With wealth that came from the trade in wool, James Leveson (c.1500-1547) of Wolverhampton was able to purchase Trentham Priory and its lands in 1540 from Sir Thomas Pope. As the Leveson-Gowers grew in wealth, through marriage, inheritance and the exploitation of their estate, they improved and added to their property in Staffordshire, Kent, Shropshire, London, Yorkshire and Scotland. Trentham Hall was rebuilt in the 1830s to the magnificent designs of Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) as a house befitting a Duke.
Property deeds, correspondence, inventories and plans tell us about the family’s houses and gardens and the domestic staff employed to manage their households. Volunteers at Staffordshire Record Office have examined letters exchanged between agents and tenants throughout the nineteenth century, providing a fascinating insight into life on the Sutherland estates in England and Scotland during this period. A number of volunteers have also worked with documents in the Lilleshall Collection and the Sutherland Papers, exploring medieval life in Shropshire and the management of the Scottish estates in the late nineteenth century. From accounts relating to Trentham gardens in the 1630s to photographs of the Trentham Hotel, the Sutherland Papers contain a huge collection of documents relating to the history of the Sutherland estates spanning more than three hundred years.
Click on the links below to learn more about estate documents in the Sutherland Papers:
Houses & Gardens
The Sutherland Estates: Staffordshire, Shropshire & Scotland
Retrenchment & Demolition