In the thirteenth century the Leveson family owned land at Willenhall, in South Staffordshire between Walsall and Wolverhampton. During the late 1290s Richard Leveson married a lady called Margery who was the heiress of Henry, son of Clement de Wolverhampton. This marriage brought the Leveson family a considerable amount of land and property in Wolverhampton. From the fourteenth century onwards, the Levesons accumulated land and property in Staffordshire. At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries the family was wealthy enough to buy the lands which had belonged to Lilleshall Abbey in Shropshire and Trentham Abbey in North Staffordshire. Other purchases expanded the estate in Staffordshire and at Halling in Kent. The marriage of Frances Leveson to Sir Thomas Gower in 1631 bought lands in North Yorkshire. Disraeli spoke of the family’s talent for “absorbing heiresses” and this was never more spectacular than in 1785 when George Granville Leveson-Gower, the second Marquis of Stafford married Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland and added to their English possessions vast estates in the Highlands of Scotland.
The Sutherland Papers contain an enormous number of documents relating to the Leveson-Gower family’s lands, particularly their estates in Staffordshire. Medieval deeds, surveys, maps and plans, correspondence and gifts of land for schools, parks and churches can be found alongside mining accounts, political papers and advertisements for local events. These documents span the county, from Wolverhampton to Leek, from Eccleshall to Lichfield. Covering over seven hundred years of history, they tell us a huge amount about local life in Staffordshire from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries.
Click on the links in the alphabetical place index below to learn more about Staffordshire places in the Sutherland Papers:
Eccleshall & Chapel Chorlton
Perton & Penn
Maps and Plans in the Sutherland Papers
There are hundreds of maps and plans in the Sutherland Papers, many relating to the Sutherland estates in Staffordshire and Shropshire, from as early as the sixteenth century. The collection includes maps and plans of Staffordshire and Shropshire surveyed by the famous cartographer Thomas Burton and canal maps produced by the civil engineer James Brindley. Maps of the Staffordshire Potteries reflecting the age of industry in the early nineteenth century are featured here alongside examples of Elizabethan cartography such as Thomas Fletcher’s map of Trentham made in 1599.
Click here to browse Maps and Plans in the Sutherland Papers
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