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The Yellow Earl: Almost an Emperor, Not Quite a Gentleman

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The interview was titled The Caesar of Cumberland. It was conduced by author and journalist Harold Begbie.

The book about him by Douglas Sutherland [The Yellow Earl: Almost an Emperor, Not Quite a Gentleman] was always in demand. It came out in the 1960s and was reprinted in 2015. In a lifetime of studying the habits and habitats, eccentricities and antics of the British Aristocracy, I have seldom come across any character as amusing, entertaining, eccentric, or as profligate as Hugh Lonsdale. The Cottesmore was original based in Cottesmore itself and it was a great income earner for the village providing employment through a variety of means – there was the clothing, catering, stabling, accommodation to name but a few. Hunting lodges were a very profitable business especially during the wars. Those that came for hunting tended to relocate to the area for the winter. In addition selling fodder and bedding was a handy side line for hard-up farmers at a time when farming was experiencing an agricultural depression. At one time the income generated from hunting in Leicestershire alone was estimated to be worth around 10 million pounds. It would be true to say that the hunt brought great economic stability to the village. The Hunt ensured they kept on good terms with the farmers whose fields they crossed and were careful to put right any damage. They always had permission first to cross the land and were welcomed by most farmers.Developing new ways to captivate visitors, we have just launched an app which will engage visitors not only in the museum – but well beyond its walls. The “West Cumbria with the Beacon Museum” app guides its users on trails around the historic port of Whitehaven and wider West Cumbria. As you go along the trails you are introduced to famous historical characters from Whitehaven’s rich history – they interact with their surroundings and share their fascinating stories about life in the town. His Yellow Carriages, his colourful entourage and his feudal style of living made him one of the best known figures of his time; what the modern media would describe as a ‘celebrity’, but he was much more than that. There were a number of leading local families but none so rich as the Lowthers. Local Lordships of the Manor were in the main held by the Lonsdales, the Leconfields, the Egremonts, the Curwens, the Ponsonbys, the Lamplughs, the Penningtons... and St Bees School. In 1882, he succeeded his brother, St George Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale, [3] and was succeeded in turn by his brother, Lancelot Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale upon his death in 1944. [4] Career [ edit ]

As he drove down the course at Ascot behind the King, his yellow carriages and liveried postillions made the Royal Carriages look drab and dowdy by comparison, the cheers for ‘Lordy’ as the working classes called him, were at least as loud and prolonged as those for the King. a b Times, Cable to the New York (14 April 1944). "LONSDALE IS DEAD; NOTED SPORTSMAN; 'England's Most Picturesque Peer Was 87 -- Once Boxed With John L. Sullivan". The New York Times . Retrieved 27 September 2021. The Cottesmore Hunt took on the responsibility for running what was then the Hedgecutting and Ploughing Match Competition from a subcommittee (with a Mr W Hollis of Cottesmore) of the Rutland Agricultural Society in 1926 and at Braunston in 1930 and it was said that over 31 miles of hedge was laid in the Cottesmore country that year. The annual event was abandoned in 1939 until after the War. The Society then resumed with a ploughing match at Ashwell in 1946 with the next hedgecutting function taking place in March 1948. The one-day competitions continued until 1973.This was an interesting way of keeping the hedges in trim and providing a 'social' benefit. The account was very detailed so I will not repeat it here but suffice to say that Hugh Lowther beat John L Sullivan after a vicious battle. He was known as the Yellow Earl for his penchant for the colour, and was a founder and first President of the Automobile Association (AA) which adopted his livery.

Nicholas Coleridge C.B.E, President of Condé Nast International

This was just one of the many elaborate entertainments arranged for the Kaiser’s visit, following which the Kaiser bestowed an honorary Title on Hugh Lowther, which is the German equivalent to ‘Master of the King’s Horse’.

In West Cumberland, he owned the entire town of Whitehaven with the rich coalfields which stretched far under the Irish Sea, and another family seat, Whitehaven Castle.At the same time, his passionate devotion to sport, and his instinct for ‘fair play’ and his showman’s love of the spectacular earned him the adulation of the crowds and a reputation as England’s Greatest Sportsman which spread far beyond this green and pleasant land. Having been frustrated for so long, Hugh Lonsdale set about enjoying his good fortune with great enthusiasm, trumpeting like a thirsty bull elephant who suddenly scents water, he cut a swathe through Society. Lord Lonsdale was the inspiration for the Lonsdale cigar size, and was part of a famous wager with John Pierpoint Morgan over whether a man could circumnavigate the globe and remain unidentified. In 1878, before obtaining his inheritance, Lonsdale married Lady Grace Cecilie Gordon, third daughter of Maria Antoinetta Pegus ( c. 1821–1893) and Charles Gordon, 10th Marquess of Huntly. Her family opposed the marriage as Lonsdale was not then wealthy and seemed irresponsible. This proved to be correct as the following year he invested in cattle in America; the venture collapsed and the Lowther family was forced to save him.

But having an absentee landowner was always a problem; had there been a resident Lowther in West Cumberland the history of the area might have been very different. Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, KG , GCVO , DL (25 January 1857 [1]–13 April 1944) was an English peer and sportsman. Adam says: “There are a few quotes you wouldn’t necessarily put together with him. His thoughts about hunting: obviously he’s not anti-hunting. But he’s not a fan of killing for the sake of it. It’s more about being at one with nature.

He claimed his chief pleasure came from stalking his quarry until he was near enough to pull the trigger, without necessarily doing so. “There’s many a fine stag at Lowther which has been covered by my rifle, but which is still sniffing the dawn in the woods!” But he said of hunting: “The killing is, perhaps, the worst part. I don’t like the killing of anything, although I fear I have killed a good many creatures in my time! But one doesn’t think of the killing.” Fortunately, at the eleventh hour, his elder brother, St George died, and Hugh, spurned by Society, and hounded by his creditors, became overnight one of the richest men in England. He was only 25 when he unexpectedly, inherited the title in 1882.

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