visible inside the house: "behind the corridor, the pedimented front of the original building line is visible: a large shield of arms of the Wollaston family is flanked by oculi in the pediment, which, like the rest, has a modillion cornice" (Listed Building text)

In the mid-17th.century the manor of Lowesby was acquired by Richard Wollaston (1635–1691), son of Henry Wollaston, a citizen of London in 1669, himself the younger brother of Sir John Wollaston (died 1658), Lord Mayor of London in 1643, and second son of Edward Wollaston of Perton in Staffordshire by his wife and cousin Elizabeth Wollaston of Trescot Grange, Staffordshire.[3] He was thus descended from a junior branch of the Wollaston family anciently from Staffordshire and later settled at Shenton Hall, Leicestershire [4] and Finborough Hall in Suffolk. He appears to have been a gun-founder. A Richard Wollaston served in a man-of-war and in 1650 received a gunner's certificate. He was described in 1650 as a "Master Gunner" on drawing from stores five barrels of gunpowder for a display on the launch of two frigates at Deptford. He has been described as "Cromwell's gun founder", and certainly held a high position in the Ordnance Department and was responsible to the Ordnance Commission.[5] He had two sons Josiah and John (died 1692), who in 1669 purchased from Thomas Johnson a house at Wormley in Hertfordshire then occupied by their father Richard. Also in 1669 John purchased the Manor of Ponsbourne, formerly possessed by Sir Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral of England. In 1673 Richard purchased a moiety of the manor of Wormley which was inherited by his son John (died 1692) thence to John's son Richard who in 1692 purchased the remaining moiety except the manor house of Wormley Bury. In 1685/8 Richard bequeathed a moietv of 2 farms in Essex to charity. In 1690 a year before his death he applied for the return of the sum of £10,000 he had loaned to the Prince of Orange, by then King William III. The Treasury Records contain the entry: "£140 paid to John Wollaston for the use of his father Richard on a/c of £10,000 part of £20,000 lent the King, and a further £50 on a/c of Poll Tax". Both these were Secret Service payments. On his death in 1691 he left land valued at £100 to the poor forever, £20 for clothing the poor in the parish of Woolmer, £30 to the parish of Whitchurch and £50 for 6 parishes in Leicester.[5] He had the following descendants:


Arms of Fowke baronets of Lowesby: Vert, a fleur-de-lys argent[8] At Lowesby Hall these arms are sculpted within an open pediment above the window over the front door[9]

The house was let by the Fowke family, which moved at some time to Upcott Farm in the parish of Bishops Tawton in Devon,[10] to many subsequent tenants as a residence during the hunting season. The tenant in 1910 was Captain, later Lt-Col., Harold Brassey (c. 1880 – 1916),[7] a polo champion, killed in action during WWII, a younger son of Henry Brassey (1840–1891), JP, DL, MP for Hastings, and brother of Henry Brassey, 1st Baron Brassey of Apethorpe (1870–1958).[11] His grandfather Thomas Brassey (1805–1870) had made a huge fortune as a railway engineer. Brassey commissioned Edwin Lutyens (1866–1944) to alter and extend the Hall and gardens.


Lowesby Hall was sold to the Nuttall family in the 1900s, and was inherited from his father by Sir Nicholas Nuttall, 3rd Baronet (1933–2007) in 1941. Nuttall held a famous party at Lowesby Hall in 1959 to celebrate the restoration of a painted ceiling by Antonio Verrio (later destroyed by fire in 1980),[9] and held a dance in tents at Lowesby in 1976, shortly before he sold it and moved to the Bahamas, emulating a party held by the Shah of Iran in the desert in 1972.

Post 1976[edit]

As of 2012 the house remains in private ownership.


  1. ^ Poems of the Chase, collected and recollected by Sir Reginald Graham, Bart. London, 1912. Lowesby Hall, by W. Bromley Davenport, pp.120-129.
  2. ^ Arms of Wollaston of Shenton Hall, Nuneaton, Leicester, (Burke's Landed Gentry, 1937,p.2480) of which family the Wollaston baronets are said to be a junior branch
  3. ^ John Burke. A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank; but uninvested with heritable honours (Volume 3)[1]
  4. ^ History of Parliament biography of his grandson Richard Wollaston (c. 1669 – 1728, MP [2]
  5. ^ a b c "The Loseby and Wormley Branch". tiscali.co.uk. 
  6. ^ English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, quoted in http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/index2.php?option=com_parksandgardens&task=site&id=2162&preview=1&Itemid=
  7. ^ a b "Lowesby Hall - mansion / manor house / villa". wikimapia.org. 
  8. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1967, p.315
  9. ^ a b Listed Building text
  10. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1967
  11. ^ "- Person Page 1570". thepeerage.com. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°39′39″N 0°56′03″W / 52.6609°N 0.9343°W / 52.6609; -0.9343