List of Downton Abbey characters
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 2011)|
- 1 Cast
- 2 The Crawley Family
- 2.1 Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham
- 2.2 Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
- 2.3 Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
- 2.4 Lady Mary Crawley
- 2.5 Lady Edith Crawley
- 2.6 Lady Sybil Branson
- 2.7 Matthew Crawley
- 2.8 Isobel Crawley
- 2.9 Lady Rosamund Painswick
- 2.10 Tom Branson
- 2.11 Martha Levinson
- 2.12 Harold Levinson
- 2.13 Sybil Branson
- 2.14 George Crawley
- 2.15 Marigold
- 2.16 Hugh MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire
- 2.17 Lady Rose Aldridge
- 2.18 The Hon. Atticus Aldridge
- 3 Staff
- 4 Friends and acquaintances
- 4.1 The Hon. Evelyn Napier
- 4.2 Philip, Duke of Crowborough
- 4.3 Patrick Gordon
- 4.4 Lavinia Swire
- 4.5 Sir Richard Carlisle
- 4.6 Dr Richard Clarkson
- 4.7 The Rev. Albert Travis
- 4.8 Kemal Pamuk
- 4.9 John Drake
- 4.10 Sir Anthony Strallan, Bt
- 4.11 Michael Gregson
- 4.12 Richard Grey, Lord Merton
- 4.13 Igor Kuragin
- 5 Miscellaneous characters
- 6 References
|Table of cast members|
|Hugh Bonneville||Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham||Main|
|Jessica Brown Findlay||Lady Sybil Branson||Main|
|Laura Carmichael||Lady Edith Crawley||Main|
|Jim Carter||Charles Carson||Main|
|Raquel Cassidy||Phyllis Baxter||Recurring||Main|
|Brendan Coyle||John Bates||Main|
|Tom Cullen||Anthony Foyle, Viscount Gillingham||Recurring||Main|
|Michelle Dockery||Lady Mary Crawley||Main|
|Kevin Doyle||Joseph Molesley||Recurring||Main|
|Siobhan Finneran||Sarah O'Brien||Main||Stand-in|
|Joanne Froggatt||Anna Bates||Main|
|Thomas Howes||William Mason||Main|
|Lily James||Lady Rose Aldridge||Recurring||Main|
|Rob James-Collier||Thomas Barrow||Main|
|Allen Leech||Tom Branson||Recurring||Main|
|Rose Leslie||Gwen Dawson||Main|
|Phyllis Logan||Elsie Hughes||Main|
|Elizabeth McGovern||Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham||Main|
|Sophie McShera||Daisy Mason||Main|
|Matt Milne||Alfred Nugent||Main|
|Lesley Nicol||Beryl Patmore||Main|
|Amy Nuttall||Ethel Parks||Main|
|Julian Ovenden||Charles Blake||Recurring||Main|
|David Robb||Dr Richard Clarkson||Recurring||Main|
|Maggie Smith||Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham||Main|
|Ed Speleers||James "Jimmy" Kent||Main|
|Dan Stevens||Matthew Crawley||Main|
|Cara Theobold||Ivy Stuart||Main|
|Penelope Wilton||Isobel Crawley||Main|
|Table of cast recurring Characters|
|Andrew Alexander||Sir John Bullock||Recurring|
|Matt Barber||The Hon. Ephraim Atticus Aldridge||Recurring|
|Robert Bathurst||Sir Anthony Strallan||Recurring||Guest||Recurring|
|Samantha Bond||Lady Rosamund Painswick||Guest||Recurring||Guest||Recurring|
|Zoe Boyle||Lavinia Swire||Recurring|
|MyAnna Buring||Edna Braithwaite||Guest||Recurring|
|Clare Calbraith||Jane Moorsum||Recurring|
|Gary Carr||Jack Ross||Recurring|
|Michael Cochrane||Reverend Albert Travis||Recurring|
|Paul Copley||Mr Mason||Recurring||Guest||Recurring|
|Jonathan Coy||George Murray||Guest||Recurring||Guest|
|Michael Culkin||Archbishop of York||Recurring|
|Joanna David||Duchess of Yeovil||Recurring|
|Penny Downie||Rachel Aldridge, Lady Sinderby||Recurring|
|Maria Doyle Kennedy||Vera Bates||Recurring|
|Charles Edwards||Michael Gregson||Recurring|
|Peter Egan||Hugh "Shrimpie" MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire||Guest||Recurring|
|James Faulkner||Daniel Aldridge, Lord Sinderby||Recurring|
|Bernard Gallagher||William "Bill" Molesley||Guest||Guest||Recurring|
|Iain Glen||Sir Richard Carlisle||Recurring|
|Richard E. Grant||Simon Bricker||Recurring|
|Nigel Harman||Alex Green||Recurring|
|Sue Johnston||Gladys Denker||Recurring|
|Patrick Kennedy||Terence Sampson||Recurring|
|Daisy Lewis||Sarah Bunting||Recurring|
|Christine Lohr||May Bird||Guest||Recurring|
|Emma Lowndes||Margie Drewe||Recurring|
|Christine Mackie||Daphne Bryant||Recurring|
|Shirley MacLaine||Martha Levinson||Recurring||Guest|
|Kevin McNally||Horace Bryant||Recurring||Guest|
|Brendan Patricks||The Hon Evelyn Napier||Recurring||Recurring|
|Daniel Pirrie||Maj Charles Bryant||Recurring|
|Douglas Reith||Richard "Dickie" Grey, Lord Merton||Guest||Recurring|
|Christopher Rozycki||Count Nikolai Rostov||Recurring|
|Andrew Scarborough||Timothy "Tim" Drewe||Recurring|
|Rade Sherbedgia||Prince Igor Kuragin||Recurring|
|Catherine Steadman||The Hon. Mabel Lane Fox||Recurring|
|Charlie Cox||Philip, The Duke of Crowborough||Suitor of Lady Mary; lover of Thomas Barrow||Series 1|
|Bill Fellows||Joe Burns||Mrs Hughes's former suitor||Series 1|
|Lionel Guyett||Mr Taylor||Chauffeur||Series 1|
|Nicky Henson||Charles "Charlie" Grigg||Former colleague of Carson||Series 1, Series 4|
|Theo James||Kemal Pamuk †||Ottoman (Turkish) Embassy attaché||Series 1|
|Fergus O'Donnell||John Drake||Farmer on the Grantham estate||Series 1–2|
|Cathy Sara||Mrs Drake||Wife of John Drake||Series 1–2|
|Andrew Westfield||Mr Lynch||Groom||Series 1|
|Cal MacAninch||Henry Lang||Lord Grantham's valet||Series 2|
|Lachlan Nieboer||Lt Edward Courtenay †||Wounded officer||Series 2|
|Julian Wadham||Sir Herbert Strutt||Army general||Series 2|
|Trevor White||Maj Patrick Gordon||Wounded officer who claims to be Patrick Crawley, who was believed dead and would be heir presumptive if not||Series 2|
|Nigel Havers||Lord Hepworth||Suitor of Lady Rosamund||Christmas Special 2011|
|Sharon Small||Marigold Shore||Lady Rosamund's maid||Christmas Special 2011|
|Charlie Anson||The Hon Laurence "Larry" Grey||Lord Merton's elder son||Series 3, Series 5|
|Ruairi Conaghan||Kieran Branson||Tom's brother||Series 3|
|Tim Pigott-Smith||Sir Philip Tapsell||London obstetrician and gynaecologist||Series 3|
|Lucille Sharp||Ms Reed||Mrs Levinson's maid||Series 3|
|Ron Donachie||McCree||Lord Flintshire's butler||Christmas Special 2012|
|John Henshaw||Jos Tufton||Grocer and Mrs Patmore's suitor||Christmas Special 2012|
|Simone Lahbib||Wilkins||Lady Flintshire's maid||Christmas Special 2012|
|Phoebe Nicholls||Susan MacClare, Marchioness of Flintshire||Lord Flintshire's wife||Christmas Special 2012, Series 5|
|Christina Carty||Virginia Woolf||Writer||Series 4|
|Kiri Te Kanawa||Nellie Melba||Opera singer||Series 4|
|Harriet Walter||Lady Shackleton||Friend of Violet||Series 4–5|
|Oliver Dimsdale||Prince of Wales||Heir to the British throne||Christmas Special 2013|
|Poppy Drayton||The Hon Madeleine Allsopp||Rose's friend||Christmas Special 2013|
|James Fox||William "Billy" Allsopp||Lord Aysgarth||Christmas Special 2013|
|Paul Giamatti||Harold Levinson||Cora's brother||Christmas Special 2013|
|Janet Montgomery||Freda Dudley Ward||Mistress of the Prince of Wales||Christmas Special 2013|
|Guy Williams||George V||King of the United Kingdom, Emperor of India||Christmas Special 2013|
|Anna Chancellor||Dowager Lady Anstruther||James Kent's former employer||Series 5|
|Ed Cooper Clarke||The Hon Timothy "Tim" Grey||Lord Merton's younger son||Series 5|
|Alun Armstrong||Stowell||Lord Sinderby's butler||Christmas Special 2014|
|Matthew Goode||Henry Talbot||Friend of the Aldridge family||Christmas Special 2014|
|Harry Hadden-Paton||Bertie Pelham||Agent of Brancaster Castle||Christmas Special 2014|
|Jane Lapotaire||Princess Irina Kuragin||Prince Kuragin's wife||Christmas Special 2014|
|Alice Patten||Diana Clark||Lord Sinderby's mistress||Christmas Special 2014|
The Crawley Family
Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham
(The Earl of Grantham)
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Hugh Bonneville|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Bonneville portrays Robert Crawley
Lord Grantham, Robert Crawley (played by Hugh Bonneville), or The Earl of Grantham (fictional), was born in 1869 at Downton Abbey. His parents are the late Earl of Grantham and The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley. He has a sister named Rosamund. Despite the family's financial situation, Robert's education was privileged and he was tutored from ages 7 to 13, before attending Eton and then Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied philosophy.
To ensure the survival of the estate, Robert's father knew that Robert needed to marry a wealthy heiress who would bring a large dowry to the estate. Robert married Cora Levinson, only daughter of Isidore and Martha Levinson. Isidore was an American millionaire, and when Cora married Robert, Robert's father insisted that she sign an entailment which legally combined the estate with Cora's fortune. Robert was forced into the marriage by his father and Cora by hers. Robert's father wanted Robert to marry a rich girl; Isidore wanted Cora to marry into the English aristocracy. He later said that he was ashamed of his motives for pursuing Cora. After about a year of marriage, however, Robert truly fell in love with Cora and they eventually had three daughters: Mary, Edith, and Sybil. Because of the entail, as they had no sons, Robert's heir was the closest male relative, his cousin James. However, when James and his only son Patrick died in the sinking of the Titanic, Robert's heir became his third cousin once removed, Matthew Crawley, a young middle-class solicitor from Manchester, setting the stage for him to inherit not only the Abbey and its estate, but also Cora's fortune. While Violet, Cora and Mary wish to contest the entail so that Cora's money, at least, will remain in the immediate family, Robert refuses even to countenance this possibility. He sees it as his responsibility to preserve his heritage and ensure that Downton Abbey and the estate remain intact, even if the property and title will go into the hands of a stranger. He knows that it would be impossible to maintain Downton Abbey if Cora's fortune were separated from the estate.
The earl served in the Second Boer War from 1899–1902 where John Bates, later to be his valet, was his batman. He is the Lord Lieutenant for Yorkshire and even though he wants to serve at the front during the Great War, he is made a Colonel of his old regiment. He is immensely proud of Downton as the place he grew up and takes his responsibility for the estate very seriously. Robert considers Downton's nurturing of him, and his nurture of the estate, to be like having a third parent and a fourth child. There are references in the series to Robert sitting as a Conservative member of the House of Lords, although this is only implied.
He loves his daughters very much, but Robert has always longed for a son who would be a true heir to the estate. His wish almost became reality with Cora's surprise fourth pregnancy, but it ended in a miscarriage. For a short time, feeling ignored by Cora, he became infatuated with a housemaid, Jane Moorsum (whose husband had been killed in the First World War), and they seemed on the verge of an affair, but came to their senses after a timely interruption by an oblivious Mr Bates. To avoid further incidents, Jane decided to leave Downton. Out of kindness, Robert pulled some strings so that Jane's highly intelligent son Freddie could go to Ripon Grammar School, and he gave Jane the name and address of his man of business, to give Freddie a start in life.
Although in some ways his character embodies the traditional values of the aristocracy, Robert does not shun all progress as he allows telephones and electricity to be installed at Downton, much to the horror of his mother Violet, the Dowager Countess. After initial dismay and anger, he gives his blessing to his daughter Sybil's marriage to family chauffeur Tom Branson and goes along with Tom and Matthew's plan to modernise Downton in series 3. In Tom's own words, Robert is a good man and a decent employer. He is compassionate, friendly, intelligent, honourable and reasonable.
When Matthew and his mother Isobel arrive at Downton, the family are initially wary of them, because they are middle class and not aristocrats, and the family resents that the estate is to pass to Matthew. Robert is the only one who welcomes them without reservation, and he becomes friends with Isobel and later becomes a surrogate father to Matthew. He is enthusiastic about the idea of Mary marrying Matthew, thus keeping the estate and fortune in his immediate family, and can't understand when they fall out with each other at the end of series one. He dislikes Sir Richard Carlisle because of his rude and selfish behaviour, and is pleased when Mary decides to end her engagement to him. Robert also forgives Mary when he learns of her indiscretion with Kemal Pamuk, telling her cryptically that she is "not the only Crawley to have made a mistake".
He is very protective of his family and servants, and in many cases treats the servants almost like family members. He is loyal, going to great lengths to retain the slightly disabled John Bates as his valet. He is respectful to Mr Lang, who serves as his valet during the First World War, although Lang is suffering from shell-shock and proves unfit to work. When William Mason, a footman, is given a white feather of cowardice by some women from the village during the First World War, Robert angrily throws them out of his house. When William is called up to fight, Robert does his best to keep him out of danger by getting him appointed as Matthew's batman. He also pays for Mrs Patmore's eye surgery when she starts to go blind. When Thomas, then his valet, is caught kissing Jimmy, the new footman, and is subsequently pressured to leave Downton, Robert asserts his authority over the staff politics and promotes him to under-butler. In addition, after Alfred reports Thomas's "indecent assault" to the police and they come round to investigate, Robert convinces Alfred to recant his story, thus protecting Thomas from an almost certain prison sentence and public disgrace.
Despite these virtues, Robert's adherence to tradition has let him down in other ways. Although he eventually comes to accept Branson as part of the family, their initial exchanges after Sybil's revelation are fraught with thinly-veiled insults and disdain; Branson accuses his former employer of believing his kind "have the monopoly of honour". Robert has little patience for Sybil's aspirations to participate in politics. His attitudes also occasionally clash with that of the more progressive and pragmatic Cora; while she becomes highly active during the period in which Downton acts as a convalescent home for injured First World War veterans, Robert is largely reduced to a figurehead.
In series 3, it is revealed that he lost the lion's share of Cora's fortune through poor investments during the war, and has financially crippled Downton to the point of bankruptcy; it is only through the timely intervention of Matthew that the Crawley family is allowed to remain on the estate. Despite this, Matthew becomes concerned that Robert is mismanaging the property, which leads to tension between them; Matthew and Tom's ideas for radical sweeping changes cause Robert to oppose many decisions. He suggests that any changes begin slowly and they instead use investment to raise their capital. Matthew abhors this prospect, as Robert's interest in investment nearly brought Downton to ruin, and any profits raised would merely be used prop up the old system until the money ran out again. However, with Robert's exchanges with Matthew becoming increasingly bitter, particularly as most of the family acknowledge that Matthew is probably right, it is Tom, being the more eloquent of his sons-in-law, who manages to persuade Robert to think differently. By the end of the series, Robert accepts the vision for the future, combining his knowledge of the estate and tenants, Matthew's background in law and business, and Tom's practical experience. He realised just how crucial Matthew was to the survival of Downton after "Shrimpie" (Lord Flintshire) admits to him privately that he would have to sell the ancestral home Duneagle Castle due to debts incurred when he failed to modernise the estate.
