Lowther Castle

(See also Lowther , Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre)

Lowther castle north facade by Peter ThodyLowther Castle was commissioned by the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, Sir Hugh Lowther, and built by architect Robert Smirke, now known for his work on the British Museum. Constructed from 1806 to 1811 in mostly the decorated Gothic cathedral style of the 14th century, it overlooks the village of Askham. The castle was considered, at the time, to be an elegant mansion. Mullioned windows, pinnacles, towers, turrets, and battlements were just some of its excesses. Inside was carved oak panelling and a brass-railed staircase.

Lowther castle door by Peter ThodyThe building site was that of the former Lowther Hall, which burned to the ground in 1720. Mary Queen of Scots, stayed at the Hall on her journey to her execution, while Queen Victoria stayed in the castle.

By the 1930's, the upkeep on the castle proved too expensive for the family's pocketbook. They moved to Askham Hall. In the 1950's, the interior of the castle was taken apart and only the walls were left standing as a reminder of its former glory.

Lowther castle south facade by Peter ThodyIn the Lowther estate grounds is the “Lowther Oak”, a tree supposedly holding the power to provide good fortune to the Lonsdale family. According to legend, if a branch of the tree touched the ground, bad luck would follow.

The estate grounds now serve as a public park with activities for children. Here the Lowther Carriage Driving Trials and Country Fair take place in August. In the former walled garden of the castle grounds is the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre.Lowther castle steps by Peter Thody

Lowther Castle is located 4 miles south of Penrith.

Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre
Lowther
Tel. 01931 712746.
Open: reopening in April 2011; see www.lowthercastle.org/plans for details of what will be available when all garden and castle work is completed.

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Lowther Parklands
Hackthorpe, Penrith
Tel. 01931 712523
Castle and gardens will open on Good Friday 22nd April 2011 – admittance £5.00 adult with children free.

Photos courtesy of Peter Thody

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