LOWTHER, John (1759-1844), of Swillington, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1780 - Mar. 1786
10 Apr. - 31 May 1786
13 June 1786 - 1790
1796 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 1 Apr. 1759, 2nd s. of Rev. Sir William Lowther, 1st Bt., rector of Swillington, by Anne, da. of Rev. Charles Zouch, vicar of Sandal; bro. of Sir William Lowther, 2nd Bt.* educ. Felsted 1769-71; Westminster 1771-3; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1776; L. Inn 1780. m. 4 Sept. 1790, Lady Elizabeth Fane, da. of John Fane, 9th Earl of Westmorland, 3s. 3da. cr. Bt. 3 Nov. 1824.

Offices Held


Lowther, like his elder brother, was dropped by his cousin Lord Lonsdale in 1790; unlike his brother he had followed the dictates of his cousin in the previous Parliament, but it seems probable that he shared in a general punishment inflicted by Lonsdale on that branch of the family. Restored to favour and a seat in 1796, his position became secure on Lonsdale’s death in 1802, when he inherited estates in Yorkshire and his brother succeeded to the main estates and electoral influence of the Lowthers. Although unopposed in Cumberland before 1820, Lowther’s seat in the House was ensured at the general elections of 1806, 1807 and 1812 by his prior return for the family’s pocket borough of Cockermouth, and he made it clear before the election of 1818 that he was not prepared to face a contest for the county. His doing so in 1820 was at his brother’s instigation, his own expressed wish being to retire.1

Lowther’s politics were indistinguishable from those of his family. Throughout his long career he made no notable speech and, unusually for a county Member, showed no leaning towards independence. A Pittite in the 1796 Parliament, he supported Pitt’s question for the orders of the day, 3 June 1803, but otherwise refrained from opposing Addington until he voted against him on 15 Mar., 16, 23 and 25 Apr. 1804. His brother seceded from Parliament when Addington was admitted to office in 1805. Lowther no doubt went with him and took no part in the divisions concerning Melville’s misapplication of navy funds, 8 Apr., 12 June 1805. He was nevertheless classed a Pittite in the government list of July 1805. There is no evidence of his having opposed the Grenville ministry. At no time did he divide against the administrations of Portland, Perceval or Liverpool, but he actively supported them in the lobby less frequently than other members of his family. Perceval’s friends pestered his brother about his attendance early in the session of 1810; after turning up on 23 and 26 January, he paired. He voted against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810, and with ministers on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. During the critical session of 1812 he paired, and his ‘never appearing’ was seen as proof of his brother’s continuing opposition to a junction with Sidmouth;2 but there can be little doubt that his conduct was apolitical rather than hostile to administration. Lowther opposed Catholic relief when present. He died 11 May 1844.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Leveson Gower, ii. 53.
  • 2. Phipps, Plumer Ward Mems. i. 442-3, 446.