The future of Downton is once again thrown into turmoil in Series 4 with the death of Matthew at the end of the second Christmas Special. Although the birth of his son George means there is now a direct heir, Matthew's death and apparent lack of a will mean that death duties will have to be paid on the half of the estate that Matthew owned, and Lady Mary now owns only a small portion of the estate, meaning she has very little control over how Downton is run. Mary herself has done nothing but grieve since Matthew died, and Robert is against her doing anything other than recover. This once again causes tension between himself and Branson (though he has accepted Branson as part of the family), who thinks that Mary should have a say in the running of the estate. Branson also disagrees with Robert about how the death duties should be paid off. After Mary partially recovers from her grief, a letter is discovered that can be interpreted to be Matthew's will after all, in which he leaves his entire half of the estate to Mary. Mary now prepares to take a hand in the running of the estate, something that is shown to irritate Robert, particularly as she is learning about the estate from Branson, and has been persuaded to see his side of the argument.
Different sources have identified Robert as either the 7th or 5th Earl of Grantham.
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
(The Countess of Grantham)
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Elizabeth McGovern|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
McGovern portrays Lady Grantham
Cora Crawley (née Levinson) (played by Elizabeth McGovern), called The Countess of Grantham or Lady Grantham, was born in 1868 to Isidore Levinson, a Jewish millionaire dry goods merchant, and his wife Martha Levinson. Cora married Robert in 1888 at the age of 20 and is mother of Mary, Edith and Sybil. She was pressured into the marriage by her father, who wanted nothing more for his daughter than for her to marry a member of the English aristocracy (as did many Americans at the time). The marriage settlement (contract) folded her dowry into the Grantham estates, to be controlled by the head of the family, the Earl of Grantham. When she did not have a son, this meant that the bulk of her money would not pass to her daughters, but to the cousin who was the heir. The heir, Robert's cousin James, had a son, Patrick. Patrick and Lady Mary were persuaded by their parents to become engaged, so that their son would be the eventual heir, keeping the money and the title in the immediate family.
When both James and Patrick drown on the Titanic, Matthew Crawley becomes heir to the title, the estate and Cora's dowry. At first, Cora and Violet try to persuade Robert to break the entail but they learn that this will require a private Bill in Parliament which can only be passed if the estate is in danger and with Matthew's acquiescence. After that, she and Violet try to get Mary to marry Matthew. In the summer of 1914, Cora is surprised to find that she has become pregnant. However, when her maid O'Brien is mistakenly led to believe that Cora intends to replace her, she wreaks vengeance by deliberately leaving a bar of soap beside the bathtub. O'Brien soon has an attack of conscience, but before she can act Cora slips on the soap and suffers a miscarriage.
During the First World War, Cora is reluctantly convinced by Isobel Crawley to open up Downton as a convalescent home for soldiers returning from the field. Although she comes to enjoy the work, maintaining the household takes up so much of her time that she begins to neglect Robert, who briefly considers an affair with one of the housemaids. It also puts her in conflict with Isobel, whose intentions for the convalescent home were more self-serving than she would admit. However, they reconcile and combine forces to give aid to refugees after the war ends. Shortly after the war, Cora is bedridden with Spanish influenza and nearly dies before making a full recovery.
In the first series, Cora is often shown as in conflict with her mother-in-law Violet, which is attributed to the underlying difference in their cultural origins and social class: Cora is an American and daughter of nouveau riche parents, while the dowager countess is descended from English nobility. While Cora has adopted her husband's lifestyle, her character is portrayed as more forward-thinking and open-minded than that of her mother-in-law, a trait her husband and daughters attribute to her "American-ness". While historically, members of the aristocracy rarely had occupations during the time period portrayed in the series, Cora defends Matthew's decision to continue working after being named heir and later supports Sybil's choice to take up nursing.
When Sybil dies in childbirth in the third series, Cora becomes estranged from Robert due to his favouring a renowned obstetrician over Dr Clarkson; their conflicting views on how to handle the birth presumably causes a misdiagnosis of Sybil's condition. After Violet pressures Clarkson to admit that Sybil would probably have died regardless of their efforts, Cora forgives Robert.
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
(The Dowager Countess of Grantham)
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Maggie Smith|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Maggie Smith portrays the Dowager Countess
Violet Crawley (The Dowager Countess of Grantham) (played by Maggie Smith) is Robert's mother and widow of the previous earl. Violet was born in 1842 to a baronet. Violet also has a sister, the mother of her niece Susan, who is married to The Marquess of Flintshire, known as Shrimpy. In the 1860s, Violet was pursued by The Lord Hepworth of Hatton Park.
Violet symbolises the "old world" and order of the pre–First World War days and sometimes has difficulty accepting change. When Robert has electricity and telephones installed, she complains to him about the amount of light in the house and the "loud noises" the phone makes; she is even confused by a swivel chair. Initially she is opposed to Matthew's position as heir as he is from the upper middle/professional class and not the aristocracy. She is also shocked at their more modern attitudes but comes to accept Matthew and later his mother, Isobel, into the family. Violet sees that a marriage between Mary and Matthew could be the answer to the family's problems, and discusses the possibility with her daughter-in-law Cora. Following Matthew's proposal, and the unexpected pregnancy of Cora, Violet believes it is still in Mary's best interests to accept Matthew's proposal, as Matthew is unlikely to accept her if he inherits everything, if Mary does not want him if he ends up with nothing. The interference of Violet's daughter Rosamund, as well as the unfortunate incident involving Mr Pamuk, makes Mary hesitant to accept the proposal, causing Matthew to withdraw it. When Isobel, who was also in favour of the engagement, confronts Violet about the business, Violet reacts with her typical acid tongue in blaming Rosamund for the way things turned out. When Matthew announces his engagement to Lavinia, who is from a similar background to Matthew, she broods over Lavinia's lower social standing.
Violet is portrayed as a matriarchal figure and quick of wit despite her age. She is immensely proud of her son and loves her granddaughters very much. At heart, Violet is a kind woman who has less trouble in accepting people for their worth than she cares to admit. She almost always acts with more than one motive in mind, but she always seeks to protect and care for her family. When her nephew, James, the heir to Downton, and his son, Patrick, die in the sinking of the Titanic and Matthew appears on the scene, she disapproves of him and favours Mary, preferring that the entail be broken so that Mary can inherit the estate. She is protective of her family and wants the best for them even if her logic is sometimes flawed. Although initially appalled when she hears of Lady Mary's affair with Mr Pamuk, and Cora's hand in carrying the man back to his room, she eventually tells Cora that she hopes she would have done the same to help a child. She also quickly puts a stop to Lady Susan spreading rumours of the incident for Mary's sake. When her youngest granddaughter, Sybil, insists on marrying Tom Branson, the family chauffeur, Violet assures Robert that she will "minimise the damage" by making up details about Branson's family to make the marriage more acceptable to their social class. She is also quick to defend Mary when she is threatened by Sir Richard Carlisle after Mary calls off their engagement. In Series 3, she reveals it was she who sent money over to Sybil and Branson so they could travel to England to attend Mary's wedding. After Sybil's death, Violet suggests Branson take over managing the estate when Jarvis resigns, taking advantage of his practical experience, his ability to work with Matthew, and the fact it will ensure her great-granddaughter will remain at Downton.
Although Violet has been accused of being unable to communicate across the class divide, she is kind and compassionate to the servants. When it becomes apparent that one of their footmen, William, has been fatally wounded, Violet, backed by Lady Edith and William's father, insist that William is brought back to Downton so he can die in familiar surroundings with friends and family. She also insists that the local vicar wed William and Daisy, the scullery maid/kitchen maid, and attends the ceremony. Later, Daisy feels guilty about it and is discovered crying while cleaning the fireplace. Violet goes against social norm to hear Daisy out and comfort her.
Throughout the Great War, Violet remains a strong influence at Downton Abbey but finds her influence under threat. She has a tendency to quarrel with Isobel Crawley, Matthew's mother. As president of the Downton Hospital, Violet had complete control over the hospital and its lead doctor, Richard Clarkson. A trained nurse and physician's widow, Mrs Crawley begins to push the doctor into pursuing more modern medical practices, much to Violet's horror. Violet is also frequently shown at odds with Cora due to their conflicting cultural backgrounds: for example, she protests when Cora agrees to opening some of the rooms as a convalescence unit in response to the large number of war wounded returning home and the two come into conflict over certain issues such as management style.
Lady Mary Crawley
|Lady Mary Crawley|
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Michelle Dockery|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Dockery portrays Lady Mary Crawley
Mary Josephine Crawley (née Crawley) (played by Michelle Dockery), the eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, is twenty-one in April 1912, when the series begins. Early on, she is portrayed as a petulant and cold young woman; as the series progresses, however, she shows more vulnerability and compassion. One of her most constant traits is her unfailing devotion to Downton as her home and, eventually, the estate which she will preside over.
In the first episode, news of the deaths of her two cousins, James and Patrick, is a shock because it disrupts the family's strategy for dealing with the entail that requires the estate, incorporating her mother's large marriage settlement, as well as the title to pass to male heirs. The family had arranged that Mary would marry Patrick, second in line to the title after James, but Mary did not have strong feelings for him and questions whether she must even wear mourning clothes. Early on in the series, she is seduced by a visitor to the house, Ottoman attaché Kemal Pamuk, who suddenly dies in her bed. Her outraged mother and the Chief Housemaid, Anna, help her carry his body out of her room and back to his own to try to prevent a public scandal that would ruin her marriage prospects.
Mary's relationship with the new heir, distant cousin, Matthew Crawley, begins coldly as she overhears him complaining to his mother that he expects the family will "push" the daughters on him. She refuses to acknowledge him as the new heir, declaring that he was "not one of us". Over time, however, the pair grow closer and a romance develops. In 1914, Matthew asks Mary to marry him, but she is hesitant. However her mother becomes pregnant, and if the baby is a boy, he will inherit the title instead of Matthew, so Mary delays her acceptance of his proposal on the advice of her aunt, Lady Rosamund. Another reason for her hesitancy was that she feels she would have to tell Matthew about the incident with Mr Pamuk. Heartbroken and angered by her hesitancy, Matthew withdraws his proposal and decides to leave Downton. When the First World War is declared, Matthew joins the British Army and becomes engaged to Lavinia Swire.
As Matthew fights in Europe, Mary gets engaged to Sir Richard Carlisle, a newspaper magnate who — after Mary's confession and request for his assistance — promises to help keep the Pamuk affair under wraps. They plan to marry in July 1919, after the marriage of Matthew and Lavinia, and to move to a neighbouring, stately home that Sir Richard plans to buy and completely renovate. After Lavinia's death, it becomes clear that Matthew and Mary still have feelings for each other. Her relationship with Sir Richard deteriorates, and Lord Grantham in particular, becomes concerned that she would not be happy with the marriage even if it meant wealth and status. In 1920 Lord Grantham's distress finally prompts Lady Grantham to tell him the truth regarding Mr Pamuk. Although initially disappointed, he makes up his mind almost at once; he tells Mary to break off the engagement to Sir Richard and spend time with her mother's family in America to wait out the furore that will follow. Overjoyed that her father has not abandoned her, Mary finally manages to tell Matthew the truth; although initially shocked, he also agrees that she must be rid of Sir Richard. As soon as Sir Richard returns, she ends their engagement; he angrily vows to break the story, and then insults Matthew with cruel remarks about Lavinia. Matthew attacks Sir Richard, who leaves Downton shortly afterwards, never to return. Just as the Servant's Ball ends, Matthew reveals that he does not feel the need to forgive Mary for her affair with Pamuk as there was nothing to forgive, and proposes to her again, and the two become engaged.
In series 3 the couple happily plan and prepare for their wedding, but a shadow is cast when Lord Grantham reveals Downton's finances are in ruins. Matthew then learns that Lavinia's father Reginald, who died in the Christmas Special, has made him one of his potential heirs, and he now stands to inherit an unexpected fortune if the others cannot be found. Unwilling to take the money on false pretenses, given his conflicted feelings regarding Lavinia, Matthew vows not to keep it. Mary is initially distraught by his decision and threatens to call the wedding off. The words of Branson and Anna, as well as a short conversation and a kiss, persuade them to put aside any conflict, and they happily marry the next day.
After her youngest sister Sybil dies, Mary supports her brother-in-law Tom Branson's decision to raise her niece and goddaughter, Sybil "Sybbie" Branson, a Catholic. While she and Matthew are intent on having children, it is hinted throughout the series that they could be having trouble conceiving. Matthew believes he might not be able to have children as a result of the severe back injury he suffered at Amiens in 1918 during the Great War, which temporarily paralysed him from the waist down. In the penultimate episode of Series 3, Mary and Matthew meet by coincidence at a reproductive health clinic in London, where Mary reveals to Matthew that she underwent a small and successful operation in order to strengthen their chances of conceiving (the nature of the problem is not disclosed). Despite previous tension between them, the series ends with them happily reaffirming their love for each other as they celebrate the birth of their son, George. Unfortunately, Matthew is killed in a car accident after leaving the maternity hospital on his drive back to Downton. Due to Matthew's death, Mary will never become Countess of Grantham as her son is now the heir apparent.
For months she remains in mourning, until the combined efforts of Carson, Tom, and Violet bring her out of it. Robert tries to keep full control over Downton now that Matthew is dead and the heir, George, is still a baby, but a letter is found from Matthew stating he intended to name Mary his sole heiress. Though he never actually wrote a will, it is determined that the letter was meant to serve as such until he could finalise a proper one. Mary as a result owns half the estate and she immediately begins working with Tom in the management. She also urges Tom to speak to her when she sees something is wrong (namely Edna Braithwaite's scheming) but he feels she would despise him and says nothing, however she urges him to find someone that he can talk to. Tom eventually confides in Mrs Hughes, and she quickly puts an end to Edna's blackmail. Later, when Tom presents the family with the idea of leaving, perhaps for America, she is the only one who speaks out against it.
She eventually has two suitors. First is Anthony – or Tony – Foyle, Lord Gillingham, an old childhood acquaintance whom she turns down as she hasn't moved on from Matthew. He becomes engaged to another woman, but calls it off as he still has feelings for Mary. Later, Evelyn Napier returns with his boss, Charles Blake. Mary and Blake do not hit it off to start, until both dirty themselves in order to help out some pigs that the family had begun to invest in and they warm up to one another. When Mary learns from Anna that she was raped by Lord Gillingham's valet Green, she goes to Gillingham and urges him to sack Green without telling him why. In the 2013 Christmas special, Mrs Hughes hands Mary evidence potentially implicating Mr Bates in Green's subsequent death. Although Mary suffers initially from a crisis of conscience, when Bates proves instrumental in averting a royal scandal caused in part by Rose, she decides to destroy the evidence. It is later revealed that the ticket in fact proved his innocence.
After Rose declares to Mary her intentions to marry African American jazz singer Jack Ross, Mary goes and speaks to him, citing that she feels Rose's primary reason is to shock her mother, whom she hates. Jack tells her he does not want Rose to suffer and has already decided to break off their relationship. When he tells her he wouldn't do it if they lived in a better world, Mary replies that if they were in a better world, she wouldn't want him to.
Although Blake and Gillingham initially vie for Mary's affections, Blake decides to back down, and Tony offers to have a sexual relationship with Mary to persuade her of his love, but the encounter leaves Mary even more unsure of her feelings. Mary later decides to turn Gillingham down, but he refuses to break up with her, as he believes they are to be married. Soon his previous fiancee Mabel Lane Fox reappears, with the help of Blake, and divides his attention. Blake then intervenes again, and kisses Mary in front of Gillingham at a theater to persuade Tony that their "understanding" is over. Tony then tells Mary that he is re-engaged with Mabel, although it is clear that he loves Mary more, and is just settling with Mabel. Blake then tells Mary he is departing for Poland for several months. While at a shooting party at a rented castle of cousin Rose's new husband's parents, Mary meets Henry Talbot (played by Matthew Goode). Mary is at first cold to him, but then warms up to him when she sees what a good shooter he is. Talbot believes Mary is a war widow, but Mary is about to tell Talbot that her husband actually died in a car accident in 1921 (three years prior). She learns that Talbot is a race car driver, and they dance at a party. The next morning Talbot abruptly leaves.
