Date: 1694 - 1754 (c.)
Description: Sir John Leveson-Gower was born on 9th August 1694, the eldest son of Sir John Leveson-Gower (1675-1709), the first Baron Gower, and his wife Lady Katherine Manners (1675-1722). Sir John inherited extensive lands from his father, including estates in Trentham and Lilleshall. In 1712 Sir John married Lady Evelyn Pierrepont (1691-1727), the third daughter of the Duke of Kingston. The match was advantageous to Sir John as Kingston also owned extensive lands. An extract from the Duke of Kingston’s will states that ‘all his manor lands & Hereditaments in the Countys of Salop Stafford Bucks and Northampton’ would be left to ‘Evelyn Lady Gower for her life and after her decease to her 1st and other sons’. This bequest would ensure that the Leveson-Gower family acquired additional lands in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire as a result of the marriage. Sir John and Lady Evelyn had eleven children. Their son Granville Leveson-Gower (1721-1803) became the first Marquis of Stafford. Lady Evelyn died in 1727 and in 1733 Sir John married Lady Penelope Atkins daughter of Sir John Stonehouse, 7th Baronet of Stonehouse. In 1736, two years after Lady Penelope’s death, Sir John married Lady Mary Grey, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet.
Sir John became a prominent and influential figure in both local and national politics. By the 1720s he controlled Newcastle-under-Lyme and he also built up political support in Stafford, Lichfield and Cheadle. He became the Mayor of Cheadle in 1721. In the 1730s Sir John became prominent in national politics as the leader of the Tories in the House of Lords, becoming the Lord Privy Seal in 1740. Sir John was loyal to the King throughout the Jacobite Risings of the 1740s, and was responsible for raising one of the fifteen recruited regiments for which he was created Viscount Trentham and Earl Gower in 1746.
The Sutherland Papers include a wide variety of papers relating to Sir John Leveson-Gower’s personal and professional life. Letters concerning local politics and documents relating to the Jacobite Uprisings survivie alongside correspondence and bills of expenses relating to his interests in fox hunting and horse racing. Owing to Sir John’s prominent role as a powerful landowner and politician, much correspondence survives amongst his papers relating to significant national events such as schemes proposing the development of navigable waterways.