Duke of Sutherland

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Dukedom of Sutherland
Arms of the Duke of Sutherland
Creation date 14 January 1833
Created by William IV of the United Kingdom
Peerage Peerage of the United Kingdom
First holder George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford
Present holder Francis Egerton, 7th Duke
Heir apparent James Granville Egerton, Marquess of Stafford
Remainder to the 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Marquess of Stafford
Earl Gower
Earl of Ellesmere
Viscount Trentham
Viscount Brackley
Baron Gower
Granville Leveson-Gower,
1st Marquess of Stafford

Duke of Sutherland is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom held by the head of the Leveson-Gower family. It was created by William IV in 1833 for George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford. A series of marriages to heiresses by members of the Leveson-Gower family made the Dukes of Sutherland one of the richest landowning families in the United Kingdom.

The subsidiary titles of the Duke of Sutherland are: Marquess of Stafford (created 1786), Earl Gower (1746), Earl of Ellesmere, of Ellesmere in the County of Shropshire (1846), Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the County of Stafford (1746), Viscount Brackley, of Brackley in the County of Northampton (1846), and Baron Gower, of Sittenham in the County of York (1703). The marquessate of Stafford, the earldom of Gower and the viscounty of Trentham are in the Peerage of Great Britain, the dukedom, the earldom of Ellesmere and the viscounty of Brackley in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and the barony of Gower in the Peerage of England. The Duke is also a Baronet, of Sittenham in the County of York, a title created in the Baronetage of England in 1620.[1] Between 1839 and 1963 the Dukes also held the titles of Lord Strathnaver and Earl of Sutherland, both in the Peerage of Scotland. The Scottish titles came into the family through the marriage of the first Duke to Elizabeth Sutherland, 19th Countess of Sutherland.

Family history[edit]

Sir Thomas Gower was created a Baronet, of Sittenham in the County of York, by James I in 1620. This title was in the Baronetage of England. His son Thomas, the second Baronet, married Frances, daughter of Sir John Leveson. Their grandson son William, the fourth Baronet (who succeeded his unmarried elder brother), assumed the additional surname of Leveson. Sir William married Lady Jane (d. 1696), daughter of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath and sister of Grace Carteret, 1st Countess Granville (see Earl Granville). Their son John, the fifth Baronet, was raised to the Peerage of England as Baron Gower, of Sittenham in the County of York, in 1706. His son, the second Baron, served three times as Lord Privy Seal. In 1746 he was created Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the County of Stafford, and Earl Gower. Both titles are in the Peerage of Great Britain. His eldest surviving son from his first marriage, Granville, the second Earl, was also a prominent politician. In 1786 he was created Marquess of Stafford in the Peerage of Great Britain. Lord Stafford married secondly Lady Louisa Egerton, daughter of Scroop Egerton, 1st Duke of Bridgewater. His son from his third marriage to Lady Susanna Stewart, Lord Granville Leveson-Gore, was created Earl Granville in 1833, a revival of the title created for his great-great-aunt in 1715.

The Emigrants Statue commemorates the flight of Highlanders during the clearances, but is also a testament to their accomplishments in the places they settled. Located at the foot of the Highland Mountains in Helmsdale, Scotland.

Lord Stafford was succeeded by his eldest son from his second marriage, George. He married Elizabeth Sutherland, 19th Countess of Sutherland. In 1803 he succeeded to the vast estates of his maternal uncle Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. In 1833 he was created Duke of Sutherland in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

Clearances[edit]

The 1st Duke and Duchess of Sutherland remain controversial for their role in the Highland Clearances, when thousands of crofters were removed forcibly from their land so as to allow sheep rearing on a much larger scale than before. Such activities were in widespread use across Scotland and Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Clearances were considered by the landlords as necessary "improvements". They are thought to have been begun by Admiral John Ross of Balnagowan Castle in 1762. MacLeod of MacLeod (i.e. the chief of MacLeod) began experimental work on Skye in 1732. Chiefs engaged Lowland, or sometimes English, factors with expertise in more profitable sheep farming, and they "encouraged", sometimes forcibly, the population to move off suitable land. Another wave of mass emigration came in 1792, known as the "Year of the Sheep" to Scottish Highlanders. The people were accommodated in poor crofts or small farms in coastal areas where farming could not sustain the communities and they were expected to take up fishing. In the village of Badbea in Caithness the conditions were so harsh that, while the women worked, they had to tether their livestock and even their children to rocks or posts to prevent them being blown over the cliffs.[2] Others were put directly onto emigration ships to Nova Scotia (Antigonish and Pictou counties and later Cape Breton), the Kingston area of Ontario and the Carolinas of the American colonies. There may have been a religious element in these forced removals since many Highlanders were Roman Catholic. This is reflected by the majority representation of Catholics in areas and towns of Nova Scotia such as Antigonish and Cape Breton. However, almost all of the very large movement of Highland settlers to the Cape Fear region of North Carolina were Presbyterian. (This is evident even today in the presence and extent of Presbyterian congregations and adherents in the region.)

Estates[edit]

According to the will of the Duke of Bridgewater, the Egerton estates passed on the death of the first Duke of Sutherland to his third son Lord Francis Leveson-Gower, who changed his surname to Egerton by Royal licence. In 1846 he was created Viscount Brackley and Earl of Ellesmere.

The Duke was succeeded by his eldest son and namesake George, the second Duke. In 1839 he also succeeded his mother in the ancient Scottish titles of Earl of Sutherland and Lord Strathnaver. His eldest son, the third Duke, married Anne Hay-Mackenzie, who in 1864 was created Countess of Cromarty, with remainder to their younger sons (see Earl of Cromarty).