Lady Edith Crawley
|Lady Edith Crawley|
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Laura Carmichael|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Edith Crawley (played by Laura Carmichael), the second daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, is twenty in April 1912, when the series begins. During the first series, Edith is often the "forgotten" one as she is not considered as pretty and smooth-talking as her older sister, Mary, and less daring and passionate than Sybil, the youngest. Her bitter rivalry with Mary is further fueled by the fact that Edith genuinely loved the dead heir, Patrick, but no one took her feelings seriously and instead Mary, who had no feelings for Patrick, was engaged to him.
After initially trying to woo Matthew Crawley, she begins a relationship with Sir Anthony Strallan. Towards the end of series one he is on the verge of asking for her hand, but changes his mind when Mary tricks him into thinking that Edith was simply leading him on for her own amusement. Anthony Strallan was Edith's last chance at making a successful marriage, and Mary intentionally intervened in revenge, because Edith had written a letter to the Turkish Embassy in London informing them about the exact nature of their attaché's death in Mary's bed, which was one of the most important factors in her hesitance to accept Matthew's proposal, which results in Matthew withdrawing it.
During the second series, Edith steps out of her comfort zone. She was the first of the Crawley family to learn how to drive an automobile, taking lessons from the chauffeur, Branson. Upon the outbreak of the First World War, Edith uses her driving skills to work on a local farm driving tractors, much to the bemusement and gratitude of the farmer. She is exposed to the horrors of war firsthand while helping Sybil and the nurses care for the wounded soldiers. As a result, she becomes more sympathetic and was commended by a general Matthew brought back to Downton while on leave. After the war ended, she tries to resume a relationship with Sir Anthony Strallan, but he refuses as he sustained a severe injury that rendered one of his arms useless, and does not want to tie her down to a disabled veteran. In series 3, Sir Anthony Strallan eventually proposes and they get engaged. Some of the family quietly disapprove but keep quiet to make Edith happy. They are set to marry, but Anthony has second thoughts and jilts her at the altar, leaving Edith devastated and believing she is destined to be a spinster. In episode 6, she receives a very interesting proposition, to write in a newspaper, after writing a letter about women's suffrage. The prospect excites her, and most of the family – with the exception of Violet and Robert – encourage her.
When Lady Edith notices that her editor, Michael Gregson, seems to have romantic feelings for her, she makes inquiries about him. Finding out that he is married, Edith questions him. He tells her that his wife is mentally incapacitated and can no longer recognize him, so he is stuck and unable to move on with his life. Despite having fallen in love with Edith, he decides to step away when her family disapprove of his intentions toward her. The final straw is thought to have come when Matthew, who Edith hoped would understand, agrees with the other Crawleys and advises Gregson to bid Edith goodbye. However, Edith is in love with Gregson and decides to pursue a relationship with him despite the fact that it cannot lead to a proper marriage. In Series 4, Gregson begins searching for ways to divorce his wife, and learns that by becoming a German citizen, he could achieve this and marry Edith. Gregson soon disappears and Edith finds out she is pregnant, increasing her worry. Much as she loves Michael and wants his child, she is afraid of becoming an outcast for having a child out of wedlock, which is scandalous in 1922–23. Having heard of a clinic where abortions are performed, she reluctantly decides to go there. After her aunt Rosamund learns the truth, she offers her support and her worries for Edith doing this. Nevertheless she goes with her, but when Edith sees another woman in tears, she cannot go through with it. Edith considers having a local farmer raise the child, but Rosamund proposes going abroad and giving the child away there, so Edith's reputation is safe. Eventually Violet finds out and agrees with Rosamund but Edith does not like the thought of giving her child away but nevertheless goes to Geneva and gives her child, a daughter, away. However, she soon decides she cannot live with this arrangement and returns to Geneva to reclaim her. She chooses to go with her original plan and has a local farmer, Mr Drewe, take her in. However, tensions rise between Edith and Mrs Drewe over her attachment to the girl, named Marigold. Rosamund suggests sending Marigold abroad again. Finally, when Edith and the family receive word that Michael is dead, Edith tells Mrs Drewe the truth and reclaims Marigold before leaving for London. However, Mrs Drewe reveals the truth to Cora, who finds Edith and persuades her to come home, inventing a story that the Drewes are unable to support the extra child, so Marigold becomes part of the Crawley household. Lord Grantham eventually suspects the child's true connection to the family, but is persuaded by Lady Grantham to not reveal the truth while the family become used to Marigold. Eventually Robert does confront Edith and she admits the truth and is shocked when her brother-in-law, Tom, tells her about a cousin of his that was in the same situation. She then realised that everyone knew the truth about Marigold, except Mary.
Lady Sybil Branson
|Lady Sybil Branson|
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Jessica Brown Findlay|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Last appearance||Episode 3.05|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) (played by Jessica Brown Findlay) (1895–1920) is the third daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, born in 1895. She is fiercely political (devoted to the cause of votes for women) which fuels her desire to break free from the social restrictions of the times. During one episode, she dons a pair of trousers, which was daring for women at the time, and somewhat shocks the family, especially the Dowager Countess. During another episode, against the will of her father, she attends the reading of the results of a by-election in the local town, where there is a disturbance and she is injured. At one point, she requests cooking lessons from Mrs Patmore and Daisy to help prepare herself for nursing college in York. During the First World War, Sybil is distressed when she learns that her friend Tom Bellasis was killed in action, deciding to become an auxiliary nurse with the encouragement of Mrs Crawley and the Dowager Countess. Now called "Nurse Crawley", she tends to the sick and wounded soldiers both at Downton and in the nearby village.
After developing a brief crush on her cousin Matthew, she develops stronger feelings for Tom Branson, the family's chauffeur and a staunch Irish nationalist. For several years, the couple carry out a secretive courtship, knowing that their relationship would not be accepted by her family. Throughout the series, Sybil seems detached from the family quarrels about inheritance; this is most evident when Sybil reveals their love to her family and declares she doesn't want any money from the estate if it means they have to be apart. By the end of the second series, the couple leave for Dublin, having gained Lord Grantham's blessing and the offer of a small dowry. The pair marry in a small ceremony, attended by Sybil's sisters.
By December 1919, Sybil is pregnant and writes to her mother to inform her that she is to become a grandmother. Cora is excited by the prospect while Robert is still resentful, declaring that he will not visit her. Cora, however, warns Robert that she will not let him keep her from her grandchild and says that he should accept Sybil's new family with as much grace as possible.
In the third series, Sybil and Tom briefly visit Downton for Mary and Matthew's wedding. When Tom witnesses fellow Irish Republicans burning down the home of a wealthy nobleman, he fears he will be implicated and flees to Downton alone, leaving pregnant Sybil to follow on her own. Despite mutual distrust, Lord Grantham defends Tom with the Home Secretary, eventually securing his freedom on condition that he not return to Ireland. Not long after, Sybil goes into labour. Dr Clarkson and Lady Grantham believe that Sybil is suffering from eclampsia and must be sent to hospital, while Lord Grantham and his hired physician, Sir Philip Tapsell, believe she is fine and should remain at Downton. The night after giving birth to a baby daughter, Sybil dies surrounded by her loved ones at the age of 24. Her death leads to a temporary estrangement between Lord Grantham and his wife, but they reconcile when Dr Clarkson (under pressure from the Dowager Countess) assures them that the chances of Sybil's survival from a Caesarean section were negligible. Sybil's daughter is later named after her, and is nicknamed "Sybbie". Her husband and child now permanently live at Downton.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Dan Stevens|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Last appearance||Episode 3.CS|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Stevens portrays Matthew Crawley
Matthew Reginald Crawley (played by Dan Stevens) (1885–1921)  is the son of the late Dr Reginald Crawley, a physician, and Mrs Isobel Crawley, a trained nurse. He is Lord Grantham's third cousin once removed – his great-great-grandfather was a younger son of the third Earl – and works as a qualified solicitor in Manchester. After Robert's heirs perish on the Titanic, the family lawyer discovers that Matthew is the next closest relative and Lord Grantham invites him to move to Downton and become part of the local community. Matthew eventually agrees, on the condition that he continue to work. His arrival is initially met with skepticism from the rest of the family and servants, especially Violet, as he was a "middle class lawyer". As the new heir presumptive he finds it difficult at first to adjust to the change in lifestyle. He refuses to adopt their traditionalist views, but is eventually accepted into the family and becomes something of a surrogate son to Lord Grantham.
After a lukewarm introduction, he and Mary begin to fall in love. It is thought the two will marry, though when Cora becomes pregnant and there is a chance that Matthew will not inherit after all, Mary's aunt Rosamund persuades her to refuse his proposal. Unfortunately, Cora miscarries and so there is no longer any doubt about Matthew being the heir to the earldom. Matthew withdraws his proposal after she hesitates to accept him, as he is unsure of her motives. He later becomes engaged to Miss Lavinia Swire, daughter of a London businessman.
Following the outbreak of the First World War, he joins the British Army and is commissioned as a lieutenant, later promoted to captain. He is injured whilst serving alongside the family's footman William Mason, who was assigned as Matthew's batman, in Amiens, France but saved from death by William, who shielded him from an explosion and succumbs to his own injuries. Matthew is diagnosed as being paralysed from the waist down, and despite being told that he will never walk again and cannot have children, Lavinia continues to care for him and insists on staying with Matthew. Following a miraculous and happy recovery, he and Mary realise that they are still in love but he insists that Lavinia's efforts to care for him even when it was thought that he could not have children mean that he cannot break up their relationship, for he is indebted to her. When Lavinia dies of Spanish influenza at Downton, he is plunged into grief and vows that neither he nor Mary deserve to be together, because it would be an insult to Lavinia's memory. He tells Mary, "You and I are cursed." He is later persuaded to think differently and proposes to Mary in January 1920. This time, she accepts.
Matthew finally marries Lady Mary in the spring of 1920. It is discovered that his father-in-law, Lord Grantham, made a disastrous financial investment in the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway, which is now bankrupt, and has lost most of his and his wife's fortune. He has also been mismanaging the running of the estate for many years, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy. However, after his death in December 1919, it is discovered that Reggie Swire, Lavinia's father, has left an enormous fortune to one of three prospective heirs, the third of whom is Matthew. After the first heir dies in the flu pandemic and the second dies in India, Matthew inherits the fortune. After much debate, he uses the money to save Downton. With the help of brother-in-law Tom Branson as his land agent, he puts his legal background in company and industrial law to good use in managing Downton while Branson oversaw the daily operations of the estate due to his having some knowledge of farming from his grandfather. Lord Grantham, who agreed to make Matthew joint owner of Downton, is very slow to accept that Matthew and Branson make a brilliant team. Although Mary and Matthew sometimes disagree on various issues, they have a very happy marriage. Mary tells Matthew in bed, "we must never take us for granted; we don't know what's coming", Matthew responds, "I will love you forever until the last breath leaves my body."
Although only a few months have passed since their marriage, Mary is not pregnant and both fear that they have fertility problems. A year later, Mary gives birth to their son George in September 1921. Prior to the baby's birth, the family goes to Duneagle Castle, home of Hugh MacClare "Shrimpie", Marquess of Flintshire, for the holidays and Robert finally realises that Matthew's instincts were accurate when Shrimpie tells Robert that he would be selling Duneagle, due to crippling debts incurred from the failure to modernise. While Lord Grantham is telling his family how thankful he is for Matthew and the new baby, Matthew is driving home to tell the waiting family about the baby. Matthew is gloriously happy (telling Mary after meeting his newborn son, "I feel like I've just swallowed a box of fireworks"). While still awash in the glow of his love for Mary and his baby son, he looks at the trees as his open top car speeds up the narrow road to Downton Abbey. Not paying attention, he swerves to avoid another vehicle and tumbles down an embankment (not shown, except for tire tracks in the soil). The car flips over on top of Matthew, crushing him and killing him almost instantly. Following his death, his son George is now the heir to the earldom but Mary will never be Countess.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Penelope Wilton|
|First appearance||Episode 1.01|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Isobel Crawley (née Turnbull) (played by Penelope Wilton) is Matthew's widowed mother. Originally from Manchester, she is the daughter of a doctor (her husband Reginald Crawley studied under her father) and her brother is also a doctor. Isobel was a nurse during the Boer War and initially helps Dr Clarkson at the village hospital, much to his chagrin (as she constantly undermines his decisions). Upon moving to Downton she and Matthew live in a relatively modest dwelling with a butler, Molesley, and a cook, Mrs Bird. Isobel embodies a different set of values to those of the Crawleys. When she and Matthew first arrive at Downton she tells him that she will not alter her lifestyle, and neither will she succumb to their stereotypes and expectations. A recurring theme during the first two series is the clash between her more modern and liberal values with the traditionalist ideas of Lord Grantham and his family. Despite their disagreements, she and the rest of the Crawleys tolerate each other, largely for Matthew's sake.
In the second series, Isobel returns to nursing when she takes up a position of authority at Downton when, at her suggestion, it is turned into a convalescent home for injured soldiers. At first expecting to be in charge of the day-to-day operations, she engages in a rather petty power struggle with Cora, much to the amusement of their children, and eventually leaves Downton for France to work with the Red Cross. She returns to Downton after learning that Matthew, who had been serving in France, was seriously injured, and stays for the remainder of the war. Although initially opposed to Matthew's relationship with Lady Mary after the death of his fiancée Lavinia, she tries to talk him out of his grief and to propose to Mary again. Towards the end of the second series she leaves to work for a war refugee organisation, encouraged by Cora (whose ulterior motive was to avoid her).
In the third series, with the end of the Great War, Isobel turns her attention to helping prostitutes and other down-on-their-luck women change their way of life. She equally gives a hand to Ethel by employing her as a cook, to the consternation of her current cook Mrs Bird. Although she had a contentious working relationship with Dr Clarkson in Series one and two, while helping out at his village hospital, she and Clarkson quickly form a friendly relationship. Dr Clarkson is ready to propose marriage, but Isobel tells him she is happy to have his friendship.
Following Matthew's death at the end of the second Christmas special (series 3), Isobel is completely grief-stricken like Mary. Matthew was her only child and she feels as if she has nothing to live for, although the Dowager Countess, Lady Edith and Mrs Hughes all try to console her. When Mrs Hughes discovers Mr Carson has ignored requests for help from Charlie Grigg, an old friend from Carson's performing days who unsuccessfully attempted to blackmail him in Series 1, and is now in a workhouse, she decides to arrange for him to stay with Isobel. Although Isobel is reluctant at first, she relents, nurses Mr Grigg back to health, and arranges a job for him in Ireland. Though she is saddened at the idea of Mary continuing to live her life as best she can without Matthew, she recognises that it is not Mary's fault, and finds some comfort in the form of consoling words from her once bitter rival, the Dowager Countess.
In Series 4, Isobel and Violet become closer following Matthew's shocking and tragic death. Violet gets ill, and Isobel nurses her back to health. They seem to finally form a bond when Isobel re-introduces card games to her while she is still in bed. In Series 5, the two women, once rivals, are very close now. They share cars and do several activities together including lunches, dinners, and picnics. In episode 6 of Series 4, Isobel tells Violet that she wants to accept Lord Merton's marriage proposal. Although Violet approves of Lord Merton (Mary's Godfather), she is devastated that her companion will be moving away. However, Isobel is badly shaken when she meets Lord Merton's sons; the elder son Larry insults the Crawley family's choice of in-laws (he had previously doped Branson's drink during Matthew and Lady's pre-wedding dinner out of spite, much to his father's embarrassment, before being exposed by Sir Anthony Strallan), but is most scathing in attacking Isobel's engagement. She asks Lord Merton to give her time to consider whether their engagement will go ahead.
