Portrait of Richard Lowe, undated © RBS 2015
Richard Lowe (1716-85) was a partner in the banking firm Raymond, Williams, Vere, Lowe & Fletcher, 1771-85.
Background and early life
Richard Lowe was born in 1716, the younger son of Vincent Lowe of Denby and his wife Theodosia. The family had been landowners in Denby, Derbyshire, for over three centuries, but Richard, as a younger son, did not stand to inherit the family estates. Instead, he went into business as a woollen draper in King Street, Covent Garden, London.
Richard Lowe’s woollen drapery business, opened with his business partner Evan Lewis and known as Lowe & Lewis, was very successful. It became one of the leading clothiers to the army, supplying a number of regiments including the 1st Dragoons and the Marines. Lowe became a man of considerable wealth, owning estates in Bedford, Wiltshire and Lincolnshire and property in Middlesex.
Towards the end of 1770 Richard Lowe invested £5,000 in a new banking partnership with Charles Raymond, John Williams, Charles Vere and Henry Fletcher. Raymond, Williams, Vere, Lowe & Fletcher began trading in January 1771.
John Williams died in 1774, so the partnership became Raymond, Vere, Lowe & Fletcher. Charles Raymond left the partnership in 1777 to start another banking firm, so a new partnership was formed in 1778, now including Robert Williams (brother of John Williams) and John Jennings, a clerk in the business. Following the sudden departure of Jennings to the West Indies three months later, the business became Lowe, Vere & Williams, at which point each of the three partners had £10,000 capital in the business. The partnership continued in this form until Richard Lowe’s death in 1785.
Family life and death
In 1771 – the same year Richard Lowe went into banking – Lowe’s elder brother John died and Richard inherited the family estates.
On 5 June 1784 Richard Lowe married Eleanor Layton, by whom he had previously had two illegitimate daughters, Charlotte and Ann. He died just under a year later, on 28 May 1785. His will provided that if his only unmarried daughter, 18-year-old Ann, married one of her cousins or a son of his friend and executor Edward Miller Mundy, the husband would inherit the whole of his estates. She did not do so; in fact she married the honourable Thomas Fane, uncle of Sarah Sophia Fane, who later became senior partner in Child & Co. Lowe’s estates therefore passed – following lengthy litigation involving multiple challenges and objections – to his cousin William Drury of Nottingham.
- Williams Deacon’s, 1771-1970 (Manchester: privately published, 1971)