Lowther Castle

We had a fabulous day today. We headed North to Penrith to explore a number of castles and ruins. Our first stop was Lowther Castle, the former home of the Lonsdale family. It's now in ruins although the estate thrives.

James Lowther was the last Earl of Lonsdale to live in the Castle but, after the Second World War he believed that “it was a place that exemplified gross imperial decadence during a period of abject poverty" and he chose to demolish the Castle leaving only its walls intact and focus instead on the Lowther estate.

I've always been fascinated by the links between the Lonsdale family and the Wordsworth family. William and Dorothy's father was solicitor to an earlier Sir James Lowther although he was never paid for his work during his lifetime. On thier father's death the Wordsworth children were left with little or no money. This lack of money was one of the main reasons for the family being divided with Dorothy living in Penrith and William lodging with Anne Tyson and attending Hawkshead Grammar School.

When Sir James Lowther died in 1802 and William Lowther inherited his fortune he immediately refunded the money to the Wordsworth family with interest. He also befriended William Wordsworth and assisted him financially. Wordsworth frequently stayed at Lowther Castle and he wrote:

Lowther! in thy majestic pile are seen
Cathedral pomp and grace, in apt accord
With the baronial castle's sterner mien:
Union significant of God adored,
And charters won and guarded by the sword
Of ancient honour; whence that goodly state
Of polity which wise men venerate,
And will maintain, if God his help afford.
Hourly the democratic torrent swells;
For airy promises and hopes suborned
The strength of backward-looking thoughts is scorned.
Fall if ye must, ye towers and pinnacles,
With what ye symbolise; authentic story
Will say ye disappear with England's glory!

Robert Southey also composed a verse following one of his many visits to Lowther Castle: 

Lowther! have I beheld thy stately walls,
Thy pinnacles, and broad embattled brow,
And hospitable halls.
The sun those wide spread battlements shall crest,
And silent years unharming shall go by,

Till centuries in their course invest
Thy towers with sanctity.
The Castle feels really sad and poignant now. It doesn't feel majestic like the next castle we visited on our tour, Brougham Castle, it just feels empty and pathetic.