Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Leveson-Gower, John (1675-1709)

LEVESON-GOWER, JOHN, Lord Gower (1675–1709), born on 7 Jan. 1674–5, was the eldest son of Sir William Leveson Gower (d. 1691), fourth baronet of Stittenham, Yorkshire, by his wife Lady Jane Grenville (d. 1696), eldest daughter of John Grenville, first earl of bath [q. v.] He was elected M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyne, Staffordshire, on the death of his father in 1691, and represented the borough until his elevation to the peerage. On 1 April 1701 Gower impeached the Earl of Portland in the name of all the commons of England Lutterell, Relation of State Affairs, 1867, v. 34). It being found necessary to create a majority in the upper house, he was made a peer as Baron Gower of Stittenham on 16 March 1702-3 (Burnet, Our Time, Oxford ed. ii. 344), was sworn of the privy council on the following 21 April, and at the same time was declared chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the place of the Earl of Stamford (Lutterell, v. 165). In 1706 he was one of the commissioners who concluded the union between England and Scotland, being then chancellor of the duchy, but was dismissed from office on 16 May of that year (ib. vi. 46). He died at Belvoir Castle, Grantham, Lincolnshire, on 31 Aug. 1709 (ib. vi. 483), and was buried at Trentham, Staffordshire, on 10 Sept. following. In September 1692 he married Lady Catherine Manners, daughter of John, first duke of Rutland (ib. ii. 565), and had by her four sons and two daughters. Lady Gower died 7 March 1712 (Letters of Administration, P.C.C. June 1712).

The eldest son, John Leveson-Gower, first Earl Gower (d. 1754), was created D.C.L, at Oxford on 19 Aug. 1732. On 12 May 1740 he was declared one of the lords justices of the kingdom, during the king's absence in Hanover. On 9 July 1742 he was constituted custos rotulorum of Staffordshire, and four days later lord privy seal and a privy councillor. He was appointed a lord justice for the second time on 25 April 1743, was elected recorder of Lichfield on the following 15 Sept., and on 10 Dec. resigned his office of lord privy seal. On 26 Dec. 1744 he was again gazetted lord privy seal, and in 1745) one of the lords justices. On the breaking out of the Jacobite rebellion he raised a regiment of foot for the king's service. In recognition of his lovalty he was created Viscount Trentham and Earl Gower by letters patent dated 8 July 1746. In 1748, 1750, and 1752 he again acted as one of the lords justices. He died 25 Dec. 1754. He married first, on 8 March 1711-13, Lady Evelyn Pierrepont (d. 17 June 1727), third daughter of Evelyn, duke of Kingston; secondly, on 31 0ct. 1733, Penelope (d. 19 Aug. 1734), widow of Sir Henry Atkins, bart., and daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, bart.; and thirdly, in 1736, Lady Mary, widow of Anthony Grey, earl of Harold, son of Henry, duke of Kent, and daughter and coheiress of Thomas Tufton, earl of Thanet. He had issue by all three marriages; Granville Leveson-Gower, first marquis of Stafford, his third son by his first wife, and John Leveson-Gower (1740-1792), his second son by his third wife, are separately noticed. His portrait by Vanloo has been engraved by Faber.

[Collins's Peerage (Brydges). ii. 447-50; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 143.]

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