Romantic Castle and Secret Gardens
The Lowther family have had estates in Cumberland and Westmorland for almost 1000 years. In 1805 they commissioned the architect Robert Smirke to build them a castellated palace in Lowther Park near Penrith. It was home in the early part of the twentieth century to the flamboyant and profligate Fifth Earl of Lonsdale, the man known as The Yellow Earl. In his long life he spent several kings’ ransoms in the pursuit of happiness. His spending and two sets of crippling death duties within ten years so damaged the Lowther fortunes that the castle had to be abandoned.
To the young Seventh Earl, who inherited the title in 1953, Lowther castle and the 130 acres of formal gardens so beloved of the Yellow Earl were symbols of a terrible Edwardian decadence that sat uncomfortably with the new, austere post-war Britain. In an act of financial necessity tinged with aristocratic spite he ruined the castle, planted sitka spruce across its gardens and built intensive chicken sheds where its lawns had been.
Now, though, there’s a plan to bring the castle and gardens back to life; to awaken the sleeping beauty that’s lain forgotten in the forest for more than half a century. For four years we’ve been filming the project through all its stages and discoveries.
Running Time 55 mins approx. £12.99