Tuesday, 21 December 2010

George Granville Sutherland-Leveson Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland

Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, George Granville, 2nd Duke of Sutherland
At the time of the Crimean War it was a matter of honour for highland chiefs to raise troops from their own lands. George, the 2nd Duke of Sutherland and son of the Countess Elizabeth and the greatest landowner of all, unbelievably appointed as his recruiting agent, the very same James Loch who had organized the clearances in his parent's time. Not a single man enlisted. In an attempt to avoid humiliation, the Duke came north in person to address a packed meeting of the clan at Golspie. He warned the men of the Russian menace, reminded them of their great service in the past and invited them to enroll on the spot. Again there was no response until an old clansman stepped forward to say, "I am sorry for the reception your Grace's proposals are meeting here. But there is a cause for it. It is the opinion of this county that should the Czar of Russia take possession of Dunrobin Castle, we would not expect worse treatment at his hands than we have experienced in the hands of your family for the last 50 years. But one comfort you have. Though you cannot find men to fight, you can supply those who do fight with plenty of mutton and beef." Of course the resentment was not universal, nor did it last forever. The very same 93rd Regiment to which the Duke tried to recruit his men won great honor as "The Thin Red Line" at Balaclava soon afterwards, with many Sutherland men among the heroes.

The 2nd Duke of Sutherland assumed the additional name of Sutherland, making the surname Sutherland-Leveson-Gower. His wife, Duchess Harriet, was a Carlisle Howard and Mistress of Robes to Queen Victoria. It was the 2nd Duke who commissioned Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, to transform Dunrobin from a traditional Scottish Castle into a vast palace in Franco-Scots style. Barry encased the ancient parts and added all the main rooms now seen by the public. This architect also worked on the Duke's houses of Cliveden in Buckinghamshire and Trentham Hall in Staffordshire.

Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle

Cliveden Hall
trentham hall
Trentham Hall

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