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George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland

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The Duke of Sutherland
The Duke of Sutherland, c. 1865
Lord Lieutenant of Sutherland
In office
Preceded byThe Duke of Sutherland
Succeeded byThe Duke of Sutherland
Member of Parliament for Sutherland
In office
Preceded bySir David Dundas
Succeeded bySir David Dundas
Personal details
George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower

(1828-12-19)19 December 1828
Hamilton Place, London, England
Died22 September 1892(1892-09-22) (aged 63)
Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland, Scotland
(m. 1849; died 1888)
Mary Caroline Michell Blair
(m. 1889)
RelationsSee Leveson-Gower family
ChildrenGeorge Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Earl Gower
Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland
Francis Mackenzie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl of Cromartie
Lady Florence Chaplin
Lady Alexandra Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Parent(s)George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland
Lady Harriet Howard
EducationEton College
Alma materKing's College London

George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland, KG, FRS (19 December 1828 – 22 September 1892), styled Viscount Trentham until 1833, Earl Gower in 1833 and Marquess of Stafford between 1833 and 1861, was a British politician from the Leveson-Gower family.

Early life[edit]

Sutherland was born on 19 December 1828 at Hamilton Place, London. He was the son of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland and Lady Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Howard.[1]

He was educated at Eton College and King's College London.


Sutherland was Liberal[1] Member of Parliament for Sutherland from 1852 until he succeeded his father as Duke in 1861.

He took part in a number of state occasions. He was one of the British delegation to the coronation of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1856, hosted the public visit by Garibaldi to Britain in 1864, attended the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, and accompanied the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) on his state visit to India in 1876.[1]

He was Lord Lieutenant of Cromarty from 1852 until the role was abolished in 1891, and Lord Lieutenant of Sutherland from 1861 until his death.[1]

Sutherland hosted Ulysses S. Grant at Dunrobin when the former president visited Scotland in 1878. He later chaired a committee that organised charitable work to help those involved with the Turko-Russian and Zulu wars.[2]

Military positions and honours[edit]

Sutherland was Colonel of the Sutherland Regiment of Highland Volunteers from 1864 to 1882, and of the 20th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps (Railway Rifles) in 1867. He was awarded Honorary Membership of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland in 1859.[3] He was made KG in 1864, and FRS in 1870. He was a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer of Greece.[1]

Railway interests[edit]

The Third Duke played a key role in the early history of the Highland Railway, being a founder board member of the company and contributing extensively towards the Sutherland Railway, building the Duke of Sutherland's Railway out of his own pocket and also supporting the Sutherland and Caithness Railway. The Highland Railway operated these lines, absorbing them in 1884.

He was President of the Mont Cenis Railway Company which built the first Fell railway and operated it from 1868–1871 to provide a temporary route over the Alps for rail passengers from Calais to Brindisi until the completion of the Fréjus Rail Tunnel.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He married, firstly, Anne Hay-Mackenzie (1829–1888), later created Countess of Cromartie in her own right, on 27 June 1849, at Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire. Together, they had five children:[5]

Sutherland was estranged from his wife Anne for many years before her death in November 1888. Less than four months after her death, Sutherland married, on 4 March 1889, Mary Caroline (née Michell) Blair, with the Bishop of Florida, Edwin Garner Weed, officiating.[7] causing a scandal as the conventional minimum period between the death of a spouse and remarriage being one year.[8][9] Mary was the daughter of Rev. Richard Michell, DD,[10] and the widow of Captain Arthur Kindersley Blair, formerly of the 71st Highland Light Infantry. Blair had resigned his commission in the Highlanders in 1861 and worked as a land agent and business manager for Sutherland; Mrs. Blair became Sutherland's mistress, and although Blair's death in 1883 was officially recorded as accidental, there was considerable speculation, at the time and later, that it may have been suicide or even murder.[11]

The 3rd Duke of Sutherland died, aged sixty-three, at Dunrobin Castle, and was buried on 29 September 1892 at Trentham in Staffordshire. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest surviving son, Cromartie. Their second, Francis, had succeeded to his wife's titles as the 2nd Earl of Cromartie upon her death in 1888.[12]


He owned nearly 1,000,000 acres, with most holdings in Sutherland in addition to 17,000 acres in Salop and 12,000 in Stafford.[13]

Shortly before his death, Sutherland effectively disinherited his natural heirs and tried to leave all his money to his second wife, who was later found guilty of destroying documents and was imprisoned for six weeks. The family later made a substantial settlement in her favour, enabling her to build Carbisdale Castle between 1906 and 1917.[14] Prior to this, she had resided at Sutherland Grange at Dedworth adjoining Windsor in Berkshire. Sutherland's widow, known as Duchess Blair, married thirdly on 12 November 1896 (sep 1904) as his second wife Sir Albert Kaye Rollit (1842–1922), MP for Islington South. She enjoyed an income of £100,000 until her death according to one source.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e The Complete Peerage, Volume XII. St Catherine's Press. 1953. p. 566.
  2. ^ "Sutherland Collection - Power". www.sutherlandcollection.org.uk. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  3. ^ "IESIS Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland". Iesis.org. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  4. ^ P. J. G. Ransom (1999), The Mont Cenis Fell Railway, pp 30/31 Truro: Twelveheads Press
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Sutherland, Duke of (UK, 1833)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  6. ^ Rolt, L.T.C. (1966). Red for Danger. Pan. p. 162. ISBN 0-330-25555-X.
  7. ^ "History of the Church". Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Mary Caroline Blair, nee Michell". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  9. ^ Hughes, Tom (4 September 2011). "Victorian Calendar: September 22, 1892 - The Duchess Blair". Victoriancalendar.blogspot.com. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Rev. Dr. Richard MICHELL, D.D. b. 10 Mar 1805 Bruton, Somerset. England d. 29 Mar 1877 Oxford, Oxfordshire. England". Devon Mitchells. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Papers Past — North Otago Times — 1 June 1889 — NEWSPAPER CRITICISM". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Cromartie, Earl of (UK, 1861)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  13. ^ The great landowners of Great Britain and Ireland
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Scots Peerage, p. 364 online. Also see "Huddersfield Titled Classes" for Rollit's background; he was knighted in 1885.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Sutherland
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Cromarty
Office abolished
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Sutherland
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Duke of Sutherland
Succeeded by