Lady Rosamund Painswick
|Lady Rosamund Painswick|
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Samantha Bond|
|First appearance||Episode 1.07|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Home||Eaton Square, London|
Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley) (played by Samantha Bond) is Robert's sister. Rosamund lives on her own in a house on Eaton Square in Belgravia, London, which was purchased by her late husband, Mr Marmaduke Painswick, directly after their wedding. They had no children. Her mother looks down on Marmaduke, a wealthy banker and member of the nouveau riche, for the humble origins of the Painswick family. Rosamund is first mentioned when she writes a letter to Matthew Crawley, welcoming him into the family. She often writes to her family from London and is occasionally mentioned in their conversations.
Rosamund is one of the more headstrong and outspoken members of the family. She is devoted to Robert and his family and thus feels it is her duty to speak her mind on every possible occasion, though her interference in her nieces' decisions has disastrous results. During the first series, when Matthew's position as heir is in doubt due to Cora's surprise pregnancy, Rosamund convinces Mary not to answer Matthew's marriage proposal. Although Mary's other reason for her silence was the Pamuk affair, Matthew begins to doubt her sincerity and withdraws the proposal, much to the chagrin of Violet. When Matthew brings home his new fiancee Lavinia, Rosamund digs up her past and tries to get Mary to tell Matthew; Mary, who intensely dislikes her aunt's meddling, refuses to blackmail Lavinia. In the Christmas episode she brings her lover Lord Hepworth, a family friend of Violet's, to Downton but Violet discovers that despite his title he is, in effect, on the brink of bankruptcy. In the end they break when it is revealed that he was having an affair with her maid, and Rosamund fumes to Mary about how she hates it whenever "Mama is proved right". She is also upset in 1920 when her mother tricks her into revealing that their relative Rose was caught in a secret relationship with a married man.
Rosamund is the first to learn about Edith's pregnancy, sometime after learning from one of her maids that Edith sneaked back into the house after spending the night with Gregson. Rosamund accompanies Edith to an illegal abortion clinic, though she does not approve of this plan. After Edith rejects this path, Rosamund devises a plan to take Edith abroad to Switzerland, officially to "improve our French" but instead for Edith to give birth and have her child adopted without the family knowing and preserving Edith's reputation. Only Violet sees through this charade, noting Rosamund has no interest in French; when she wants to be understood by a foreigner, "she shouts".
Edith is devastated by not being a part of her child's life. Rosamund coldly insists Edith move on and says there will be future "other loves." Edith, however, returns to Switzerland and reclaims her daughter, Marigold, bringing her back to England. Rosamund and Violet try and persuade her to send Marigold abroad again. But after the Crawleys hear Michael Gregson is dead, Edith takes Marigold and leaves for London. Violet decides they must tell Cora the truth, though Rosamund considers it a betrayal of Edith's trust. But Cora learns the truth instead from Mrs Drewe, and Cora is furious with both Rosamund and Violet for never involving her or telling her the truth in the first place. Rosamund accompanies Cora in persuading Edith to come home with Marigold, but Cora warns her in-laws that she will never trust them again. Although Rosamund brushes over the warning, Violet is neither surprised by nor unsympathetic to Cora's opinion.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Allen Leech|
|First appearance||Episode 1.03|
|Last appearance||Episode 5.09|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
Leech portrays Tom Branson
Tom Branson (played by Allen Leech) was initially the family chauffeur, employed in Series 1. He aspires to a career in politics and is a socialist Irish nationalist and republican. It becomes clear that he is political and very determined, much like Lady Sybil. Once in conversation with Sybil he makes no secret of his distaste for the aristocracy and the ruling class, but is quick to add that he respects Lord Grantham and his family for their fairness towards their employees and only disapproves of him as a "representative of the oppressive class". Sybil forces him to take her to the announcement of the by-election results but a group of thugs stir up trouble and they barely escape the chaos, assisted by Matthew. He forms a strong friendship with Lady Sybil, which develops into romantic feelings, but both are afraid to act due to the difference in social class and the potential loss of his job. He refuses to fight for Britain in the First World War but the conflict shows him and Sybil that the class boundaries are breaking down. After sharing a kiss, the pair decide to elope to Gretna Green, but are persuaded to return by Mary and Edith. After breaking the news of their love to the Grantham family and being fired by Lord Grantham, Branson finally gets a muted blessing for their wedding and the promise of a dowry. They move to Dublin where Tom has found a job as a journalist and are married in a small ceremony which Sybil's sisters attend. However, Cora, Robert and Violet do not go. In December 1919, Sybil writes a letter to her family telling them that she is pregnant.
Tom and Sybil return to Downton Abbey for Mary and Matthew´s wedding in 1920, Violet having sent them the money to cover their travel expenses feeling that their attendance will be less of a topic of conversation in the county than if they were excluded. The older generation upstairs, except Cora and Isobel, and many of the servants, except Mrs Hughes and Anna, find it hard to accept Tom in his new role as a member of the Crawley family while Mary, Edith and Matthew readily welcome him as their brother-in-law. The pre-wedding dinner is nearly ruined when he falls victim to a prank by one of the Crawleys' aristocratic guests. At the dinner table, Matthew stuns everyone when he asks Tom to be his best man, quipping that "We're brothers-in-law with high-minded wives. We'd better stick together."
Due to his anti-aristocrat feelings and illegal political activities, Tom is a witness and co-conspirator as fellow Irish Republicans burn the house of a wealthy Anglo-Irish nobleman. Now a fugitive, he escapes with Sybil and finds refuge at Downton. He admits that he was involved in the planning of the attack and present at its execution but felt sorry for the wealthy nobleman's family. Robert, though outraged, pleads his case with the Home Secretary and manages to obtain Tom's freedom; however, Tom is barred from returning to Ireland and is forced to remain at Downton. When Sybil dies in childbirth, Tom becomes a widower and insists that his daughter has a Catholic christening, despite Robert's objections. Mary and the rest of the family defend Tom's decision because Sybil did not object. At the end of the series, as suggested by Violet and strongly supported by Cora, Tom becomes the land agent for the estate who will help Matthew transform Downton a modern profit-making estate. He asks Cora if he and his daughter can stay at Downton and Cora happily agrees. The final image of the series is Tom, Robert, and Matthew happily enjoying a cricket match together, showing that Tom has finally been accepted by Robert into the family.
In the Christmas Special, set a year later, he is shown as the object of affections for the new maid, Edna Braithwaite, who tries to make him feel ashamed of his new position and life in the house. After Edna kisses him and is fired because of it, Tom is shown breaking down in grief over Sybil before Mrs Hughes. Mrs Hughes touchingly tells him that he should not be ashamed of his achievements in his new station of life and that he is no longer a "downstairs person." Sybil, she believes, would be proud of his accomplishments "above stairs" (being the manager of Downton Abbey) and as a member of the family.
Edna later returns to Downton to be Lady Grantham's new lady's maid in 1922, using the glowing reference that Mrs Hughes wrote at Tom's request, following the sudden departure of Miss O'Brien. Tom consults Carson and Mrs Hughes when he learns of her imminent return. Carson, reasoning that there is no way they can refuse her the job without explaining why she was fired, which he feels would almost certainly break the hearts of the Crawley household, decides to allow Edna to take the role and advises Tom to keep his distance. Tom tries to do so, but following a party where many of the Crawleys' old friends make him feel hopelessly out of place, is seduced by Edna after she gives him a large whiskey. Edna then attempts to blackmail Tom into forcing him to marry her if she is carrying his child, trying to make him feel guilty when she is the guilty party. Tom confides in Mrs Hughes (after Mary urges him to confide in someone, knowing something is wrong but he refuses to talk to her), who finds a book in Edna's room regarding contraception and uses it to call Edna's bluff: she intended to get pregnant once she was married and he would not have been the father. This results in Edna leaving Downton Abbey again, after Mrs Hughes threanens to have her examined by a doctor and not give a reference if she does not tell the truth.
Though he has come to love his in-laws, Tom feels more than ever that he could never fit in at Downton. He feels now he cannot go back to Ireland and does not even know what his beliefs are anymore. He considers emigrating to America, feeling it would be better for his daughter to have a clean start, rather than having to live with the idea that her father is an "uppity chauffeur". Isobel tries to rekindle his interest in politics and send him to a political rally, where he meets school teacher Sarah Bunting (played by Daisy Lewis). Their friendship is a source of tension in Downton, as she has several altercations with Lord Grantham over politics and the Great War. When she leaves, Branson is reminded of his choice to stay in Downton or go to America with Sybbie. Finally, at the end of series 5, he decides to join his cousin in a venture to invest in farming machinery in Boston, Massachusetts, resolving to leave Downton after spending one last Christmas there.
Tom Branson was supposed to appear in only three episodes of the first series, and Branson was originally Yorkshire-born. Moreover, actor Leech wanted to audition for Thomas Barrow, but chose Branson. Leech's audition for the role convinced Julian Fellowes to expand his role and to transform Branson into Irish. Leech tried to work on his Yorkshire accent in effort to prevent his character from becoming the Irish stereotype, but was persuaded that Tom would not become such, prompting him to use his native Irish accent.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Shirley MacLaine|
|First appearance||Episode 3.01|
|Last appearance||Episode 4.09|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Home||Newport, Rhode Island|
Martha Levinson (played by Shirley MacLaine) is Cora's brash, outspoken American mother, a wealthy widow with homes in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island. She visits Downton with great fanfare in Series 3 for Mary and Matthew's wedding and then returns to the United States. Unlike Violet, Martha wears up-to-date clothing. Martha has a slightly strained relationship with her daughter Cora, making her rarely visit the house. She is mentioned once in series one when Cora was pregnant with her miscarriage as being very anxious but Violet wrote to her to come admire the baby. Martha arrives in Downton for Mary's wedding to Matthew, and remains there for a short time afterwards. Violet and Mary scheme to have her give the Crawleys more money to save Downton from ruin by putting on a lavish banquet, but the evening nearly ends in disaster when the oven fails. It is Martha who saves the feast, instead arranging an indoor picnic for the guests. Martha reveals to Violet and Mary that even if she wanted to sink more money into Downton, her late husband's will ties up the Levinson fortune up too tightly. Martha leaves Downton shortly afterwards, telling Robert she is "homesick for America".
She decides to return in 1923 with her son Harold for Rose's coming out ball, wanting to see another London season in her life. She leads on Lord Aysgarth for her own amusement, before bluntly turning down his proposal by telling him she finds his kind "narrow and pompous and boring". She then offers Aysgarth the chance to visit her home in Newport, where she promises to find him plenty of wealthy widows who would like to marry into nobility. Martha and Violet frequently trade barbed insults, but Martha is unperturbed, telling Violet that her world is slipping away, whilst Martha's is growing nearer all the time.
Harold Levinson (played by Paul Giamatti) is Cora's brother. His peripheral involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal leads Martha to request that Lord Grantham appear before Congress to vouch for Harold's character late in Series 4 – he escapes with only a reprimand. Harold then accompanies his mother to England in 1923. While in England he makes the acquaintance of The Hon. Madeleine Allsopp, the daughter of Lord Aysgarth, who after finding out about Harold's wealth tells his daughter to get better acquainted with him. Harold sees through her tactics almost at once, but is more attracted to Madeleine than any who have tried to seduce him before, and tells she is a far better person than her father. The two part on good terms, with Madeleine promising to write to Harold.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Ava Mann (Series 4)
Fifi Hart (Series 5)
|First appearance||Episode 3.05|
|Last appearance||Episode 5.09|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Home||Downton Abbey, Yorkshire, England|
Sybil "Sybbie" Branson, (b. between 18 August and 30 September 1920) is the only child and daughter of Tom Branson and the late Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley). She is the first grandchild and eldest granddaughter of Robert and Cora. She is the great-granddaughter of Violet. She is the niece of Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and the late Matthew Crawley. George Crawley and Marigold Gregson are her first cousins.
Her father named her after her mother, who died of eclampsia shortly after her birth. Her father felt it was right even if it would be painful, stating he wanted to remember her mother whenever he looked at her. After her father and grandfather argued over which church she would be christened into, she was baptised Catholic per her father's wishes. Her father named his brother Kieran and Lady Mary as her godparents. Tom decided he and she would live at Downton until she was older.
In the beginning of Series 4, Sybbie and her cousin George have a nanny, Nanny West, who favours George and is fired after Lady Grantham overhears her blaming Sybbie for waking up baby George and calling her "that chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little cross-breed". A new nanny later comes in. She calls her maternal grandfather "Donk" – a reference to the game Pin the tail on the donkey- to Robert's chagrin and the family's amusement. She is four years old in the fifth series. As she was named after her late mother, she is considered Sybil the Second.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Logan and Cole Weston
Oliver and Zac Barker
|First appearance||Episode 3.CS|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Occupation||Heir presumptive of the Downton Estate|
|Home||Downton Abbey, Yorkshire, England|
George Crawley (born September 1921) is the only child, son and heir of the late Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary Crawley. He is the second grandchild and first grandson of Robert and Cora Crawley, The Earl and Countess of Grantham; the first and only grandson of Isobel Crawley; great-grandson of Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess of Grantham; nephew of Lady Edith, the late Lady Sybil, and Tom Branson, and the cousin of Sybil Branson, the daughter of the late Lady Sybil and Tom Branson and Marigold Gregson, the daughter of Lady Edith from the Crawley side as of 1921.
George was born a month early, shortly before his father was killed in a car crash. Following his father's premature death, George becomes heir presumptive to his grandfather and the Downton estate. Initially his mother largely ignores him as she mourned the loss of her husband and George was cared for by the nanny and the rest of the family.
|Downton Abbey character|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Home||Geneva, Switzerland (formerly)
Yew Tree Farm, Yorkshire, England (formerly)
Marigold (born in or around January 1923) is the illegitimate only child and daughter of the late Michael Gregson and Lady Edith Crawley. She is the third grandchild and second granddaughter of Robert and Cora Crawley, the Earl and Countess of Grantham; second great-granddaughter of Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess of Grantham; niece of Lady Mary, the late Lady Sybil, Tom Branson, and the late Matthew Crawley and the first cousin of Sybbie Branson, the only daughter of the late Lady Sybil and Tom Branson, and George Crawley, the only son of Lady Mary and the late Matthew Crawley, both from the maternal side of her family as of 1923.
She was born in 1923 in Geneva, Switzerland, and given up for adoption to Mr and Mrs Schroeder after her mother suckled her.
The year before she was born, her mother had first considered having an abortion (because she feared becoming an outcast for having an illegitimate child, Michael having mysteriously vanished without a trace) but backed out at the last minute. She then considered giving her to a local farmer, Timothy Drewe after she was born, so that she could be near her child without giving her away. But Edith's aunt Rosamund Painswick decided it best to take her abroad to keep Edith's reputation safe. Violet quickly saw through the story and learnt the truth before the two left England.
But after returning, Edith was troubled at having to give up her child. Rosamund insisted that the child was no longer hers, and Violet hurt Edith more by calling the child "it" instead of "she" and joking about Edith's "French" – the cover story of her travels being to improve her French. But Edith, fearing even more that she would never see Michael again, and knowing he gave her power of attorney, felt obliged to give at least half to her daughter should Michael indeed be proven dead.
Ultimately, Edith decided to go back and reclaim her daughter, and have her grow up on Drewe's farm. Drewe himself discovered her secret, but sympathetic to Lady Edith, agreed to keep it for her and raise her two-year-old daughter for the time being. Unfortunately her repeated visits began to arouse the suspicion and anger of Drewe's wife Margie. When news reaches the Crawleys confirming Michael Gregson's tragic death, and with Rosamund and Violet considered taking Marigold abroad again, Edith told a terribly distraught Mrs Drewe the truth, reclaimed her daughter, and fled to London. Edith was quickly found by her mother, who had learned the truth, and suggested Edith bring Marigold back to Downton on the pretense that Edith was adopting her because the Drewes could no longer afford to raise her. Robert figures out Marigold's true identity when he realises her close resemblance to her deceased father, but is persuaded by Cora not to reveal he's guessed the truth. He also says, much to his surprise, he believes he will love her, as well. During Christmas, Robert tells Edith that he figured out Marigold's identity as her daughter and his youngest granddaughter, and accepts her into the family.
