The Marquess of Stafford
|Lord Privy Seal|
22 December 1755 – 30 June 1757
|Prime Minister||The Duke of Newcastle |
The Duke of Devonshire
|Preceded by||The Duke of Marlborough|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Temple|
27 November 1784 – 1794
|Prime Minister||William Pitt the Younger|
|Preceded by||The Duke of Rutland|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Spencer|
|Lord President of the Council|
22 December 1767 – 24 November 1779
|Prime Minister||The Earl of Chatham |
The Duke of Grafton
|Preceded by||The Earl of Northington|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Bathurst|
19 December 1783 – 1 December 1784
|Prime Minister||William Pitt the Younger|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Stormont|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Camden|
|Born||4 August 1721|
|Died||26 October 1803 (aged 82)|
Trentham Hall, Staffordshire
|Spouse(s)||(1) Elizabeth Fazakerley |
(2) Lady Louisa Egerton
(3) Lady Susanna Stewart
|Parent(s)||John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower |
Lady Evelyn Pierrepont
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford, KG PC (4 August 1721 – 26 October 1803), known as Viscount Trentham from 1746 to 1754 and as The Earl Gower from 1754 to 1786, was a British politician from the Leveson-Gower family.
Stafford was a son of John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower (1694–1754) and his wife Lady Evelyn Pierrepont. His maternal grandparents were Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull and his first wife Lady Mary Feilding. Mary was a daughter of William Feilding, 3rd Earl of Denbigh and his wife Mary King. His father was a prominent Tory politician who became the first major Tory to enter government since the succession of George I of Great Britain, joining the administration of John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville in 1742. Gower was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.
Stafford was elected to parliament in 1744. With the death of his elder brother in 1746, he became known by the courtesy title of Viscount Trentham until he succeeded his father as Earl Gower in 1754. He built the earlier Lilleshall Hall, converting a 17th-century house located in the village of Lilleshall into a country residence around the late 1750s.
Stafford was associated with the faction of John Russell, Duke of Bedford, who was his brother-in-law, and as a member of that faction, called the "Bloomsbury Gang", was given many governmental positions. Following Bedford's death in 1771, Gower became leader of the group, and as Lord President in the administration of Frederick North, Lord North, he was a key supporter of a hard-line policy towards the American colonists. Between 1775 and 1778, Stafford proceeded to make substantial alterations to his home at Trentham Hall based on the designs by Henry Holland.
By 1779, Gower resigned from the cabinet being frustrated by what he saw as the North administration's inept handling of the American Revolutionary War. When North resigned in March 1782, Gower was approached to form a ministry, but he refused, and he refused subsequent overtures from both Lord Shelburne and the Fox-North coalition to enter the government. Instead, he became a key figure in bringing about the fall of the Fox-North coalition, and was rewarded with the position of Lord President once again in the new administration of William Pitt the Younger. Although he soon exchanged this office for that of Lord Privy Seal, and gradually began to withdraw from public affairs, he remained a cabinet minister until his retirement later in 1794. In 1786, he was created Marquess of Stafford as a reward for his services. He was elected F.S.A. on 28 April 1784.
In 1799 he (or his immediate family benefit trust) was estimated the fifth-wealthiest small family unit in Britain, owning £2.1M (equivalent to £219,500,000 in 2021), having assets in land, mining and arterial canal-toll rights having speculatively invested in the latter projects, much of which was in Staffordshire's Black Country.
He died at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire, on 26 October 1803. He was the last surviving member of the Bloomsbury Gang.
Stafford married three times. He married firstly Elizabeth Fazakerley, daughter of Nicholas Fazakerley with a dowry of £16,000 on 23 December 1744. She died on 19 May 1745 of smallpox. They had no children.
Stafford married secondly Lady Louisa Egerton, daughter of Scroop Egerton, 1st Duke of Bridgewater, in 1748. She died in 1761. They were parents to four children:
Stafford married thirdly Lady Susanna Stewart, daughter of Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway, 23 May 1768. They were parents to four children:
When Lord Stafford died at the age of 82, he was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son George from his second marriage who was created Duke of Sutherland in 1833. The Marchioness of Stafford died in August 1805.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Barker, George Fisher Russell (1893). "Leveson-Gower, Granville (1721-1803)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 33. London: Smith, Elder & Co.