Lowther Castle in Guide Books and Literature

On Friday we headed to Lowther Castle for lunch and a walk through the grounds. The recent work on the grounds and the Castle has made such a difference, and we really enjoyed admiring the gardens and restored buildings.The restoration work makes it possible to imagine how the Castle must have been when it was inhabited.

Lowther Castle has undergone many reconstructions, there has been a Hall or Castle in the grounds since the Middle Ages. The current building was constructed between 1804 and 1814.

Lowther Castle is inextricably linked with the Wordsworth family and with Romanticism, in general. Wordsworth's Father was the agent for the Earl of Lonsdale. The Earl owed Wordsworth's Father a large sum of money, and it was this debt which plunged the Wordsworth family into poverty upon their Father's death.

However, once the debt was settled, on the death of the Earl, Wordsworth spent much time at the Castle as did many other poets and writers of the time. In 1814 Wordsworth dedicated his long poem The Excursion to William, Earl of Lonsdale:

Oft, through thy fair demesnes, illustrious Peer!
In youth I roamed, on youthful pleasures bent;
And mused in rocky cell or sylvan tent,
Beside swift-flowing Lowther's current clear. 

Thomas Allom Lowther Castle South Front 1832 
Many travel and tour writers visited Lowther Castle and wrote about the Castle and the grounds.

Celia Fiennes visited the Castle in 1698, when it was newly built, and was impressed by the building especially the large hall upstairs "very lofty, the top and sides are exquisitely painted by the best hand in England..."

In 1724 Daniel Defoe added that the Lowther Stables were "the wonder of England....certainly the largest and finest that any gentleman or nobleman in Britain is master of". We certainly enjoyed our lunch in these splendid buildings!

Thomas de Quincey wrote "all was savage grandeur about these native forests: their sweeping lawns and glades had been unapproached, for centuries it might be, by the hand of art; and amongst them roamed - not the timid deer - but thundering droves of wild horses".

Thomas Wilkinson in his guide book Tours to the British Mountains with the Descriptive Poems of Lowther and Emont Vale wrote:

The Muse prophetic sees the hand of taste
Conduct new beauties through the wild-wood waste
Sees the rude dome above your forest grow,
The sparkling grotto hide its wealth below;
Sees Phoenix-like, the mansion rise again,
And look majestic o'er her native plain.
'Tis done - already, glittering from afar,
Lowther's white towers salute the morning star. 

The poet Samuel Rogers recalled meeting Wordsworth and Southey at Lowther in 1812 "while the rest of the party were walking about, talking and amusing themselves, Southey preferred sitting solus in the library. How cold he is! was the exclamation of Wordsworth - himself so joyous and communicative".

We spent a happy few hours amongst the ruins and admiring the gardens, especially the ferns which are everywhere.