Woman with great literary mind

Date: Saturday 11th January 2003

THE funeral service will be held today of Lavinia Lowther, wife of the late Captain Anthony George Lowther, who has died aged 71 following a short illness.

Born in California, Mrs. Lowther moved to London at the age of 26 before meeting her future husband. The couple were married within a year and moved to Whitbysteads, Askham, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She died at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, on Monday. Her funeral service will be held at noon today at St. Michael’s Church, Lowther, conducted by the Rev. Jeff and the Rev. Rosie Radcliffe.

Born in 1931 at Pasadena, California, she was the only child to Thomas and Mary Joyce. Her father was a colonel in the United States Air Force and the family later moved to San Francisco.

Mrs. Lowther attended the University of California and was married briefly to an American poet. But she moved to London in the autumn of 1957 in the hope of travelling throughout Britain and Europe. She moved into a flat in Knightsbridge and within a short time met Captain Lowther who would later become Cumbria Police Authority chairman, High Sheriff of Westmorland and Master of the Ullswater Foxhounds at a function in Northumberland.

They were married in June, 1958, at a register office at Caxton Hall, London, and moved into his home at Whitbysteads.


She was a devoted housewife and mother to their four children, Camilla, Arbell, Sarah and Thomas.

Domestic tasks occupied much of her time, but she was also a keen gardener and turned this into a lifelong hobby. For many years she opened the grounds of her property to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.

In 1968, she took over from her husband’s mother, Muriel, as president of Penrith Evergreen Club and she served in that capacity for several years.

She was a great animal lover, breeding and showing Pekinese dogs.

In 1978 she became a governor at Fyling Hall School, Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire the oldest co-education school in the country and remained in that post to the present day. Pupils from that school were evacuated to Eden during the Second World War and links between the two areas remained.

She became a governor of the Lowther School Exhibition Endowment and of Lowther Endowed Primary School, and was a governor at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith, from 1985 until 2001.

When Captain Lowther, younger brother of the current Earl of Lonsdale, died in March, 1981, she took over farming duties at Whitbysteads and was helped by her friend Sid Scott, whose brother was a former manager at Greystoke Castle. During the foot and mouth crisis two years ago, she held a determined stance in the face of the Government’s restrictions which prevented her from leaving her home.

Mrs. Lowther’s best friend, Claire White, principal of Fyling Hall School, said: “She had a great literary mind and had enormous vitality and unbridled interest in all that was going on.”

She is survived by her children Camilla Aboah, a photographic agent who lives in London; Arbell Lowther, of Barcelona; Sarah Husband, a landscape gardener and florist, of Whitby; and Thomas Lowther, who will live at Whitbysteads. She also leaves eight grandchildren, Adwoa, Kesewa, Honor, George, Alfie, Joe, Harry and Elanor.