William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale

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The Earl of Lonsdale
Portrait of The Earl of Lonsdale, 1806, by Samuel William Reynolds (after John Opie)
Member of Parliament for Rutland
In office
Serving with Gerard Noel Edwards
Preceded byUnion of Great Britain and Ireland
Succeeded byGerard Noel Edwards
The Lord Carbery
In office
Serving with Gerard Noel Edwards
Preceded byGerard Noel Edwards
Lord Sherard
Succeeded byUnion of Great Britain and Ireland
Member of Parliament for Cumberland
In office
Preceded bySir Henry Fletcher, Bt
Sir James Lowther, Bt
Succeeded bySir Henry Fletcher, Bt
Humphrey Senhouse
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
In office
Serving with The Earl of Surrey
Preceded byAnthony Morris Storer
Walter Spencer Stanhope
Succeeded byThe Earl of Surrey
Edward Norton
Member of Parliament for Appleby
In office
Serving with Philip Honywood
Preceded byPhilip Honywood
George Johnstone
Succeeded byPhilip Honywood
William Pitt
Personal details
William Lowther

(1757-12-29)29 December 1757
Died19 March 1844(1844-03-19) (aged 86)
York House, Twickenham
Political partyTory
Lady Augusta Fane
(m. 1781; died 1838)
RelationsSir John Lowther, Bt (brother)
Henry Zouch (uncle)
Thomas Zouch (uncle)
Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale (grandson)
William Lowther (grandson)
Parent(s)Sir William Lowther, 1st Baronet
Anne Zouch
EducationWestminster School
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, KG (29 December 1757 – 19 March 1844), also known as Sir William Lowther, 2nd Baronet, of Little Preston, from 1788 to 1802, and William Lowther, 2nd Viscount Lowther, from 1802 to 1807, was a British Tory politician and nobleman known for building Lowther Castle.

Early life[edit]

Lowther was the eldest son of Rev. Sir William Lowther, 1st Baronet, of Little Preston and Swillington, and his wife Anne Zouch. His younger brother was Sir John Lowther, 1st Baronet, who also married a daughter of the 9th Earl of Westmorland. His father, an ordained priest who served as rector of Swillington from 1757 to 1788, inherited the estate of Swillington in 1763, upon the death of his first cousin Sir William Lowther, 2nd Baronet.[1]

His father, a son of Christopher Lowther, was a grandson of Sir William Lowther. His maternal grandparents were Charles Zouch, vicar of Sandal Magna, and the former Dorothy Norton (daughter of Gervase Norton). Through his mother, his uncles were Henry and Thomas Zouch.[1]

He was educated at Westminster, 1771, and Trinity College, Cambridge, 1776.[2]


Like many members of the Lowther family, he followed the politics of his cousin, Sir James Lowther, 5th Baronet (later the 1st Earl of Lonsdale), but he seems to have shown a tendency towards independence.[3] Lowther was briefly Member of Parliament for Appleby in 1780, for Carlisle from 1780 to 1784 and for Cumberland from 1784 to 1790. In 1796, he was returned as Member of Parliament for Rutland, holding the seat until 1802.[3]

On 15 June 1788, he succeeded his father as the second baronet, of Little Preston. In 1802, he inherited by special remainder the titles of Viscount Lowther and Baron Lowther from his third cousin twice removed, the 1st Earl of Lonsdale of the first creation, as well as his immense estates. He was also appointed to the northern Lord Lieutenancies of Cumberland and Westmorland. In 1807, Lowther was himself created Earl of Lonsdale and appointed a Knight of the Garter.[3]

A coal magnate, he spent £200,000 on the Lowther estate and built a new Lowther Castle. A Tory in politics, he seems to have been tolerant and well-liked, disdaining sabbatarianism[4] and serving as patron for a number of painters and authors, including William Wordsworth.[5]

Personal life[edit]

On 12 July 1781, Lord Lonsdale was married to Lady Augusta Fane (died 1838), the eldest daughter of John Fane, 9th Earl of Westmorland and, his first wife, Augusta Bertie (eldest daughter and co-heiress of Lord Montagu Bertie, fourth son, by his second wife, of Robert Bertie, 1st Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven).[1] Together, they were the parents of six children:[6]

Lowther also enjoyed fox hunting, serving as Master of the Cottesmore Hunt from 1788 to 1802 and 1806 to 1842.[8]

Lord Lonsdale died at York House, Twickenham on 19 March 1844.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lonsdale, Earl of (UK, 1807)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Lowther, William (LWTR776W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b c "LOWTHER, William (1757-1844), of Uffington, Lincs". historyofparliamentonline.org. History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  4. ^ "The 1st Earl of Lonsdale". Twickenham Museum. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Lowther Castle Conservation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  6. ^ "Lowther pedigree 2". Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  7. ^ Walker, LuLen. "Lady Mary's Sketchbook". Georgetown University.
  8. ^ "Cottesmore Hunt History". Retrieved 12 January 2007.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Appleby
With: Philip Honywood
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Carlisle
With: Earl of Surrey
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Cumberland
With: Sir Henry Fletcher, Bt
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Rutland
With: Gerard Noel Edwards
Succeeded by
(Union of Great Britain and Ireland)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(Union of Great Britain and Ireland)
Member of Parliament for Rutland
With: Gerard Noel Edwards
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Cumberland and Westmorland
Succeeded by
Title last held by
The Earl of Lonsdale
Vice-Admiral of Cumberland
Titles of nobility
New title Earl of Lonsdale
Succeeded by
Preceded by Viscount Lowther
Baron Lowther
(descended by acceleration)

Preceded by Baronet
(of Little Preston)