The crest and coronet are those of Lowther, as borne by Sir James Lowther, baronet (1736-1802), created 1st Earl of Lonsdale on May 24, 1784. On the same date he was created Baron Lowther, Baron of the Barony of Kendal, Baron of the Barony of Burgh, Viscount of Lonsdale and Viscount of Lowther. The Complete Peerage notes "the celebrated William Pitt owed his first seat (that of Appleby, 1781-1784) to Sir James Lowther (at the request of the Duke of Rutland), and the shower of peerages rained upon the said Sir James in 1784 was the result." In 1755, he inherited /P2,000,000 from his cousin, the 4th baronet.
The first Earl served as M.P. for Cumberland, Westmorland and Cockermouth between 1757 and 1784, becoming Lord Lieutenant of Westmorland and Cumberland until his death in 1802. At election times in these districts he was known as "The bad Earl" and "Jimmy Grasp-all, Earl of Toadstool." A satirical poem appeared in The Rolliad:
"E'en by the elements his pow'r confess'd
Of Mines and Boroughs Lonsdale stands possess'd,
And one sad servitude alike denotes
The slave that labours, and the slave that votes"
Lecky in his History describes him as "a man of immense wealth and political influence, whose violence, arrogance, despotism and caprice rose almost to the point of madness." Farington wrote that he "had a passion for collecting guineas, and after his death there was found /P16,000 in guineas tied up in bags." (Complete Peerage)