Lowther Castle, near Penrith, Cumbria, England, is an ancient castle and seat of the Earls of Lonsdale. The estate is reportedly haunted by the ghost of 'Wicked Jimmy'.
Lowther Castle became home of the Earls of Lonsdale, the most landrich landowners in all Westmorland. The name Lonsdale derives from a nearby river. The castle was first built some time before the Dark ages, but was not as grand as it would become, originally classed only as a small Hall. It wasn't until the mid 1700's, when architect David Smirke, who would later build the National British Museum, expanded Lowther Castle massively.
In its time, Lowther Castle was noted as one of the best castles in Britain. In the 1780's, British Ambassador to China, Thomas DeQuincy said that it was the only thing in Britain that he could compare to the large Palaces in china. In the 1850's the Lonsdale Earls abandoned the once famous castle, and handed over their land. The Castle became derelict and is today only a shell, with the outer walls still standing.
James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, born 1736, was known for his money and sometimes dangerous behavior. The nearby village of Arksham knew him as 'Wicked Jimmy' for his hostile and arrogant manner. He was well known for his eccentric form of traditionalism. Although he was the Earl of Lonsdale during the early 18th century, he insisted in dressing, talking, and acting as if he were a Georgian from the 16th century. He considered the modern world vulgar and distasteful. This view on the world, however, made him miserable and unpopular amongst his peers.
James Lowther was forced into an arranged marriage with a woman he did not love. She was the rich daughter of an industrialist, and she in turn hated him. They even made an agreement that they would act as if they had never married. At the same time, Lowther was in love with a local farm worker. Although Lowther never expressed his love for this woman as he was technically married, he arranged for her to visit him in Lowther Castle.
During the 1820's the farm worker died, devastating Lowther. It was said he was driven mad, and demanded servants and visitors act as if his lover were still alive. He pretended to marry the corpse and ordered his servants to move it around so he could pretend she was still alive. This reportedly extended to eating with the corpse in the dining hall.
Eventualy, Lowther was confronted about this habit as the corpse had became too decomposed, the odor from decomposition becoming unbearable. Finally James agreed to allow the corpse be buried in a class coffin in a massive crypt in the prestigious Paddington Abbey in London. For a short time, James actually moved into the crypt to live with the corpse.
Upon Jimmy’s eventual return to Lowther Castle, he behaved even more oddly. He had became obsessed with death and trying to prevent it. It is said that Lowther was angry death had bested him and he became determined to control it. He became insanely tyrannical. It was during this period of his life he was nicknamed 'Wicked Jimmy'. James became more and more introverted and spent the rest of his life attempting to discover a way to live forever.
When Jimmy died, it was reported that his corpse actually lept from the coffin during his funeral and attacked a clergyman before collapsing back into the coffin. Since that night, James Lowther's ghost is said to wander Lowther Castle in its outplace Georgian dress, his ghost riding around the Penrith area in a carriage drawn by a black horse. This carriage terrorized the farm where his lover lived until a priest preformed a blessing on Lowther's grave and then putting a large boulder on top of the grave to immobilize the spirit. But it is also said 'Wicked Jimmy's' carriage can still be seen in the area, his ghost still wanders the grounds of Lowther. He is also, always reportedly sitting on his bed…