Hugh MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire
Hugh MacClare (The Marquess of Flintshire) (played by Peter Egan) is a Scottish nobleman nicknamed "Shrimpie" and married to Susan, Violet's niece, they have three children, the youngest being Rose. He is mentioned offscreen in series two as being a minister in the First World War; Violet and Edith successfully contact him so he can pull strings so William Mason, who was seriously wounded in France and sent to a hospital in Leeds, can return to Downton to die in familiar surroundings. His nickname is derived from the fact that he was the youngest of three children. In 1921, he hosts the Crawleys at Duneagle Castle, his family's Scottish estate with Susan and Rose, who has returned home after living at Downton for a time. It becomes clear he is deeply unhappy about his marriage to Susan, who seems determined to argue with him, and trample on Rose's ambitions, at every opportunity. Full of regret, Shrimpie later privately confesses to Robert that he will have to sell his estate to pay off debts – 1921 was the last year the Crawleys holidayed there – and that he admires Robert for thinking ahead and modernising Downton. He is appointed Governor of Bombay that year, and he and his wife travel to India, after agreeing to allow Rose to return to Downton. However, the two fail to resolve the problems with their marriage, and resolve to separate once they return to England to see Rose married. Despite no longer having direct ties to the family, Shrimpie continues to be useful, providing assistance to Violet in locating the long-lost wife of Violet's old flame Prince Kuragin. Unlike Susan, he has no objection to his daughter's marriage to Atticus Aldridge.
Lady Rose Aldridge
|Lady Rose Aldridge (née MacClare)|
|Downton Abbey character|
|Portrayed by||Lily James|
|First appearance||Episode 3.08|
|Created by||Julian Fellowes|
|Introduced by||Julian Fellowes|
|Home||Duneagle Castle, Scotland (formerly)
Downton Abbey, Yorkshire, England
Rose Aldridge (née MacClare) (portrayed by Lily James) is the daughter and youngest child of Hugh and Susan MacClare. She comes to visit Violet in 1920, then unexpectedly joins Edith and Matthew on a trip to London. She claims she is planning a surprise for her mother, but is revealed to be meeting a lover who also happens to be married. When Violet finds out the truth from Rosamund (after tricking her into telling the truth) she has Rose sent to Duneagle early as punishment with her paternal aunt Agatha, whom she despises.
In 1921, it is clear Rose's relationship with her mother has soured, though her relationship with her father is not as icy. Susan disapproves of Rose's choices and tastes, while Rose hates her mother very much. While her parents go on duty to India, Rose moves in at Downton, where she is living by 1922.
Rose becomes restless while living at Downton, and persuades Anna into accompanying her to a dance hall in York, where Anna attracts the attention of some young men but barely escapes when a fight ensues. Rose later becomes attracted to Sir John Bullock, a guest at a Downton house party with whom she later meets up in London along with some of her relatives. They go out to the Lotus night club, but Bullock gets too drunk and leaves Rose on the dance floor. She is rescued (to her relatives' dismay) by African American singer Jack Ross. Rose alone is courteous to him.
Rose secretly invites Ross and his band members to perform at Downton for Robert's birthday, by which times she has entered a secret relationship with him. She acts on her feelings while he, though he loves her, fears backlashes and consequences about her being with him. Rose decides to marry Jack, though Mary later points out to him that her primary motive may not be love but a desire to upset her mother. Jack breaks off the relationship because he does not wish to ruin Rose's life.
Rose's debut is in 1923, when Cora presents her before the king, his wife, and son. Rose befriends the prince's mistress, Freda Dudley Ward, who comes to her when a letter from the prince to her is stolen by Terence Sampson, a greedy acquaintance from Robert's club. The Crawleys and Rose succeed in getting the letter back, after which the prince unexpectedly arrives and opens a ball at their house, dancing with Rose.
Rose becomes less self-centred over time, and volunteers with a charity in Leeds to help Russian refugees who have resettled in England. In 1924, she meets, falls in love with, and marries Atticus Aldridge, the Jewish son of Lord and Lady Sinderby.
The Hon. Atticus Aldridge
The Honourable Ephraim Atticus Aldridge, more commonly known by his middle name, is the son of Lord and Lady Sinderby. He meets Lady Rose MacClare one stormy day in York in the spring of 1924, while she is leaving a pastry shop, and helps her with her packages. He goes with her to the church of St. Mary Magdalene, where Rose helps care for exiled Russians. He is initially reticent about his family, but mentions that his great-grandfather and his family were Russian Jews from Odessa who had emigrated to England during the 19th century and eventually anglicised their family name. After a confrontation with one of the Russian emigres, Count Rostov, which Rose witnesses, Atticus reveals his family had emigrated after being driven from Odessa in that city's 1859 and 1871 pogroms. Lord Sinderby was said to have been opposed to his marriage to Rose while his wife accepts her because "her son's happiness is more important".
Charles 'Charlie' Carson (played by Jim Carter) is the butler at Downton Abbey. Mr Carson is in charge of the pantry, wine cellar, and dining room, as well as the male staff, who report to him. He has worked at Downton since he was a young man. He tends towards nostalgia and fears change (such as the installation of telephones in the house and electricity in the kitchen). He has a fatherly disposition over the servants. He also has a special place in his heart for Lady Mary, given she was the first child born at Downton during his tenure as butler. He is one of the few people who is prepared to speak frankly to her, and is prepared to leave Downton Abbey to join her at Haxby when she is engaged to Sir Richard Carlisle. He only changes his mind when he learns more of Sir Richard's questionable moral character, and is clearly distressed by Lady Mary's reaction to his decision. It is he who eventually talks Lady Mary out of her listless grief over Matthew's death. She reacts callously at first, reminding him of his place, but soon comes to apologise, and finally breaks down and cries. Carson quickly steps forward to comfort her, and assures her she will always find a source of support in him.
For a brief time before entering into household service, Mr Carson was a music hall performer in the vaudeville duo the "Cheerful Charlies" alongside former friend Charlie Grigg. When this secret becomes known in Downton, Carson offers his resignation to Lord Grantham. Amused instead of scandalised at the revelation, Grantham gently declines Carson's offer, ending the matter as a non-issue.
In the second series, with most of the male staff depicted as serving in the First World War, Mr Carson finds himself under mostly self-imposed pressure to ensure household duties are carried out to his exacting standards. Carson is mortified when he suffers severe chest pains while serving the family dinner and as a consequence is forced to accept help from the female staff. After the war, with male staff able to be hired, the full household staff are brought up to the pre-war levels and Mr Carson is able to return to solely undertaking the duties of butler. It is revealed in series 4 that Carson almost married a young woman during his time as a performer but the woman chose the other half of the duo-Mr Grigg. At the end of the series five Christmas special, Carson has purchased a house and added both his and Ms Hughes's names to the registry. Following this, he asked Ms Hughes to marry him and she has accepted.
Elsie Hughes (played by Phyllis Logan) is the housekeeper at Downton Abbey. Though unmarried, she is referred to as Mrs Hughes according to traditional titles for servants during the time period. She is originally from Argyll, Scotland, where her father was a farmer. She has one sibling, a sister who lives in Lytham St Annes. Before she came to Downton as head housemaid, she was courted by a farmer, Joe Burns. But she refused him and he married a woman named Ivy and had a son, Peter. In 1913, three years after Ivy dies and his son joins the army, Joe comes to Downton and asks Elsie to marry him, but once again she refuses him, even though she has previously expressed doubts about choosing a life of service over having a husband and family. Outwardly prim and somewhat strict in her manner as housekeeper, Mrs Hughes is essentially kindly and generous, as shown when she assists Ethel after she leaves her position and has a baby out of wedlock. In series 3, she has a breast cancer scare; the lump is eventually diagnosed as benign. She is best friends with Mrs Patmore. Although she is usually supportive of Mr Carson when it comes to matters of discipline, she is seldom afraid of speaking her mind when he makes decisions; Carson in turn dislikes proceeding with any choice without her approval. She also speaks frankly about her employers when she and Mr Carson are alone; she enjoys the idea of seeing the Dowager Countess (who she refers to as "the old bat") getting her comeuppance with the arrival of Isobel Crawley. Unlike Carson, she privately views Lady Mary as a silly girl whose misfortune comes mostly from her own mistakes; her attitudes have likely softened over the years. She is one of Anna's closest allies, being the first person who helps her in the aftermath of Mr Green's attack. She also refused to hand the police the ticket regarding Mr Bates' trip to London on the day Mr Green died, telling Lady Mary she could never condemn a man for defending his wife's honour against such a crime. At the end of the series five Christmas special Mrs Hughes has accepted Mr Carson's marriage proposal.
John Bates (played by Brendan Coyle), who is mainly known as Mr Bates or just Bates, is Lord Grantham's valet. He previously served in the Army alongside the earl as his batman during the Boer Wars and suffered an injury to his right leg. He arrives at Downton in the first episode to replace Lord Grantham's previous valet. When the staff see that he uses a cane, they are at best surprised and at worst angry feeling that they will have to pick up the slack for him, due to his disability slowing him down in the large house. Most of the staff give him the cold shoulder, while Thomas and O'Brien try to get rid of him to further their own ends. Only the housemaid Anna offers him any sympathy and friendship. O'Brien, Cora's lady's maid, schemes to get Cora to talk to Lord Grantham about Bates' unsuitability. And while the household is lined up to receive a duke, O'Brien discreetly kicks Bates' cane on which he was leaning, knocking him on his face in the gravel, in order to cause a scene and bring attention to his disability. Lord Grantham, after being pressured by Cora and Carson to see how Bates is not fulfilling his job properly, regretfully tells Bates that it is not working out. Carson's main complaint is that a valet should perform extra duties outside of just seeing to Lord Grantham, including carrying trays and acting as a third footman if necessary. Bates nearly begs to stay, pointing out that he is unlikely to find another position (because of his disability), but Lord Grantham is unmoved. However, when he sees the departing Bates leaving, Lord Grantham is overcome with feelings of guilt. He runs after the car and orders Bates to get out, telling him to get back inside and that nothing more would be said about him leaving.
Throughout much of the series Bates is at odds with Thomas, who tries to get rid of him so that he can take his place as valet. Bates tries to ignore him at first. Still being ignored by the rest of the staff save Anna, he gains an ally in William when he observes Thomas bullying the younger man, who is suffering with severe homesickness. An overconfident Thomas makes a snide remark that Mr Bates can do nothing to stop him only for Bates to violently grab him and shove him against the wall, proving that despite his disability he is not to be underestimated.
He and Anna fall in love, but he explains he has yet to divorce his estranged wife, Vera. She comes to Downton only to inform Bates that if he does not come away with her, she will sell the scandalous story of the death of Kemal Pamuk in Mary's bed to the newspapers, which could ruin the reputation of Downton Abbey. Bates goes with her, and it is thought that his romance with Anna is over. He returns to Downton, having apparently settled affairs with his wife, but Miss O'Brien contacts Vera and once again, she returns to cause more trouble. She manages to stop the divorce that Mr Bates thought was a foregone conclusion, and he goes to London to confront her. After his return, he receives a telegram informing him of her death. It is revealed that she was poisoned by eating rat poison cooked in a pie, and Bates is put under suspicion. Anna insists that they marry so that she will have legal rights if the worst happens. Bates is subsequently charged with murder. He is arrested in front of the entire Downton staff after Lavinia's funeral and is put on trial, during which some other staff members at Downton and Robert are called to testify. The evidence does not portray Bates in a good light; the jury finds him guilty of the murder of his wife, and he is sentenced to be hanged. Determined to prove him innocent, Anna and Robert try to appeal the decision and are successful in reducing Bates' sentence from execution to life imprisonment.
After visiting Bates in prison, Anna declares that she will not rest until Bates had been proven completely innocent and is free. She searches for anyone Vera may have been in contact with, and finds a neighbour who saw her the day of her death. The neighbour mentions she saw Vera cleaning crust from under her nails, confirming she made the pie herself. Although the neighbour at first recants her story, she eventually gives a statement that clears Bates, who is freed from prison, returns to Downton, and moves into a nearby cottage with Anna. Surprisingly, it is Bates who intervenes to save Thomas's prospects after he attempts to seduce Jimmy, as he is unwilling to see another man lose his livelihood due to the schemes of others. Deducing that Miss O'Brien is pressuring Jimmy to have Mr Carson demand Thomas leave Downton with no reference, he informs Lord Grantham of the details, and asks Thomas to give him a weapon to use against his former ally. Bates then invite O'Brien to his cottage, and whispers the words "her ladyship's soap" in her ear, before warning her that unless she calls Jimmy off, he will not keep her secret. Bates remains ignorant of the true meaning of the words, but he soon has other concerns when Lord Grantham decides to appoint Thomas as under-butler to take advantage of his skills at cricket; Bates had only hoped to allow Thomas to leave with a good reference.
In series 4, Anna is violently raped and Bates is confused and hurt at her attempts to push him away, as he is unaware of Anna's distress. He threatens Mrs Hughes with leaving Downton in order to find out what is wrong with his wife. She reveals the story of Anna's attack but states that the attacker was a stranger who broke into the house. He tells Anna he knows what has happened, and reassures her that he still loves her. The two attempt to move past the attack, but both find it very difficult. Bates is suspicious that the attacker could be Mr Green, valet of Lord Gillingham. When Green returns to the Abbey, Bates is further convinced of his guilt. Bates goes to York for the day but doesn't reveal the reason for going and Mr Green dies in Piccadilly after "falling into the road". Mrs Hughes discovers a round-trip ticket stub from York to London in an article of Bates' clothing that Anna donates to charity. She gives it to Lady Mary, who destroys it after Bates uses his skills as forger and pickpocket in suppressing a royal scandal.
When a witness comes forward to claim Mr Green was murdered and the investigation reaches Downton, police question Bates and Anna on several occasions. This puts strain on the couple, as Anna is too frightened to ask John the truth of his trip to York. Matters become worse when Anna assists Lady Mary in procuring contraception for a sexual relationship with Lord Gillingham, and Bates finds the evidence and mistakenly believes his wife is using it so she does not become pregnant with a murderer's child. Bates finally confronts Anna and reveals the truth; he realised Green was the attacker as soon as he returned to Downton, and he did intend to murder the valet the day he was killed. However, having bought the train ticket to London in York, he decided not to go through with the plan at the last minute, as he considered his actions would do far more harm than good, since he would certainly have been hung for the crime if convicted; his love for his wife proved greater than his desire to defend her honour. Bates reveals that he kept the untorn ticket in his coat as a talisman for a time. Anna's attempts to locate the ticket prove fruitless, due to Lady Mary's prior actions. Bates is angered when Miss Baxter informs the police that he could have made it to London the day Green was killed, despite her making clear she could not swear on the evidence. Miss Baxter refuses to inform Bates that, as a convicted criminal herself, she had to speak honestly to avoid another prison sentence. However, the investigation into Green's death begins to wind down, as the police have failed to find anything more than circumstantial evidence to link Bates to the crime. At the end of the series, Bates is livid as Inspector Vyner calls Anna into Scotland Yard as part of an identity parade. Although convinced that there is no evidence for anything to happen, Anna is later arrested for Green's murder. A distraught Bates along with Lady Mary is adamant that Anna will not be convicted or even go to trial. During the Christmas episode, Bates visits Anna in prison where she reveals that a secret from her past could compromise any character witness statement the Crawleys make in her favour. Matters are made much worse when Murray confirms that her history, of which the police are now aware, would look convincingly to the police like Anna was capable of violence. Anna is then given a trial date and Bates is forced into taking action. He leaves Downton, telling Carson in a letter that he has confessed to murdering Green in order to have Anna freed. He tells Robert in another letter how to contact him. Bates then disappears and is now on the run. Molesley gains access to the Bateses cottage and finds a picture of Bates; he and Baxter use it as they travel around York's pubs to find out which pub Bates had been to the day Green died. A pub owner confirms that Bates was indeed in York and would swear to it, which clears him. However, it would endanger Anna once again, who is released on bail. As Anna returns to Downton, Bates is still missing, leaving her miserable. At Christmas there is still no sign of him. At the Christmas carol service Bates manages to sneak in; he sneaks up on Anna, surprising her, and pulls her away from the crowd. When she asks how it's possible he silences her, insisting they speak later about it but for the moment, enjoy their Christmas. They kiss and the enjoy a reunion
Bates does not say much about his family or childhood, though he does mention his late mother was Irish and he has a Scottish grandmother.
