George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland
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George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland KG (8 August 1786 – 27 February 1861), styled Viscount Trentham until 1803, Earl Gower between 1803 and 1833 and Marquess of Stafford in 1833, was a British Whig MP and peer from the Leveson-Gower family.
His father died in 1833, only six months after being created Duke of Sutherland by William IV for his support of the Reform Act 1832, and so this new title devolved on his eldest son. His mother, who was 19th Countess of Sutherland in her own right, died in 1839, and so her ancient Scottish title passed to George, who also became 20th Earl of Sutherland. As a result, the two titles became united in the same person until 1963. It was the 2nd Duke who assumed the additional surname of Sutherland so that his family name became Sutherland-Leveson-Gower.
Political career and public offices
After returning from Europe, Earl Gower entered the Commons as M.P. for the Cornwall rotten borough of St Mawes in 1808. In 1812, he transferred to sit for the Staffordshire borough of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, until 1815, when he stood to become one of the county MPs for Staffordshire, sitting until 1820.
He was also Lord Lieutenant for the County of Sutherland from 1831 until his death, was appointed High Steward of the Borough of Stafford in 1833, and was Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire from 1839-45. He was appointed Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) in 1841.
Sutherland was partially deaf and therefore decided not to play a very active part in politics which was the path well worn by his contemporary peers. Instead he expended his energies by spending some of his vast wealth which he inherited from his father on improving his homes. In 1845, he employed Sir Charles Barry to make vast alterations to Dunrobin Castle. Barry transformed the place into the 189-room ducal palace which we see today. In addition to Dunrobin, the Duke also had Barry completely remodel his Staffordshire seat of Trentham Hall, Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, and the family's London townhouse, Stafford House, which was the most valuable private home in the whole of London.
Sutherland married Lady Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Howard (1806 – 27 October 1868), daughter of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle, on 28 May 1823. They had eleven children, seven daughters and four sons:[disputed ]
- Lady Elizabeth Georgiana (30 May 1824–25 May 1878), married George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll and had issue.
- Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower (8 August 1825–24 November 1869), married Charles Stuart, 12th Lord Blantyre
- Lady Caroline Leveson-Gower (15 April 1827–13 May 1887), married Charles FitzGerald, 4th Duke of Leinster and had issue.
- Lord George Granville William (19 December 1828–22 September 1892), succeeded as 3rd Duke.
- Lady Blanche Julia Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (26 June 1830–24 February 1832)
- Lord Frederick George Leveson-Gower (11 November 1832–6 October 1854)
- Lady Constance Leveson-Gower (later Sutherland-Leveson-Gower in 1841; 16 June 1834–19 December 1880), married Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster and had issue.
- Lady Victoria Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (16 May 1838–19 June 1839)
- Lord Albert (21 November 1843–1874), married Grace Abdy, daughter of Sir Thomas Neville Abdy, 1st Baronet and had issue, including Frederick Neville Sutherland Leveson-Gower.
- Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (2 August 1845–9 March 1916), died unmarried.
- Lady Alexandrina Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (3 February 1848–21 June 1849)
A very large proportion of today's aristocracy are descended from the 2nd Duke of Sutherland. Through the marriages of his daughters, he is the ancestor of the present Dukes of Hamilton & Brandon, Argyll, Northumberland, Leinster, and Westminster, the present Marquesses of Hertford and Londonderry, the present earls of Selkirk, Lichfield and Cromartie, and the present Viscount Dilhorne, among many others. The heir to the present Duke of Roxburghe is also descended from him. His male line died out on the death of his great-grandson, the 5th Duke in 1963, and the title passed to John Egerton, a descendant of the 2nd Duke's brother Francis who was not descended from the 2nd Duke (although his wife, Diana, was). The present Countess of Sutherland is a direct descendant of the 2nd Duke. He was also the ancestor of the late Duchess of Beaufort, but not of the present Duke of Beaufort. Other notable descendants include the naturalist Gavin Maxwell and the spymaster Eliza Manningham-Buller.
- "Death of the Duke of Sutherland". The Times (The Times Digital Archive). 2 March 1861. p. 12.
- The Complete Peerage, Volume XII. St Catherine's Press. 1953. p. 565.
- "Lord Sutherland". CricketArchive. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Sutherland