Yates was born in Whitehaven, and educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1751, M.A in 1754 and B.D in 1774. He was Fellow of St Catherine's from 1757 to 1779 and its Master from 1779 to 1798. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1779 to 1780, and from 1794 to 1795. Yates was ordained on December 22, 1755. His first post was as curate to his father at Gargrave. He became Rector of Carrigaline in 1779.
- Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, John Venn/John Archibald Venn Cambridge University Press > (10 volumes 1922 to 1953) Part I. 1209–1751 Vol. iv. Saal – Zuinglius, (1927) p428
- "Masters of St Catharine's College". St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
- "Reminiscences of Cambridge" Gunning, H p107: Cambridge; CUP; 1932
- "History of the Vice-Chancellorship | Vice-Chancellor's Office". v-c.admin.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
- "Presentation of the Rev. Lowther Yates, M A, Fellow of Catherine Hall (Cantab), to the..." The National Archives. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
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