Anna May Bates (née Smith) (played by Joanne Froggatt) is lady's maid to Lady Mary at Downton Abbey; previously she was first parlour maid. She is 26 at the beginning of the series. She is very trustworthy, polite, and loyal to the Crawley family and her "downstairs" co-workers. Anna was the member of staff who helped Lady Mary and her mother Cora carry the corpse of Kemal Pamuk out of Lady Mary's bedroom and was the only one who openly welcomes Mr Bates to the household, despite everyone else's initial prejudice against him due to his limp. After a long and somewhat secretive courtship she married valet John Bates in the end of the second series in a private ceremony at a registrar's office. Lady Mary prepares a room for Anna and her husband in the main house so they can spend their wedding night together. Shortly after their wedding night, Bates is arrested for murdering his previous wife, although Anna and the rest of the residents at Downton are convinced that he is innocent. When Bates is deemed guilty and is sentenced to be hanged, Anna breaks down and briefly prepares to leave Downton Abbey with Lady Mary, whom she is very close to, offering to accompany her mistress on an extended holiday to America, much to Mary's delight. When the Crawleys manage to reduce Bates' sentence to life imprisonment, she decides to stay at Downton, although she vows that she will not rest until Bates is free. Anna is promoted from head housemaid to Lady's Maid to Mary during Bates's incarceration. During the time apart from Bates, Anna refuses to fall into hopelessness or despair, though there is a brief period that this wavers, when letters and visits with her husband are stopped for a time. Her efforts to prove her husband's innocence become a success when a neighbour of Vera inadvertently tells Anna details of their last meeting which proves that Vera committed suicide in order to have her husband convicted and hanged for the crime. Bates is freed, and the reunited married couple move into a cottage on the grounds shortly thereafter.
In the third episode of the fourth series, Anna is violently assaulted and raped by Lord Gillingham's valet while the rest of family members and staff are attending a concert above stairs in the house. Anna only tells Mrs Hughes of the crime, fearing her husband would commit murder if he discovered the truth. She becomes distant from everyone, and is unable to even bear Mr Bates' touch, as she confesses to Mrs Hughes that she feels she no longer deserves him, and feels unclean. She decides to move back into Downton Abbey, leaving Mr Bates hurt and confused. Soon, however, Mrs Hughes tells Mr Bates what happened to Anna, although she refuses to disclose who was the culprit. Mr Bates reassures Anna that nothing will change between them, and that he will always support her. The two try to continue their lives, however, both find it difficult to look past what has happened. Mr Green briefly returns to Downton, and Lady Mary persuades Lord Gillingham to dismiss him, although she does not give him a reason. Anna worries that Mr Bates will have his revenge if her attacker's identity is ever revealed. Bates one day sets off to York alone, and returns the same day, and the family soon learn that Mr Green died in London that day, after falling under a bus. Anna is frightened that Bates learnt the truth and took his revenge.
When a witness comes forward to claim Mr Green was murdered, the investigation causes Anna to fear Bates was responsible, but she is too frightened to confront him, as it will confirm the identity of her attacker. Anna then assists Lady Mary with procuring contraception for a sexual relationship with Lord Gillingham, but Bates finds the evidence and mistakenly believes Anna has been using it so she does not become pregnant with a murderer's child. Bates finally confronts his wife and reveals the truth; he realised Green was the attacker as soon as he returned to Downton, and he did intend to murder the valet the day he was killed. However, having bought the train ticket to London in York, he decided not to go through with the plan at the last minute, as he considered his actions would do far more harm than good, since he would certainly have been executed had he been convicted. Overjoyed that her husband is once again innocent, Anna then attempts to locate the untorn ticket to London, as Bates kept it in his coat as a talisman for a time, and its existence would prove Bates could not have been in London when Green was killed. She is forced to accept defeat in this, not knowing that Lady Mary had already destroyed the ticket, as she wrongly believed it proved Bates' guilt. However, the investigation into Green's death begins to wind down, as the police have failed to find anything more than circumstantial evidence to link Bates to the crime. The overjoyed couple once again begin to discuss and plan their future.
Inspector Vyner of Scotland Yard returns to Downton and informs Anna and Bates that they have discovered that Green attacked several women. They had been too scared to come forward before but had now stepped forward and informed the police of his actions. He also reveals that Bates is no longer a suspect as the person seen talking to Green appeared to be shorter than him. Vyner then asks that Anna visit Scotland Yard for further questions during the Crawley's stay in London. Anna and Bates both visit Scotland Yard where Anna is forced to be part of an identity parade to which Bates is outraged. Later, having returned to Grantham House, Mrs Hughes interrupts Anna and Lady Mary and informs them at Vyner has returned and has come to arrest her. Vyner tells Mary and Anna that the witness has confirmed that they'd seen Anna on the pavement near Green in Picaddilly when the incident occurred. Shocked, Anna is cuffed as Mary, Robert and Bates attempt to plead her case but to of no use. As Bates is left helpless, Anna is escorted away to the police station having been arrested on suspicion of Green's murder. Later, at the memorial, Mary speaks to Bates, certain that Anna will not he convicted, and feels there will not even be a trial, as the police have nothing to go on. Bates is less sure, but agrees that Anna will not be convicted.
During the 2014 Christmas special, Anna awaits trial in prison as Mary and Bates visit her. More is revealed about Anna's past. During a conversation with Bates, Anna tells him that something in her history could stack against her in a court case. She reveals that her father died when she was about 6 years old and that her mother remarried, of which Bates already knew, however Anna had not told him the whole story. It is implied that her stepfather was a drunkard and abusive, touching her in inappropriate ways whilst she was young. When she feared what he might do next and knew what was about to happen, Anna hid in the dark, waiting for him with a knife. She struck him however did not kill him merely wounded him. Anna's mother managed to convince police that it was an accident and he had slipped but Anna is now terrified that either the police have found a file on the incident or her stepfather had heard of her arrest and tipped them off therefore it will be used to disprove the Crawley's character reference of her and portray her as violent. Matters are not made better when the Crawleys' lawyer Murray confirms that things do not look good for Anna and Bates is forced into action when a trial date for Anna is set. Bates then leaves Downton, writing in a letter to Carson that he is going to confess to murdering Green in order for Anna to be freed. He writes to Robert also with an address attached so he can be contacted. However both Molesley and Baxter investigate Bates's confession and find the pub he claims he was at in York the day Green died and a witness confirms Bates was indeed in York. They then take this to Robert who ensures that the witness makes a statement then tries to contact Bates. Anna is freed but on bail whilst her husband is classified as being on the run. She returns to work as Mary's ladies maid but is alone until Christmas. During the Crawley's Christmas celebrations, Anna is seen alone, however at the very end, Mrs Patmore notices a familiar face has snuck into the room. Bates sneaks up behind Anna, surprising her, then pulls her aside. A shocked Anna begins to ask how the case is sorted but Bates silences her, saying they will speak of it later. The episode ends with Anna and Bates being reunited.
Thomas Barrow (played by Rob James-Collier) is underbutler at Downton Abbey and arguably the main antagonist of the show, having started his employment there as first footman. Thomas tells O'Brien that his father was a clockmaker. He constantly hatches schemes with O'Brien, intending to have Bates removed from service at Downton. When Bates catches him stealing some wine, Thomas attempts to frame him for the theft. Bates, however, manages to prove his innocence.
Thomas is also homosexual. In series one, he tries to blackmail his former lover, The Duke of Crowborough. Later, when Kemal Pamuk visits Downton, Thomas is rebuffed when he attempts to kiss the Ottoman diplomat. Pamuk later uses this incident to blackmail Thomas, threatening to inform Lord Grantham about his past unless Thomas agrees to guide Pamuk to the room of Lady Mary later that same evening. Thomas also leads the kitchen maid Daisy along, partly for his amusement as the second footman William Mason has feelings for her, but also manipulates her for his plans to have Mr Bates removed from Downton. At the end of the series, he is punched by William for his cruel remarks regarding Lady Grantham's miscarriage and the death of William's mother. Shortly beforehand, Thomas signs up to the Royal Army Medical Corps in an effort to avoid being sent to the frontline for the war that is soon coming.
In series two, in the First World War, Thomas has ended up on the battlefield in spite of his attempts to avoid it, and he has become terrified by the conflict. He purposefully puts his hand in the line of fire in order to gain a blighty wound and be sent home. Upon his return to Britain, he gets permission to work at Downton in a military capacity when the residence is made into a hospital for injured officers.
When the war ends, Thomas tries to make a profit by taking advantage of the nationwide rationing by selling goods on the black market. This scheme fails, however, when he is sold worthless goods and is rendered penniless. He returns to Downton as first footman although he, as always, plans to move up to a higher position in the house staff. During Bates' murder trial, Thomas applies for Bates' old job, but is rejected by Lord Grantham. He steals the Crawley family dog, Isis, whom he hopes to "find" to falsely curry Lord Grantham's favour. However, when he goes to reclaim the dog, he discovers her missing, and in his panic trying to find her in the woods, trips on several fallen branches and becomes muddied. On returning home, relieved to find that Isis is safe, he learns from Grantham that some children had found and returned the dog, seemingly ruining Thomas' plan. However, his physical dishevelment deceives Grantham into thinking that Thomas has more concern for the family than Grantham believed, and Grantham later tells Carson that he is willing to give Thomas a try as valet.
In the third series, Thomas and O'Brien's alliance begins to fall apart with the apppointment of her nephew Alfred as footman. When O'Brien seeks to assist Alfred by enlisting Thomas' support, he refuses to help tutor him, irritated that someone else should progress rapidly when he spent years trying to reach his position. Thomas is then attracted to the handsome new footman Jimmy and walks into his room, trying to kiss the sleeping Jimmy. He is caught by Alfred, who walks in on this scene and eventually tells Mr Carson at O'Brien's insistence. O'Brien then preys on Jimmy's discomfort and embarrassment to have him blackmail Mr Carson into sacking Thomas without a reference, otherwise Jimmy will go to the police. Mr Bates, to Thomas's surprise, intervenes, by informing Lord Grantham of the details and then offering to force O'Brien to call Jimmy off. Thomas provides Bates with words that lead her to believe Bates knows of her hand in Lady Grantham's miscarriage, and she quickly backs down. Although Bates had hoped Thomas would leave with a good reference, Lord Grantham decides to let him stay on, so Thomas can lend his skills to the upcoming cricket match between the village and the house. Thomas excels in the match and a new job is created for him as he is made under-butler, to Mr Bates' consternation.
In the second Christmas special, Thomas, now known mostly as Mr Barrow, participates in the Tug-of-War match for the Downton side. When they win, Barrow follows Jimmy who, having won a large bet, has too much to drink. Barrow finds Jimmy just as he is cornered by two members of the opposing team, and puts himself in the way so Jimmy can avoid being beaten and mugged. Barrow is badly beaten instead. While he is recuperating, Jimmy comes to speak with him, and Barrow accepts that Jimmy can never give him what he wants, so they instead agree to be friends.
In Series 4, Barrow is as shocked as anyone when his old ally Miss O'Brien leaves Downton in the middle of the night. He comes to dislike the new nanny for the two young children of Downton, and refuses to pass on her instructions to other members of staff. He informs Lady Grantham that he suspects the new nanny may be mistreating the children in some way. This suspicion leads to Lady Grantham discovering the nanny's cruelty to Sybbie Branson, resulting in her immediate sacking. Barrow attempts to gain an ally in the form of Lady Grantham's new maid Edna, a maid fired from Downton following her attempt to seduce Tom Branson, by claiming that Edna's accidental damage to one of Lady Grantham's favourite garments was in fact due to Anna Bates. However, this alliance does not last very long, as Edna is fired after she successfully seduces Tom Branson but then is foiled in her effort to blackmail him into marrying her. She insults Barrow's arrogance and manner, though he responds in kind, and she leaves Downton once again.
Thomas was originally meant to be written out of the show at the end of the first series once he had had his "comeuppance". However, after James-Collier had filmed the first two episodes of the show the producers contacted his agent and asked if he'd liked to be optioned for the second and third series.
Sarah O'Brien (played by Siobhan Finneran), who is mainly known as Miss O'Brien by the other servants or just O'Brien by the family, was Lady Grantham's personal maid. She is especially bitter and resentful towards most of the other servants, perhaps due to her family circumstances; the animosity is common knowledge, even for the Crawleys. She had one favourite brother who had shell shock and later died during the Great War. She uses her position to curry favour with Lady Grantham to consolidate her influence, although her actions usually benefit them both. Although scheming in nature and always looking to manipulate circumstances to hers and Thomas's own benefit, she has a conscience and softens up over the second series. She is one of the few servants who smoke on a regular basis. This is at a time when most women did not smoke and it was very rare for a woman to be seen smoking in public.
O'Brien and Thomas were the only servants who never did like Bates and the duo constantly try to find faults and uncover his past in an attempt to force Mr Carson to sack him. She tells Bates' vengeful estranged wife Vera about the family's dirty secrets in an attempt to force Bates out and Vera uses it to blackmail Bates. In the last episode of series one, O'Brien comes to believe that Cora is going to replace her. Out of spite, she leaves a bar of soap on the bathroom floor while Cora is taking a bath. When she gets out, she slips on the soap, causing her to miscarry. O'Brien is racked with guilt, and following the incident she becomes even more loyal and devoted to Cora. When Thomas decides to buy extra food and supplies on the black market to sell to Downton's kitchen staff, she refuses to get involved in his business but sympathises with Thomas after he realises he has been swindled. After Lady Grantham is struck by a severe case of Spanish flu, O'Brien maintains a bedside vigil, attempting to atone for the miscarriage. Towards the end of the second series she becomes guilt-ridden when she finds out her meddling in Bates' private life has started a chain reaction which led to Vera threatening to expose the family secrets and bring the Crawley family into disrepute. O'Brien is one of several servants asked to testify at Bates' trial and is genuinely relieved when they learn that Bates had been reprieved. She also has a nephew, Alfred Nugent, who later becomes a footman at Downton. When it is revealed the new valet, Henry Lang, had shell shock, she was uncharacteristically sympathetic towards him and it was revealed that her own brother suffered from it due to the War.
In the second Christmas special, she accompanies Lady Grantham to Scotland to visit Duneagle Castle. While there, she apparently comes to like Lady Flintshire, and manages to arrange to become her lady's maid. She leaves Downton at the very beginning of the fourth series in the middle of the night to take her new position, leaving only a letter to explain her actions.
Daisy Robinson, later Daisy Mason
Daisy Mason (née Robinson) (played by Sophie McShera) is the kitchen maid, later assistant cook, at Downton. Timid by nature, other characters frequently took advantage of her naivete or would pull rank by tricking her or handing her the more undesirable and menial tasks. She is one of eleven children and her parents are deceased.
