LOWTHER, John II (1606-1675), of Lowther Hall and Hackthorpe, Westmld. and the Inner Temple, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 20 Feb. 1606,1 1st s. of John Lowther I* and Eleanor, da. of William Fleming of Rydal, Westmld.; bro. of William†.2 educ. Appleby g.s.; I. Temple 1621, called 1630.3 m. (1) 1 Feb. 1626 (with £2,000),4 Mary (d. 9 Feb. 1648),5 da. of Sir Richard Fletcher of Hutton-in-the Forest, Cumb., 5s. (3 d.v.p.) 6da. (2 d.v.p.);6 (2) 9 Apr. 1652,7 Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Hare* of Stow Bardolph, Norf., wid. of Woolley Leigh of Addington, Surr., 3s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.).8 suc. fa. 1637;9 cr. bt. by Nov. 1638.10 d. 30 Nov. 1675.11

Offices Held

Steward of Richmond and Marquess fees, Westmld. 1634-49, 1660;12 recorder, Kendal, Westmld. 1637-48;13 j.p. Westmld. 1637-at least 1644, by 1655-6, Cumb., Westmld. and Yorks. (N. Riding) 1660-d.;14 commr. subsidy, Westmld. 1641, assessment, 1660-d., N. Riding 1661-d., Cumb. 1663-d.,15 array, Cumb. and Westmld. 1642,16 oyer and terminer, Northern circ. 1660-73;17 dep. lt. Westmld. 1660-d.;18 sheriff, Cumb. 1661-2;19 commr. loyal and indigent officers, Westmld. 1662,20 charitable uses, Cumb. and Westmld. 1670,21 recusants, Cumb. Westmld. and N. Riding 1675.22

Master in Chancery extraordinary 1639.23

Col. of horse (roy.) 1643-4.24


Lowther’s father found him and his brothers ‘careful to follow my direction, industrious and diligent to do good in the world to themselves and others; and I know none more careful and less vicious than they, none of them loving nor using any play, drink, venery, or other vice’.25 His first wife, whose father began life as a chapman, proved an impeccable accountant and, moreover, ‘a pious, prudent, painful, laborious, loving, charitable, hospitable woman’.26 Lowther was still pursuing his legal studies at the Inner Temple during the general election of 1628, but was returned in his absence for Westmorland as junior colleague to his father. On 6 May either he or his kinsman, Richard Lowther (MP for Appleby) obtained leave to go into the country. The House evidently did not expect him to return, for it was stipulated that before he left he should pay his contribution to the gift customarily raised for the officers and servants of the Commons and the poor of Westminster.27

In 1629 Lowther began housekeeping at Hackthorpe, and supplemented his landed income by working as a barrister before the Council in the North.28 Like his father, he kept a personal diary and meticulous accounts of his income and expenses. He succeeded in 1637 to an estate of £1,450 a year, and was soon afterwards compelled to pay £850 ‘for the baronetship put upon me’.29 He stood for Westmorland again in the elections of April 1640, but lost to the ultra-Royalist Sir Philip Musgrave†. Although he signed the Westmorland petition to the Short Parliament against Ship Money, he viewed the Civil War as an irritating interruption to the careful management and expansion of his estate, for ‘by these troubles’, he declared, ‘little profit was made in Westmorland, besides the loss in Yorkshire of my rents, whereof I got but little’.30 He endeavoured to remain neutral, but was unable to refuse a commission in the royalist army. However, he was ‘never in any actual service against the Parliament’, and submitted ‘upon the first opportunity of the Parliament forces advancing to those parts’, compounding for £2,000.31 He sat for Westmorland in the Restoration Convention. Having made his final will on 1 Apr. 1675, he died on 30 Nov. following, and was buried in Lowther parish church.32 He made generous provision for his large family, having taken pains to ensure that his younger sons pursued worthy careers, and married well.33 Lowther’s portrait survives in a private collection.34 His grandson, the second baronet, represented the county almost continuously from 1677 until his elevation to the peerage as Viscount Lonsdale in 1696.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), D/Lons/L3/1/5; H. Owen, Lowther Fam. 170.
  • 2. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. ed. Foster, 85.
  • 3. Owen, 170; I. Temple Admiss.; CITR, ii. 186.
  • 4. Lowther Fam. Estate Bks. ed. C.B. Phillips (Surtees Soc. cxci), 51.
  • 5. Ibid. 62.
  • 6. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 85.
  • 7. Estate Bks. 66.
  • 8. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. 85.
  • 9. C142/564/168.
  • 10. CB, ii. 440; C78/446/16.
  • 11. Estate Bks. 198.
  • 12. Owen, 170; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 284.
  • 13. Kendal Boke off Recorde ed. R.S. Ferguson (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. extra ser. vii), 29.
  • 14. C231/5, p. 256; HMC Portland, i. 186; CSP Dom. 1655, p. 94; C220/9/4, ff. 13v, 30v, 91.
  • 15. SR, v. 66, 89, 221, 342, 456, 756, 772-3.
  • 16. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 17. C181/7, pp. 18, 640.
  • 18. SP29/11/155; HMC Le Fleming, 43.
  • 19. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 28.
  • 20. SR, v. 385.
  • 21. Cumb. RO (Kendal), WDRy 1124.
  • 22. CTB, iv. 697, 750, 789.
  • 23. C216/1/139.
  • 24. CCC, 1024.
  • 25. Estate Bks. 230.
  • 26. Ibid. 62-3.
  • 27. Ibid. 27; CD 1628, iii. 268.
  • 28. Estate Bks. 4-5, 51-2.
  • 29. Ibid. 58-9.
  • 30. Ibid. 61; C.B. Phillips, ‘Gentry in Cumb. and Westmld. 1600-65’ (Lancaster Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1973), pp. 169, 235, 287, 291.
  • 31. SP23/100, pp. 216, 218; Estate Bks. 61.
  • 32. PROB 11/350, f. 154.
  • 33. D.R. Hainsworth, ‘The Lowther Younger Sons’, Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. lxxxviii. 149-60.
  • 34. Owen, 169.