Papers of the Dukes and Duchesses of Sutherland (1758-1963)

Scope and Content

The papers are composed of: letters signed either Gower, Stafford, or Sutherland, between 1800-1838, and from either Stafford House, Trentham or Brighton; letter of 1st Duke from Stafford House, 1833 and in relation to 'purchasing Pictures or adding to his collection'; letters of 2nd Duke, 1832-1857, written at either Westhill, Brighton, Stafford House, Dunrobin, and London, and signed either Gower or Sutherland, and two letters in French (one at Gen. 1983/162); letters (9) of Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, largely undated; letters (10) of 3rd Duke of Sutherland, one written on paper from Woodlands, Clapham Common, but at Portmadoc, 1870, others from Queen Anne Street, London, Stafford House, Swynnerton Park at Stone, and signed either Stafford or Sutherland; letters of the 4th Duke and his Duchess Millicent, from either Stafford House or Trentham, and RYS 'Sans Peur' at Swinemunde on the Baltic; and, letters of the 5th Duke, 1917-1923, from Dunrobin Castle and Hampden House, signed Sutherland. There are also illustrations of Trentham Hall, the Rt. Hon. Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Countess Gower, the 3rd Duke of Sutherland, and a number of newspaper cuttings, two relating to Millicent, Dowager Duchess.

Administrative / Biographical History

While there had been an Earldom of Sutherland in Scotland dating as far back as the thirteenth century - and held by the Gordons through marriage later on in the sixteenth century - the title of Duke of Sutherland was first borne by the family of Leveson-Gower in 1833.

In 1771 the House of Lords agreed that the Earldom belonged to Elizabeth Gordon, youngest and only surviving daughter of William, 18th Earl of Sutherland who died on 16 June 1766. In 1785 she married George Granville Leveson-Gower (1758-1833) who became Marquess of Stafford in 1803, and the two titles and vast estates and wealth were united. Leveson-Gower was educated at Westminster School, and studied at Christ Church, Oxford. He was the MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme and for Staffordshire, and was the British Ambassador in Paris. He held the post (jointly with another) of Postmaster-General, 1799-1810. Leveson-Gower was made Duke of Sutherland in January 1833 and he died on 19 July 1833. The Duke and Duchess (who died on 29 January 1839) had two sons and two daughters.

The eldest son George Granville (1786-1861), 2nd Duke of Sutherland married Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana (d. 1868), daughter of George, 6th Earl of Carlisle. She was a close personal friend of Queen Victoria and was Mistress of the Robes. The Duke was MP for St. Mawes, 1808-1812, for Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1812-1815, and for Staffordshire, 1815-1820. He died on 22 February 1861.

Their eldest son George Granville William (1828-1892), 3rd Duke of Sutherland, was MP for Sutherland, 1852-1861. He married Anne Hay-Mackenzie of Newhall and Cromartie on 27 June 1849. She was created Countess of Cromartie and was also Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria.

Their second son Cromartie (1851-1913), 4th Duke of Sutherland, was MP for Sutherland, 1874-1886. He married the socialite Millicent Fanny, daughter of Robert Francis, 4th Earl of Rosslyn. Their eldest son George Granville Sutherland (1888-1963), 5th Duke of Sutherland, married Lady Eileen Gwladys Butler, daughter of the 7th Earl of Lanesborough. She was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Mary. The Duke was Under-Secretary at the Air Ministry, 1922-1924, Paymaster-General, 1925-1928, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, 1928-1929. The 5th Duke died without issue in 1963 and was succeeded by John Sutherland Egerton, oldest son of the 4th Earl of Ellesmere.

Millicent, Dowager Duchess of Sutherland, died in August 1955. On the death of the 4th Duke in 1913, she had remarried, and married again after a divorce. During the First World War she served as a nurse in Namur.

The hereditary home of the Dukes of Sutherland is Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland. Stafford House, facing Buckingham Palace from Green Park, became Lancaster House.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Burke, Sir Bernard. and Burke Ashworth P. A genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage and baronetage, the Privy Council, and knightage. 87th edition. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1929. (2) Who's who 1962. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Sutherland related material (check the Indexes for more details): a tract on the precedency of the Earls of Sutherland before the Earls of Caithness, 1617, at La.II.45; letter to Elizabeth Sutherland, wife of G. G. Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland, from Sir W. Scott, at La.III.585/7; letter of G. G. Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, to Sir G. Warrender, 1841, at La.II.509; franked postal cover addressed to Gitter and Co., 1834, at Dk.6.19/3; letter of G. G. William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke to Sir C. J. Pearson, 1892, at Gen. 756, no. 276; letters (19) of Millicent, Dowager Duchess, to Professor John Orr about relief for Normandy, 1944-1945, at Gen. 868/1/46-61c; letters of Millicent to Mrs. Howey and to Mrs. A. Tweedie, 1895-1903, at Dk.6.19/2; and, letters of Millicent to Mrs. A. Tweedie, 1895-1896, at Dk.6.19/4.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Dukes and Duchesses of Sutherland related material.