In the first series, she is shown to have feelings for first footman Thomas, something that Mrs Patmore tries to discourage as she can see that Thomas is "not a ladies' man". After being caught stealing a bottle of wine, Thomas takes advantage of her feelings for him to persuade her to tell Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes that she saw Mr Bates take the wine. She later retracts the statement as she feels guilty and over time, her feelings for Thomas diminish and she notices that Downton's other footman, William, likes her. She is unsure how to handle the situation, especially when he enlists during the First World War and convinces himself that she is his sweetheart. She decides, with some encouragement from Mrs Patmore, to allow William his fantasy to boost his morale in battle and gives him a photo. After William is severely injured saving Matthew Crawley during the Battle of Amiens, Daisy agrees to marry him to give him some happiness in his life but is widowed six hours later. She refuses to claim her widow's pension as she thinks it wrong to claim money for marrying a man that she liked but would have not married under normal circumstances. William's father reaches out to her and Daisy tries to tell him about her guilt but he refuses to listen. The older Mr Mason later explains to Daisy that William was his only surviving child and he had realised that William married Daisy not just because he cared for her but so his father would have someone to keep company. Upon learning that her parents are dead, he offers to take her under his wing as a surrogate daughter, which she accepts, though reluctant at the outset. Eventually she does grow close to him, and learns he wishes to name her his sole heir.
Daisy has a close relationship with Mrs Patmore, the cook, which is frequently more mother-daughter than two servants working together. At other times, Mrs Patmore becomes flustered and takes her frustration out on Daisy. She is also entrusted with teaching Lady Sybil how to cook, something which the pair enjoy. In 1919, she asks Mrs Patmore if, after many years in service, she can be promoted from kitchen maid to assistant cook and Mrs Patmore agrees to ask Mrs Hughes if the budget can support a promotion for Daisy.
In the third series, she grows to like Alfred but resents Ivy, the new kitchen maid, who steals Alfred's attention. By series 4 the love triangle is getting nowhere, until Alfred decides to leave following catching Ivy kissing Jimmy. Daisy is devastated and blames Ivy. She decides to avoid seeing him when he comes to say final goodbyes, but her father-in-law, whom she goes to see, convinces her she must say goodbye to him. When she does, Alfred apologises to her, regretting being blinded by his infatuation for Ivy and failing to see how good and true Daisy had been to him. Daisy admits she loved Alfred, but that is gone and they need to go their separate ways. They agree to be friends forever. In 1923 Harold Levinson apparently takes a liking to Daisy's cooking, and his valet Ethan Slade offers Daisy a position so she can come to America and work for him. She declines.
Beryl Patmore (played by Lesley Nicol) is the cook at Downton. Mrs Patmore is in charge of the kitchen and kitchen staff. She takes great pride in her cooking and is a perfectionist in the kitchen. When the food does not meet her exacting standards, she takes her frustration out on other maids, especially Daisy. Throughout the first series she is often seen bossing around and shouting at Daisy while working but cares for her like a daughter and often offers her advice. She also seems to have protective feelings towards Daisy when she suspects that some of the other staff such as Thomas or Miss O'Brien are trying to make a fool or take advantage of her. Occasionally her caring attitude may become even counterproductive, as when she advices that Daisy should not sacrifice that much of her spare time to try to self-educate herself, as she sees that hopes for that kind of lifestyle which would justify such efforts are set too high considering Daisy's chances to move in the social hierarchy of that era. Mrs Patmore tries to hide her deteriorating eyesight but Lord Grantham decides to send her to Moorfields in London for treatment when she accidentally puts salt on the pudding instead of sugar. This eyesight problem is declared to be cataracts, the surgery for which is new and daunting to Mrs Patmore, but the operation is successful and she regains the full use of her eyesight. During the Great War she learns that her nephew Archibald “Archie” Philpotts deserted and was shot for cowardice at the front. Hence, she becomes sensitive and upset when confronted with the topic of war.
William Mason (played by Thomas Howes) was the second footman at Downton. His father was a local farmer and William used to help with the horses. William had three brothers and a sister but all died at or shortly after birth, leaving him as the only child. His mother died of illness towards the end of the first series. Affable and good-natured, he was also a competent pianist (actor Thomas Howes is a pianist) and would entertain other servants during their free time. During the first series he had strong feelings for Daisy. In the second series, William wanted to enlist in the Army but was forbidden by his father as he was the only other surviving member of the family. The Dowager Countess learns of his situation and tells the doctor that William had an embarrassing skin condition in order to keep him from being drafted. He was further humiliated after being handed a white feather at a benefit concert held in the Crawley mansion. After being informed that this story was untrue by Isobel Crawley, the doctor corrected the report to the War Department, and William is drafted shortly thereafter. William asked Daisy if she would give him a photo that he could carry with him. Daisy was worried about being William’s sweetheart but Mrs Patmore urged her not to send him to the front with a broken heart, saying that if she refused, he would never return. Fearing for his safety, Lord Grantham had him assigned to Matthew Crawley's battalion to be his batman. During the Battle of Amiens, he threw himself in front of Matthew to shield him from a shell explosion and both men were seriously wounded. He was hospitalised in Leeds as Downton, then used as a convalescence home, was only for officers, but William's father could not afford to leave his farm or repeatedly travel to and fro to visit. After failing to persuade Dr Clarkson to "bend the rules", a furious Violet manages to pull some strings to have William sent back to Downton, where he was cared for by Lady Edith. After being told he would not make it, William proposed to Daisy and tells her that he wanted to marry her, not just out of love, but also to secure her a widow's pension so that she would be taken care of. Violet convinces the local parish vicar to officiate the bedside wedding ceremony and attends along with Lady Edith and the entire staff present. He dies hours later.
Ethel Parks (played by Amy Nuttall) was the new maid introduced in the second series as Gwen's replacement. Outspoken, Ethel does not like being told what to do by anyone, which often has her in conflict with Anna or Mrs Hughes. She says that she does not want to be in service for the rest of her life and often complains about her surroundings.
She begins an affair with Major Charles Bryant (played by Daniel Pirrie) while he is being treated at Downton while it is a convalescent home. Mrs Hughes dismisses her after discovering the two of them in bed together, but Ethel shortly returns having nowhere else to go when she finds out she is pregnant with his child. She names her son Charlie after his father, before moving away from Downton to start a new life. She is replaced in her position by Jane, a war widow.
In the Great War, Ethel has trouble supporting herself and her son and Mrs Hughes helps her, acting as her friend and bringing her food. Ethel tells Mrs Hughes that her neighbours think she is a war widow but admits that Major Bryant refuses to acknowledge that he is Charlie's father despite Ethel and Mrs Hughes's best efforts to get him to admit paternity. However, he is killed during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, and so when Cora learns that Mrs Hughes is supporting Ethel, she is persuaded to invite Major Bryant's parents to Downton Abbey. Ethel bursts into the meeting with her son, proclaiming that Charlie is their grandchild but Mr Bryant accuses Ethel of only being after their money and insists that his son was a good man. He also insists that Ethel cannot prove that Charlie is Major Bryant's child. Eventually, his wife persuades him to accept the child as his grandson, and Mr Bryant offers to adopt Charlie. Ethel, however, would be denied any contact, learning that Charlie will be told, if he asks, that his father died during the war and his mother died of Spanish flu. They insist that they can give Charlie a far better future than Ethel ever could. Horrified by Major Bryant's refusal to acknowledge Charlie and his father's bullying, Ethel refuses the offer.
In the third series, Ethel returns, having entered into a life of prostitution. Considering the future of Charlie, she gives him to Mr and Mrs Bryant. She is employed in Crawley house by Matthew's mother Isobel, and learns to cook from Mrs Patmore, despite other servants leaving their posts. After Ethel attracts considerable gossip, the Dowager Countess intervenes, having Lady Edith place an advertisement for Ethel, so she may find a position elsewhere and have a fresh start. Despite misgivings, Mrs Crawley agrees with the plan, although Ethel seems unwilling to accept any position aside from one close to Charlie's new home. In response to this idea the Dowager Countess decides to ask Mrs Bryant in person if Ethel could have more access to Charlie. Mrs Bryant, who had been unhappy abandoning Ethel from the start, agrees to the plan, and Ethel leaves Mrs Crawley's employment to take her new job.
Joseph Molesley (played by Kevin Doyle) was the butler of Crawley House, in the village of Downton, and valet for Matthew Crawley. He is the son of Bill Molesley, the winner of the best bloom at the Downton Flower Show in 1913. With Matthew off at war and Mrs Crawley working with the Red Cross in France he and Mrs Bird, the family cook, find themselves in an empty house with no one to serve. A loyal servant, he volunteers his service at the earl's mansion. He has feelings for Anna, but it is unrequited and later she marries Mr Bates. After the war ends he covers for Carson when he falls ill with Spanish influenza, only to accidentally become drunk while tasting the wine for dinner. He returns to Crawley House immediately upon Mr Carson's recovery, though he goes to the great house with Matthew Crawley to be his full-time valet after his marriage to Lady Mary. After Matthew dies in a car accident Molesley loses his job, moves in with his father and struggles to find work as a servant, forced to be a road construction worker and delivery boy.
With the possibility of Alfred leaving to pursue his dreams of being a chef, Mr Carson offers Molesley a job as second footman if Alfred leaves. Molesley is not happy with the prospect, seeing it degrading to become a footman when he has been trained as a valet and butler. In the end, when Alfred does leave, Molesley seeks the job but Carson refuses, citing his great reluctance. But Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore intervene and Carson eventually gives into them and takes Molesley on as a second footman. Even so, the family still call him by his last name. He finds himself mutually attracted to Lady Grantham's new maid, Baxter.
Phyllis Baxter (played by Raquel Cassidy), is hired as Cora's maid following the departure of Edna Braithwaite. Baxter is hired on Barrow's recommendation, and Cora finds herself pleased with Baxter. However it becomes clear that Barrow knows a secret about her, which he uses to his advantage to make her spy on the servants and family, something Baxter is very uncomfortable with.
While Barrow is away in America with Lord Grantham (as John Bates asked to be excused from the trip to remain with his wife), Baxter grows closer to Joseph Molesley, who treats her with respect. He continues to do so after Barrow returns, telling her that he does not care to know what Barrow has over her, but urges her to stand up to him and not let him make her do things she does not wish to do. She in turn thanks him, describing him as strong and lucky – both which he did not consider himself to be.
Eventually, after Barrow threatens to reveal her secret to Lady Grantham, Baxter is encouraged by Molesley to do so first. She reveals that she had stolen jewelry from a previous employer who treated her nicely, and she went to prison for it but was released early for good behavior. Cora is surprised, but confused. Baxter is not telling the whole story, something Molesley is convinced of when he hears the same story from Barrow. He believes she must have been lured into doing it, because it is not in her nature.
Baxter later reveals the rest of the story to Cora: she was tricked into stealing the jewelry by another servant who made her think he loved her, but he fled and left her to take the blame. While from the start having expected to be fired, Cora forgives Baxter and lets her stay on, with the pretense that she won't rob her. Mrs Hughes also learns the truth, but says no more when she learns that Cora knows.
When Barrow begins treating himself to cure his homosexuality and is suffering, Baxter convinces him to see Dr Clarkson, after which Barrow treats her with more respect. At Brancaster Castle she willingly helps him embarrass Lord Sinderby's butler at Mary's behest (because the butler was being rude to Tom), and after returning she helps Molesley in finding evidence exonerating Bates for the murder of Mr Green.
Gwen Dawson (played by Rose Leslie) was a housemaid at Downton. She is the daughter of a farm-hand. Ambitious, she decides that she no longer wants to work in service and saves up her money to buy a typewriter to take a correspondence course in typing and shorthand. When her typewriter is discovered by Miss O'Brien, she informs the whole staff and Gwen's plan to leave service to become a secretary is the cause of much discussion above and below stairs. Lady Sybil quickly befriends Gwen and tries to help her get a job as a secretary. In August 1914 they are successful and Gwen wins a position at a telephone firm. She does not return in the second series and is replaced by Ethel. In series four, the staff at Downton Abbey receive a letter from Gwen where she tells them she is married.
May Bird (played by Christine Lohr) was the cook for Isobel and Matthew Crawley at Crawley House. Before 1912, she lived in Manchester with the Crawleys as their cook, but when they move, she went with them. In the first series, she is asked to stand-in for Mrs Patmore as cook at the Abbey while she is away having an eye operation. When Mrs Patmore returns, they run the Garden Party for the hospital fund together. During the Great War, she opened a soup kitchen at Crawley House, in secret, and was helped by Mrs Patmore and Daisy to run it from the money given by the government for the hospital. This all occurs when Matthew and his mother were away in France, in the trenches and field hospitals respectively. In the third series, Isobel wants to hire Ethel to work alongside Mrs Bird. When Mrs Bird refuses to work with a former prostitute, she chooses to leave.
Henry Lang (played by Cal MacAninch) was Lord Grantham's valet in the absence of Mr Bates. He is a recent war veteran and suffers from severe Combat Stress Reaction (CSR, or shell shock) that causes him to be very nervous and somewhat disconnected to his surroundings. On one notable occasion he wakes the staff in the middle of the night by horrifically screaming during a nightmare. O'Brien, whose brother suffered from shell shock and eventually died in combat, is uncharacteristically sympathetic and kind to him. He later leaves Downton as he feels he is unfit for service.
Jane Moorsum (played by Clare Calbraith) was a maid at Downton Abbey and Ethel's replacement. She is a widow as her husband died during the First World War. From the start it is clear that Lord Grantham finds Jane attractive and he takes a great interest in the education of her son, Freddie. At one point Grantham kisses Jane, stating that he wishes he could be with her and she admits the same. They are interrupted by an oblivious Mr Bates and come to their senses. Shortly after this, of her free will, Jane leaves service at Downton. Lord Grantham insists on using his influence to get Freddie into Ripon Grammar School and to pay the fees in the future.
Friends and acquaintances
The Hon. Evelyn Napier
Evelyn Napier (played by Brendan Patricks) is the son and heir of Viscount Branksome and a suitor for Lady Mary, but later becomes engaged to "one of the Semphill girls". This engagement is broken off and during the war he is injured.
He returns to Downton in 1922, clearly still interested in the recently widowed Mary. He is accompanied by his boss Charles Blake as they are working on a government project studying estates and their progress.
Philip, Duke of Crowborough
The Duke of Crowborough (played by Charlie Cox) was one of many potential suitors for Lady Mary, but he was seeking a wealthy wife to cure his financial problems. He is a past lover of Thomas, at the time first footman, but this affair ends in autumn 1912, after the duke visits Downton under the pretext of courting Mary, then tricks her into leading him into the servants' quarters, where he retrieves a packet of love letters to prevent Thomas from blackmailing him over the affair.
He is never referred to by name on the show, but the published scripts reveal his first name to be Philip. His last name remains unknown.
Patrick Gordon (played by Trevor White) is a major in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry who made a request to stay at the convalescent home at Downton Abbey because he claims he is related to the Crawley family. Major Gordon then claims to be Patrick Crawley, the first cousin once removed of the Earl who perished with his father James Crawley in the sinking of the Titanic, although neither of their bodies were recovered. Gordon says he was rescued from the freezing ocean by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe but developed amnesia and was sent to Montreal after being mistaken for a Canadian. He took his new surname from a bottle of gin. It is impossible to recognise Major Gordon as Patrick Crawley because his face was severely burned during the Battle of Passchendaele. Gordon does convince Lady Edith by relating experiences in Downton such as Mary and Edith's horrible governess Fräulein Kelder, but decides to leave, rather than commit to his claim, after learning the earl's agents will be investigating Peter Gordon's history after his emigration to Canada. It is suggested by the earl's solicitor, George Murray, that Major Gordon might actually be Peter Gordon, who worked with the real Patrick Crawley at the Foreign Office, which would explain how he knew some of the private details of the Earl's family.
Lavinia Catherine Swire (played by Zoe Boyle) was the sweetheart and fiancée of Matthew Crawley. She is the daughter of London solicitor Reggie Swire whom she has been very close to ever since her mother's death during her early childhood. In 1912, she brings private papers of her uncle Jonathan Swire, a Liberal minister, to Sir Richard Carlisle since Sir Richard was about to financially ruin her father. The papers Lavinia stole inadvertently helped create the Marconi scandal. She first met Matthew when he was back in England on leave and they later become engaged. When Matthew returns from the First World War injured she refuses to leave him despite being told that he will never walk again or father children. Lavinia dies at Downton of Spanish influenza after Matthew regains use of his legs and shortly before their wedding. Just before her death she confesses to Matthew that she had seen the kiss between him and Mary and tells him that her death is the best for all of them. Her father dies shortly after and Matthew honours his deathbed wish for his ashes to be placed in Lavinia's grave. Matthew is left a considerable sum by Mr Swire, and Matthew is initially consumed with guilt and refuses to accept it. Matthew eventually relents, and uses the money to save Downton Abbey from bankruptcy, following Lord Grantham's bad investments resulting in his wife's fortune being lost.
