ruined castles hit your historical building hotspot, then you should
head straight for Lowther near Penrith.
Castle is the ultimate fairytale castle, all turrets and towers
and gothic arches silhouetted against the sky, set in 3000 acres
of rolling parkland.
was designed by a young architect called Robert Smirke, and was
built between 1806 and 1814, at the height of the Romantic movement
which was sweeping Cumbria at the time. Experts say it's an outstanding
example of gothic revival architecture.
the famous "Yellow Earl", Hugh Lowther, lived there in
the last decades of the 19th and first decades of the 20th Century
the castle was the centre of a social whirl: royalty, heads of state,
politicians and all manor of the rich and famous of the time visited
Lowther for parties and sporting weekends.
German Kaiser came twice and brought the Earl a very early Mercedes
Benz along with a German chauffeur!
and Dick Tolmie in the overgrown castle grounds. Winnie has
vivid memories of the castle from when she was a girl in the
1920s and Dick was employed at the castle for most of his working
Lowther was a motoring pioneer and many older people remember the
sight of his fleet of yellow cars winding through the narrow roads
castle's owned by the Lowther Estate Trust and it's been in the
Lowther family for around 900 years. You can't go inside now because
it's far too dangerous, and overgrown with nettles and trees.
castle was closed in 1937 and used by a tank regiment during the
Second World War who did almost as much damage to nearby dry stone
walls and bridges as they did in Germany. Its contents were removed
in the late '40s and the roof was removed in 1957.
then the castle's been slowly crumbling away and the central tower
is so close to collapsing that English Heritage has just awarded
the Lowther Estate Trust £65,000 for emergency repairs.
it's an exciting time for these romantic ruins: The Lowther Castle
and Garden Project is about to employ architects to help devise
a master plan for taking the castle forward into the 21st Century.
Puxley, the project's director, hopes that in future years it will
once again become a vibrant Cumbrian attraction with theatre and
sculpture, and perhaps garden or food festivals. Watch this space.