His grandson, the fifth Duke, succeeded to the title at the age of 25 in 1913. In 1914 he decided on the outbreak of the First World War that it was unwise to have so much of his riches tied up in land and property. He sold the family's Staffordshire estate except Lilleshall Hall and 50 acres (20 ha) of gardens. He then decided he wanted to live closer to London, and sold the whole package in 1917 to Sir John Lee. The Duke was childless; on his death in 1963, the line of the eldest son of the first Duke failed. He was succeeded in the earldom of Sutherland and lordship of Strathnaver, which could be inherited by females, by his niece Elizabeth. Elizabeth also inherited most of her uncle's wealth, but the dukedom and other titles could only be passed on to male heirs, and they were inherited by his third cousin once removed, John Sutherland Egerton, 5th Earl of Ellesmere, who became the 6th Duke of Sutherland as well. He was a great-great-grandson of the first Earl of Ellesmere, third son of the first Duke of Sutherland. He also died childless and was succeeded by his first cousin once removed, Francis Ronald Egerton, the seventh and present duke, a grandson of the Hon. Francis William George Egerton, second son of the third Earl of Ellesmere.

Today most of the duke's wealth is in the form of the art collection put together by the first duke's uncle, Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, which had been inherited by the Ellesmere line of the family. In 2003 the new Duke sold Titian's "Venus Anadyomene" to the National Gallery of Scotland. In 2009 he sold the two other masterpieces by Titian: " Diana and Callisto" and "Diana and Actaeon",[3] but he is still the owner of other masterpieces, such as a 1657 self-portrait by Rembrandt, the "Bridgewater Madonna" by Raphael and the "Sacraments" series by French master Nicolas Poussin.[4]

Other family members[edit]

William Gower, youngest son of Sir William the fourth Baronet, was Member of Parliament for Ludlow.

The Hon. William Leveson-Gower, second son of John, first Baron Gower and grandson of the fourth Baronet, was Member of Parliament for Stafford. The Hon. Thomas Leveson-Gower, third son of the first Baron, was Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme. The Hon. Baptist Leveson-Gower, fourth son of the first Baron, was also Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The Hon. Richard Leveson-Gower, fourth son of the first Earl, was Member of Parliament for Lichfield. The Hon. John Leveson-Gower (1740–1792), sixth son of the first Earl, was an Admiral in the Royal Navy.

Frederick Neville Sutherland Leveson-Gower, son of Lord Albert Leveson-Gower, younger son of the second Duke, sat as Member of Parliament for Sutherland. Lord Ronald Gower, youngest son of the second Duke, was a politician, sculptor and writer.

Seats[edit]

The family seat was originally Lilleshall Hall and later, grander, family seats included Trentham Hall, Dunrobin Castle, and Cliveden. In the 19th and early 20th century the family’s London residence was Stafford House, which was rated as the most valuable private residence in London.

The duke's current seat is at Mertoun House in St. Boswells, in the Scottish Borders.

Gower, later Leveson-Gower Baronets, of Stittenham (1620)[edit]

Barons Gower (1703)[edit]

Earls Gower (1746)[edit]

Other titles: Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the county of Stafford (1746) and Baron Gower (1703)

Marquesses of Stafford (1786)[edit]

Other titles: Earl Gower and Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the county of Stafford (1746) and Baron Gower (1703)

Dukes of Sutherland (1833)[edit]

Other titles (1st Duke onwards): Marquess of Stafford (1786), Earl Gower and Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the county of Stafford (1746) and Baron Gower (1703)
Other titles (2nd–5th Dukes): Earl of Sutherland and Lord Strathnaver (Sc 1235)
Other titles (6th Duke onwards): Earl of Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley, of Brackley in the county of Northamptonshire (1846)

The second in line is Lord Henry Alexander Egerton (b. 1977), younger son of the 7th Duke, who also has three daughters.

Line of succession[edit]

  • Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (1800-1857), had issue, including:
    • George Granville Francis Egerton, 2nd Earl of Ellesmere (1823-1862), from whom the present Duke descends.
    • Francis Egerton (1824-1895), who had issue, including:
      • William Francis Egerton (1868-1949), who had a son:
        • Francis Egerton (1896-1935). He had issue, including three sons:
          • Anthony Francis Egerton (1921-1985). He had two sons:
            • Simon Francis Cavendish Egerton (b. 1949)
            • Fulke Charles Granville Egerton (b. 1952)
          • Michael Godolphin Egerton (1924-1979), who had three sons:
            • Mark William Godolphin Egerton (b. 1958)
            • Robin Michael Bowring Egerton (1962-1988)
            • Nicholas Egerton (b. 1967)
          • David William Egerton (1930-2012), who had a son:
            • Francis David Egerton (b.1959)
  1. James Granville Egerton, Marquess of Stafford (b. 1975). Elder son of the 7th Duke
  2. Lord Henry Alexander Egerton (b. 1977). Younger son of the 7th Duke
  3. Simon Francis Cavendish Egerton (b. 1949). Great-great-great-grandson of the 1st Earl of Ellesmere through his second son Francis (1824-1895).
  4. Fulke Charles Granville Egerton (b. 1952). Younger brother of Simon Francis.
  5. Nicholas Egerton (b. 1967). Son of Michael Egerton (1924-1979), the younger brother of Anthony Egerton (1921-1985).
  6. Francis David Egerton (b. 1959). Son of David Egerton (1930-2012)

If the dukedom were to become extinct, the marquessate of Stafford would pass to the Earl Granville, heir of the younger son of the first Marquess.[5][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]