Lady Stafford's Letters

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Letters from Lady Susan Stafford to her daughter Charlotte, Marchioness of Worcester and later Duchess of Beaufort, 1774-1805, reflecting the social life of women in late 18th century high society. Lady Stafford instructs her daughter in matters of education, religion, marriage and bringing up her children. Lady Stafford clearly took a keen interest in politics, and references are made to the trial of Marie Antoinette in France, and the British Government led by William Pitt. She also writes with social news and gossip, details of her reading matter, travels in England, changing fashions and the death of her husband in 1803. The collection includes a few letters to Charlotte from other family members including her sister, Lady Susan Leveson-Gower, the Dowager Duchess of Beaufort and Lady Caroline Egerton; and manuscript notes about the Stafford family made by Raglan Somerset in 1907.

Administrative / Biographical History

Granville Leveson-Gower (1721-1803), Earl Gower and subsequently created the first Marquess of Stafford on 28th February 1786, married as his third wife, on 3rd May 1768, Lady Susannah Stewart (1745-1805) second daughter of the sixth Earl of Galloway. They had four children: Georgiana (1769-1806); Charlotte (1771-1854); Susan (1772-1838) and Granville, (1773-1846). Charlotte, to whom the letters are written, married Henry, Marquess of Worcester, in 1791. He succeeded his father as sixth Duke of Beaufort in 1803. The Lord Gower of the letters is Lord Stafford's eldest son by his second marriage to Lady Louisa Egerton. Lord Granville Leveson, his son by his third wife, was created Viscount Granville in 1815 and Earl Granville in 1833. Georgiana married the honourable William Eliot in 1797 and had four children. Susan married Dudley Ryder, later Earl of Harrowby in 1795. She had three sons and five daughters. Charlotte had, by the time of her mother's death in 1805, given birth to Lord Glamorgan (b.1792); Granville (b.1792); Charlotte (b.1795); Elizabeth (b.1798); Georgiana (b.1800) and Henry (b1803). Lord Glamorgan is referred to as Herbert in the letters but his christian name is given as Henry by the time he succeeded his father as seventh Duke of Beaufort in 1835 - presumably after his younger brother died in 1822.

Lord and Lady Stafford lived at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire and in a house in Whitehall, opposite Horse Guards

Reference: Christine Penney, Catalogue of Lady Stafford's Papers (University of Birmingham Library, 1986).


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 1984.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue to item level is available in the University of Birmingham Information Services Special Collections Department and at the National Register of Archives in London. The catalogue is available online via the A2A database

Alternative Form Available

Lady Stafford's Letters were micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications in 1998 as part of a micropublication under the title Aristocratic Women: the social, political and cultural history of rich and powerful.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.