Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of William Drury Nathaniel Drury-Lowe (1828-1906)

William Drury Nathaniel Holden was the eldest son of William Drury Holden. In 1847 he went on a trip from Mainz to Constance. From 1849 he was known as William D.N. Lowe, following his father's assumption of the name and arms of Lowe on inheriting the Locko estate.

He was commissioned as a Cornet in the 11th Regiment Light Dragoons (Hussars) in 1849 and rose to Lieutenant in 1851. In 1853 he travelled to America and Canada. In 1855 he joined the 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons (Lancers) and the following year acted as aide-de-camp to Lord Cardigan. At some point he joined the 3rd Light Dragoons, and rose to the rank of Captain.

In 1858 William's marriage, unauthorised by his father, caused a rift between himself and his parents. He and his wife lived at 'Myria' (now called Plas Muriau), a Victorian country house in Llanrwst, Denbighshire, during the 1860s and 1870s. William was a J.P. for the counties of Carnarvonshire and Denbighshire during this period.

He and his father were reconciled before William's second marriage to Lady Lucy Needham in 1876. He succeeded to the Denby and Locko estates in 1877. In 1884 William obtained licence to take the additional name of Drury and to bear the arms of Drury quarterly with Lowe. He had been informally using the surname Drury-Lowe for some years before this time.

He invested in the coal mining side of the estate in the 1870s and 1880s, and in the 1890s made improvements to Locko Park including the addition of Italian painted ceilings.

Commensurate with his position as a county landowner, William was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant for Derbyshire, and served as High Sheriff for the county in 1893. He stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for Ilkeston in 1885. He served as a Councillor on Derbyshire County Council in the early years of the twentieth century.


He married 1stly in 1858, Sarah Stevens of Elvaston.

He married 2ndly in 1876 Lady Lucy Needham (d 1917), dau. of Francis Jack, Viscount Newry and sister of the 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, and had:

  • William Drury Drury-Lowe (1877-1916)
  • Lucy Anne Drury-Lowe, m 1904 Cecil Ord Durham, and had:
    • Cecil Bruce Durham
  • Dorothy Margaret Drury-Lowe (d 1935)
  • John Alfred Edwin Drury-Lowe (1881-1949)
  • Lawrence Robert Charles Drury-Lowe (1883-1941), Captain in the Scots Guards, m 1917 Beryl Evelyn, dau. of Frederick St Aubyn King of Calcutta, and had:
    • Anne Beryl Jane Drury-Lowe (b 1925)
  • Grace Drury-Lowe (d 1959), m 1908 Captain Cyril Percy Ryan (d 1940), and had:
    • Percy Ryan
    • Thelma Lucy Ryan
  • Edward Nathaniel Drury-Lowe (1888-1948), Captain in the 3rd Bn Notts and Dby Regiment, m 1928 Margaret Lyell, and had:
    • Jane Prudence (b 1933)
    • Timothy (b 1935)

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, settlements, estate and legal papers relating to William D.N. Drury-Lowe's ownership of his estates are part of the Drury-Lowe papers held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • The Drury-Lowe papers include substantial amounts of personal and estate correspondence sent to W.D.N. Drury-Lowe (Dr C 72-146), and notebooks and journals (Dr F 92-127 and Dr 2F 1).


Manuscripts and Special Collections

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