LOWTHER, Richard (1602-1645), of Ingleton, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 30 Apr. 1602, 1st s. of William Lowther of Ingleton by Eleanor, da. of Anthony Welbury of Castle Eden, co. Dur.1 educ. G. Inn 1619.2 m. 16 June 1625 (with £200),3 Isabel, da. of Sir Richard Fletcher of Hutton-in-the-Forest, Cumb., 8s. (4 d.v.p.) 3da. d.v.p.4 suc. fa. 1641.5 d. 15 Aug. 1645.6
Col. of ft. (roy.) and gov. Pontefract Castle by 1644-July 1645.10
Lowther’s father, William, was the youngest of the seven uncles of John Lowther I*, and thus represented the most junior line of this Westmorland gentry family. William owed his Ingleton estate to his brother, Sir Gerard Lowther†, an Irish judge, who first allowed him to settle there, then in 1620 conveyed the property to him, along with the advowson and rectory of the local parish.11 Lowther himself was born at his family’s ancestral seat of Lowther, but presumably grew up at Ingleton. He entered Gray’s Inn aged 17, and although there is no evidence that he was called to the bar, he apparently practised as a counsellor-at-law.12 Around the time that he came of age, Lowther received lands at St. Bees, Cumberland from his uncle, Sir Gerard. However, after the latter’s death in 1624, the legality of this conveyance was challenged, and in the following year Lowther and his father were obliged to compound with John Lowther I, who claimed to have a better title.13 Despite this disagreement, Lowther remained on good terms with his cousin, and their personal ties were strengthened in January 1626, when John’s son, John II*, married Lowther’s sister-in-law, Mary Fletcher. Accordingly, he may have been the ‘Richard Lowther, late of Shoreditch, Middlesex’ who was described in February 1626 as having spent most of the previous year living at Lowther Hall.14
In January 1626 the electors of Berwick-upon-Tweed failed to agree on how to dispose of the borough’s second parliamentary seat. In the ensuing confusion Lowther was successfully nominated for the vacancy, conceivably by his kinsman Henry Clifford, Lord Clifford*, the joint lord lieutenant of Northumberland. Elected no later than 6 Feb., Lowther initially wrote from Lowther Hall to thank the borough, but then presented himself two days later at Berwick, where he was sworn as a freeman, and entrusted with delivering his own election indenture to Westminster.15 Lowther’s cousin, John I, also sat in this Parliament, and although the surviving records do not clearly distinguish between the two men prior to the latter’s knighthood on 6 June, the business ascribed to ‘Mr. Lowther’ probably belongs to John, who was already an experienced Member. In 1628, Lowther was returned at Appleby, the election indenture specifically citing his Ingleton connection. As this borough’s patronage was controlled by the earls of Cumberland, he almost certainly relied on Lord Clifford, the 4th earl’s heir, for his nomination.16 In this Parliament Lowther can be confused with his cousin John II, and it is unclear which of the two men was granted leave to depart on 6 May.17
In 1630 Lowther and his father sold the St. Bees estate to Sir John Lowther for £2,450. The Ingleton lands generated an income of only around £140 p.a., but this was sufficient to secure Lowther’s appointment as a Yorkshire magistrate in 1634. However, he was removed two years later, apparently because his father was being restored to the bench.18 There is no evidence that he lived in London in later life, and the ‘Richard Lowther, esq., of Gray’s Inn’ who sat for Appleby in the Short Parliament was almost certainly Sir John Lowther’s brother, a senior figure at the Inn, who also resided in the City.19 Lowther once more became a Yorkshire j.p. in 1641, shortly before his father’s death, and was also added that year to the Westmorland bench. He was presumably now experiencing financial difficulties, for in June 1642 he mortgaged Ingleton manor for £1,000. A royalist officer during the first Civil War, Lowther was governor of Pontefract Castle by December 1644. When the garrison surrendered in the following July he was allowed to withdraw to Newark, but died there of consumption on 15 August. No will or administration has been found. News of his death reached Berwick only in 1651-2, when he was finally removed from the list of freemen. None of his descendants is known to have entered Parliament.20
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. ed. Foster, 83.
- 2. GI Admiss.
- 3. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), D/Lons/L3/1/8/13; C6/113/80.
- 4. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 83.
- 5. C142/610/102.
- 6. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 240.
- 7. Berwick RO, B1/8, p. 198.
- 8. Cumb. RO (Kendal), WSMB/A, Appleby corporation min. bk. 1, unfol.
- 9. C231/5, pp. 128, 199, 437, 477.
- 10. Newman, 240; N. Drake, ‘Jnl. of the 1st and 2nd Sieges of Pontefract Castle’ ed. W.H.D. Longstaffe Misc. (Surtees Soc. xxxvii), 3, 80.
- 11. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 83, 85; C142/610/102.
- 12. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), D/Lons/L3/8/13; Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 83.
- 13. E.T. Bewley, ‘Some Notes on the Lowthers’, Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 6-7; Lowther Fam. Estate Bks. ed. C.B. Phillips (Surtees Soc. cxci), 22, 35.
- 14. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 85; Lowther Fam. Estate Bks. 51; E115/242/77.
- 15. Berwick RO, B1/8, pp. 198, 201-2; T.D. Whitaker, Hist. of Craven Deanery, 311; C.H.H. Blair, ‘Members of Parl. for Berwick-upon-Tweed’, Arch. Aeliana, ser. 4, xxiv. 78.
- 16. OR; Wentworth Pprs. ed. J.P. Cooper (Cam. Soc. ser. 4, xii), 288-9.
- 17. CD 1628, iii. 268.
- 18. Lowther Fam. Estate Bks. 35; Roy. Comp. Pprs. ed. J.W. Clay (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xviii), 156.
- 19. OR; Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 85; PBG Inn, 277; Cumb. RO (Carlisle), D/LONS/L1/1/8.
- 20. Roy. Comp. Pprs. 156-7; Drake, 80, 82; Newman, 240; Berwick RO, B1/10, f. 205.