Lady Stafford's Letters

Scope and Content

Letters mainly from Lady Susan Stafford, (formerly Lady Gower, 1768-1786), to her daughter Charlotte (1771-1854), Marchioness of Worcester and later Duchess of Beaufort, 1774-1805. The letters reflect the social life of women in late 18th century high society. Lady Stafford instructs her daughter in matters of education, religion, marriage and parenting. She makes frequent reference to politics, including 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 also 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

Lady Stafford (nee Lady Susannah Stewart, 1745-1805, daughter of the sixth Earl of Galloway) was the third wife of Granville Leveson-Gower (1721-1803, Earl Gower and subsequently the first Marquess of Stafford on 28th February 1786); they married on 3rd May 1768. They had four children: Georgiana (1769-1806), who married the honourable William Eliot in 1797; Charlotte (1771-1854); Susan (1772-1838), who married Dudley Ryder, later Earl of Harrowby; and Granville (1773-1846) who was created Viscount Granville in 1815 and Earl Granville in 1833. Lord and Lady Stafford lived at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire and in a house in Whitehall, opposite Horse Guards.

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. They had two sons and eight daughters and, by the time of her mother's death in 1805, Charlotte had given birth to Henry (also known as Herbert, Lord Glamorgan, later seventh Duke of Beaufort, b 1792); Granville (also b 1792); Charlotte (b 1795); Elizabeth (b 1798); and Georgiana (b 1800).

The Lord Gower referred to in the letters is Lord Stafford's eldest son by his second marriage to Lady Louisa Egerton.

References: Christine Penney, Lady Stafford's Papers (University of Birmingham Library, 1986). Aristocratic Women: the social, political and cultural history of rich and powerful women. A Listing and Guide to Part 2 of the Microfilm Collection (Adam Matthew Publications, 1998)


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 1984.

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for further details.

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 Director of 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.