Sir Richard Carlisle
Richard Carlisle (played by Iain Glen) was the fiancé of Lady Mary Crawley. The brusque, domineering and nouveau riche Carlisle is a self-made, extremely wealthy newspaper magnate from Edinburgh whose paper, with the help of Lavinia Swire, was instrumental in breaking the Marconi scandal story. It is to Carlisle, as a man of influence, that Lady Mary turns to when she concludes that marrying Matthew is not an option. However, Violet and the family remain suspicious of him as he is "new money" and is described by Lord Grantham as "a hawker of newspaper scandal". Although he says his feelings for her are sincere, and he offers to buy a stately home near Downton where they can live together and start a family, he demands near-total control and threatens that if she leaves him he will expose her liaison with Ottoman attaché Kemal Pamuk, which he has covered-up from exposure. He also helps cover up the scandal that the murder trial of Downton valet Bates would cause. In the second series Christmas episode, it is apparent that Carlisle's pragmatism does not sit well with the Crawleys and he and Mary begin to argue more frequently, much to the consternation of Matthew and her grandmother. Eventually Mary breaks off the engagement to him after the pair argue with increased frequency, and after Lord Grantham discovers the truth from Lady Grantham and advises Mary not to be unhappy with someone she does not love. Carlisle leaves the morning before the Servants' Ball, but not before revealing that he did genuinely love her. It is not known whether he went ahead and published the story. Ultimately, his actions do not matter, as she confesses to Matthew about Pamuk and Matthew proposes to her despite this.
Dr Richard Clarkson
Richard Clarkson (played by David Robb) is the Crawley family doctor. During the second series, he becomes an army surgeon after the outbreak of the Great War, and as a major becomes the military commander at Downton when the estate becomes a convalescent hospital. When Matthew is injured, he thinks his spine may have been broken, but is proven wrong when Matthew walks again (he was just suffering from spinal shock, which didn't permanently disable his legs).
In the third series, when Lady Sybil goes into labour, he sees signs that she is suffering from eclampsia and is in danger of dying from the intense seizures and distress. However, because of his misdiagnosis of Matthew, Robert hires a well-known doctor who strongly disagrees with Clarkson. At first Sybil seems fine after the birth, but late in the night is found having fits and dies. Cora blames Robert for Sybil's death because he did not listen to Clarkson. Violet has Clarkson lie to mend their marriage. In a journey to the highlands it is revealed that Dr Clarkson has developed romantic feelings for Isobel Crawley. However after she explains her feelings on marriage he doesn't act.
The Rev. Albert Travis
Albert Travis (played by Michael Cochrane) is the Rector of St Mary's Downton whose living is under the patronage of the Earl of Grantham. During the Great War, after William is brought back to Downton mortally wounded, the Dowager Countess summons him to wed William and Daisy before William dies. Despite his questions, he does so. Later he arranges Lavinia Swire's funeral and then the wedding for Matthew and Mary, even though the Archbishop of York performs it. He also nearly weds Edith to Anthony Strallan before he jilts her at the altar (Travis and the Dowager discussed Strallan's first wife beforehand). Robert then asks him to dinner after Tom Branson expresses his wish to baptise his daughter Catholic like himself, a decision Robert opposes. Travis insults the Catholic faith and believes the Anglican Church is superior. But Edith, Mary, Matthew and Isobel defend Tom, and Mary settles the matter once and for all by revealing Sybil did not object to her child being a Catholic. Cora then silences Robert.
Kemal Pamuk (played by Theo James) was an attaché at the Turkish Embassy in London and the son of one of the Ottoman Sultan's ministers. While participating in the "Albanian talks" he visits Downton as a guest, accompanying Evelyn Napier. His good looks are widely commented on and attract both Mary and Thomas. In the course of a sexual encounter with Mary, Pamuk dies in her bed of a heart attack. The story was inspired by true events. In 1996, Julian Fellowes found a diary of his friend's great aunt. According to the diary, around 1890, a woman and a matron carried a diplomat's corpse into his guest bed, where a valet found him dead.
John Drake (played by Fergus O'Donnell) is a tenant farmer on the estate of the Earl of Grantham. He is married and has several young children. In March 1913, he is diagnosed as suffering from dropsy of the heart and is certain to die. Isobel Crawley knows of a cure, but as a modern medical technique it is unfamiliar to Dr Clarkson, who is reluctant to try it. Her determination to treat the man piques the ire of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, and preparing for a showdown, Violet shows up at Mr Drake's bedside only to witness the procedure and its unmitigated success.
During the First World War with the men away fighting, Mr Drake needs help on his farm. Lady Edith Crawley has recently learned to drive and she volunteers to drive their tractor. Over the next few weeks she continues to help while Drake has taken a liking to her. One evening Drake kisses her and Lady Edith is pleased. Mrs Drake secretly witnesses the kiss and soon after, the Drakes hire a man to replace Edith.
Sir Anthony Strallan, Bt
Anthony Strallan (played by Robert Bathurst) was a much older love interest for Edith. He has been widowed since the death of his wife Maud. His love of automobiles was a common interest that he shared with Edith and as well as bringing them close together inspired Edith to learn to drive. He was planning to propose to Edith before Mary tricked him into thinking Edith would reject him and he leaves without an explanation. In the Christmas special he is invited by Lord Grantham to the traditional Christmas shoot but repeatedly turns it down. Edith learns that he suffered a debilitating injury to his arm serving in the First World War, hence his refusal. She is convinced that he may take her back and they can get married, but he gently tells her that he is too old for her and that he doesn't want her to waste away her life caring for him.
In series 3, Edith and Anthony reconnect and are soon engaged. However, Anthony jilts Edith at the altar, devastating her.
He has a sister, Mrs Chetwood, who writes to Cora with the recipe for his favourite dessert, apple charlotte.
Michael Gregson (played by Charles Edwards) is a London editor for the society magazine The Sketch. After Lady Edith has a letter published in a newspaper proclaiming support for women's rights, Michael writes to her at least twice offering her a column in his magazine. Encouraged by her family (excepting her father, who thought Gregson just wanted to take advantage of her title and wealth) she went to see him and accepted his offer.
Michael encouraged Edith to never be afraid to speak her mind and to write about whatever she wanted, even if it was not expected of a woman. He began flirting with her, later admitting he is attracted to her. But when she reveals she knows he is married, he explains that his wife, Lizzy, whom he loved very much, has been in an asylum for some years with no hope of recovery. Under British law, her status as a lunatic cannot be used as grounds for divorce because she is neither the guilty nor innocent party. Edith stays on (she had intended to resign because she was repulsed that a married man was flirting with her) after Michael expresses his hope that she will, citing how much it cheers him to meet her when they do and to read her column.
Michael follows Edith and her family to Scotland in 1921, where he meets her family. Cora instantly takes a liking to him, whereas Mary and Robert do not. Matthew defends Michael against his wife and goes stalking and fishing with him. But when learning of his status, Matthew instructs him to put an end to his relationship with Edith. Though he tries, he does not when he learns from Edith that she does care about and love him madly in return.
Determined to find any way to legally marry Edith, he learns if he becomes a German citizen he can divorce Lizzy. Edith and he grow ever closer. He cares not for what others will think of him for changing his citizenship, only of Edith's love. She visits him many times in London then invites him to a party at Downton, where he begins to earn her father's respect. Before going to Munich to finalise his divorce, he and Edith spend their last night together, making love. But then, he vanishes with no word for a long time, worrying Edith, especially when she realises she is pregnant with his child. But her intense romantic affections for him never falter.
By 1923, he still has not been found, but pieces of what happened to him are coming to light. At first Edith was told he disappeared after going out once he checked into his hotel. Then she learns he got into a fight with some men in Munich after taking exception to what they were saying. "They're quite well known apparently. They wear brown shirts and go around preaching the most horrible things," as Edith later tells her aunt. Her child by him, a daughter named Marigold, was given up for adoption in Switzerland. But Edith decides she wants the child back and plans to reclaim her then place her in the care of a local farmer. She also feels, knowing Michael granted her power of attorney and she might inherit all he has if he is confirmed dead, that she must give something to their daughter, whom she then decides to reclaim.
In 1924, news arrives that Michael was killed during the Beer Hall Putsch, leaving Edith devastated as she never lost hope that he might be alive. She inherits his publishing company, and reclaims their daughter, Marigold, who, Robert notes, bears a strong resemblance to Gregson. He tells Edith he believes Michael was an honourable man, to which she agrees, stating Michael would have married her as soon as he could. Robert says they will do their best for Marigold for both Michael's and Edith's sakes, while still keeping the truth confined to the family.
Richard Grey, Lord Merton
Richard "Dickie" Grey, Lord Merton (played by Douglas Reith) is Mary's godfather and a widower with at least two sons, Larry and Tim Grey. He was interested in studying medicine once in his life, but his father did not think it suitable for someone of his position. Nevertheless he maintains a fascination with medicine.
Lord Merton is invited to dinner at Downton Abbey along with his family before Mary and Matthew's wedding. His son Larry, who was once keen on Sybil, treats her husband Tom with rudeness and disrespect. He drugs Tom's drink so that he appears drunk. When Anthony Strallan reveals what Larry had done, Lord Merton asks his son if it was true. After Larry unremorsefully calls Tom "only a grubby little chauffeur chappie", Lord Merton angrily tells him to be silent, and apologises very sincerely to Tom for what Larry did, adding his hope that Tom would recover before the wedding.
In 1922 he joins Violet and Isobel for lunch, later taking a walk with Isobel. By 1923 he has taken a keen interest in Isobel, whom he meets again at a ball at Grantham House. In 1924 they announce they are getting married, but Violet isn't so happy (because she does not want to lose her friend and companion in Isobel). Isobel becomes disheartened after Larry and his brother Tim treat her disrespectfully. Lord Merton remarks that both his sons are very much like his late wife, to whom he was not happily married. Though Isobel is concerned about marrying Lord Merton when his sons do not approve of her, Violet insists she should not let them ruin her future.
Prince Igor Kuragin (played by Rade Sherbedgia) is a former Russian nobleman forced into exile as a result of the 1917 Revolution. As a powerful and extremely wealthy noble with palaces and thousands of acres of land, he and Violet met in St. Petersburg in 1874 while she and her husband, the then Earl of Grantham, were in the retinue of the Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. Though both Prince Kuragin and Violet were married, they fell in love and attempted to elope, but did not succeed. During the Revolution many years later, Prince Kuragin and his wife, Princess Irina, were arrested by the Bolsheviks and separated. Though Prince Kuragin was subsequently released, he learned that his wife had been exiled a year before. Left virtually penniless, he makes his way to England and settles in York, where he receives aid from a charity for Russian refugees. Through Lady Rose MacClare, who is one of the helpers, he learns of her relationship to Violet and that the Dowager Countess still lives at Downton. He joins his fellow former nobles on an outing to Downton in the spring of 1924. At Downton Abbey, he meets Violet again, who is shocked by his reappearance and what has happened to him. Violet attempts to find the whereabouts of Princess Irina through Lord Flintshire, who is her nephew-in-law, and eventually receives a letter from Lord Flintshire saying the Princess may have fled to Wan Chai, Hong Kong, where she might be working as a nurse.
Unlike many Russians, Prince Kuragin does not appear to be an anti-Semite; when he meets Atticus Aldridge and realises his family fled Russia due to the Tsar's anti-Jewish pogroms, he tells Atticus that he is "not proud of why they chose to go."
Vera Bates (played by Maria Doyle Kennedy) was the estranged wife of John Bates. Having known each other since childhood, they marry young and had a very unhappy marriage. In between serving in the Anglo-Boer War and joining the staff at Downton Abbey, John Bates went to prison for a theft that Vera had committed.
Using her husband's name, she obtains a service post in the household of the Marquis of Flintshire since the Marchioness of Flintshire is the Earl of Grantham's cousin. The Marchioness's lady's maid tells Vera about Lady Mary's liaison with Kemal Pamuk. When Vera learns that her husband has a larger than expected inheritance after his mother's death, she arrives at Downton Abbey. She asks for large amounts of money, refusing a divorce so he cannot marry fellow servant Anna and blackmails him, threatening to expose Lady Mary's secret. She also wants her husband back since she has tried living on her own and does not like it. Bates returns to London with her to live in his mother's home but soon separates after learning that she has been unfaithful to him. Eventually he returns to his post as Robert's valet, and he and Anna rekindle their romance. O'Brien, always against Bates, writes to Vera to tell her where he is and about his and Anna's blossoming romance.
Irate, she goes to Sir Richard Carlisle and sells him the story of Lady Mary, unaware that Sir Richard is engaged to Lady Mary and has no intention of publishing the story. Furious over of this, she tells the judge in her divorce case that Bates paid her off to consent to it. The judge voids the divorce decree, with the result that Vera and John are still legally married. Mr Bates goes to London to confront her and returns to Downton with a large scratch on his face, telling Anna that their meeting went terribly. The next day, Vera is found dead from the ingestion of rat poison. The police are convinced that Bates murdered her and he is convicted and sentenced to death, before the sentence is commuted to life in prison. While John is in prison, Anna is able to track down a neighbour of Vera's who saw her on the day of her death. She tells Anna that she remembers Vera had dried food under her fingernails; meaning that Vera made the pie herself knowing that her husband would be implicated for murder. The neighbor also stated that she had seen Vera walking down the street when the gas lights had come on (she said they made a sort of "halo" around Vera's head), which would have been when Bates was already on his way back home. Bates is then released from prison due to the neighbor's statement.
Mr Mason (played by Paul Copley) is the father of William, the Downton footman who died of injuries received in the Great War. In 1913, Mason's wife dies of a heart attack leaving him on his own on their farm. Mr Mason becomes father-in-law to Daisy when she marries his son on his deathbed. After William's death in 1918, Mr Mason sometimes calls at Downton to speak to Daisy, believing that she loved William as much as he did. Although Daisy finds this awkward at first, after he tells Daisy that William thought she was special and that his father would have no children left after his own death, their relationship changes and becomes akin to that of father and daughter.
In 1920, he expresses his wish to name Daisy his sole heir, and asks her to come live at the farm so he may teach her how to run it. When Daisy visits him again in 1922, she is trying to avoid Alfred, who is saying his final goodbyes at the house. But Mr Mason insists to Daisy she has to say goodbye to him properly, and offers to help her find the right words to say.
Joe Burns (played by Bill Fellows) is a former suitor to Mrs Hughes. When Elsie turns his proposal down he later married Ivy (died 1912) and had one son Peter, who joined the army. He meets Mrs Hughes at a fair in Downton after the death of Ivy and asked her a second time to marry him, giving her a parting gift of a small doll. Later, however, he is turned down as Mrs Hughes does not wish to leave Downton, but the two part on good terms.
Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Strutt
Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Strutt KCB, DSO (played by Julian Wadham) is a senior British Army general known as the "Hero of the Somme". He visits Downton Abbey in 1917 as part of a tour of England to drum-up support for the war effort. During a dinner in his honour, Branson, the Irish nationalist and socialist chauffeur, attempts to revenge himself on the army by pouring a soup-tureen of slop over the general, but is stopped in time by Carson the butler (who after reading Branson's apology note to Lady Sybil, found by Anna, thought Branson meant to assassinate the general). Sir Herbert leaves Downton the next morning with no knowledge of the incident.
Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York and future Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Gordon Lang (played by Michael Culkin), is one of the few historical characters in the series. He marries Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley in the spring of 1920. He also comes to Downton Abbey for dinner later that year.
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- Browse Inside Downton Abbey Script Book Season 1 by Julian Fellowes
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