Despite having completed six seasons in 2015, viewers are still unclear about the roots of the show’s name, ‘Downton Abbey’. Why is it called ‘Downton Abbey’? Let’s find out!
For six seasons, Julian Fellowes kept everyone hooked to his popular creation ‘Downton Abbey’. The award-winning show led us into the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family in the early twentieth century. A life where social status was determined by whether you lived upstairs or downstairs. The British historical drama Downton Abbey surrounded us with secrets, scandals, social status, splendour, and much more.
It is ‘Downton Abbey’, not Downtown Abbey
- What is ‘Downton Abbey’?
- Is Downton a real place?
- Who featured in ‘Downton Abbey’?
It is ‘Downton Abbey’, not Downtown Abbey
However, the question that leaves them more puzzled is ‘Why is it called ‘Downton Abbey’?
In an interview, the creator of ‘Downton Abbey’ Julian Fellowes explained how he had always been an admirer of his great-grandfather, Professor John Wrightson. He was an experimental agriculturalist. Wrightson’s eldest brother Sir Thomas Wrightson, Bart of Neasham Hall in Yorkshire, had done great things in the world of steel, and their aunt was married to Lord Armstrong, the British Krupp of armaments. But Sir Thomas Wrightson was more interested in farming. He had an estate in Wiltshire that was called Charford Manor.
Fellowes earlier thought about calling the series ‘Charford Abbey’, but decided it was too near Cranford. So, they settled on ‘Downton’ after Downton College of Agriculture which Wrightson founded in 1880. For a quarter of a century, the college was at the forefront of agricultural innovation.
But then, why Abbey? In an interview, Fellowes explained that he called it ‘Abbey’ after Ramsey Abbey. It was a Fellowes house in Huntingdonshire, now known as Cambridgeshire. Julian Fellowes didn’t want to call it “Downton Park”, for he feared being addressed as the park keeper as a joke.
What is ‘Downton Abbey’?
‘Downton Abbey’ is a popular period drama. It was released ten years ago in 2010. The drama series follows the social and economic challenges facing the British aristocracy over the turbulent period just before, and then in between, the two world wars. The TV series revolved around the lives of a wealthy aristocratic family in twentieth-century England. This family occupied a glorious castle and their lifestyle was extravagant with a high dosage of drama. They were looked after by a staff of generous helpers who lived in the tight quarters downstairs.
‘Downton Abbey’ took inspiration from the 1970s’ BBC series ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’, which unveiled how the upstairs nobles interacted with the downstairs servants. ‘Downton Abbey’ also weaves many true events into its stories such as the sinking of the Titanic and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
Is Downton a real place?
Downton is a non-existent place. However, the estate at which ‘Downton Abbey’ was filmed is certainly real. The estate is known as the Highclere Castle. It is located in Hampshire, England. The Victorian castle is built on 5,000 acres of land and is the country seat of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. The family has lived in Highclere from 1679. The Highclere Castle has been a popular filming location for many series and films. Tourists are also allowed to visit. Though most scenes of ‘Downton Abbey’ have been shot at Highclere castle, many kitchen and servant quarter scenes have been shot at the Ealing Studios.
Who featured in ‘Downton Abbey’?
The show has featured a large number of famous actors. One of the most popular names includes Dame Maggie Smith who played Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. One of her most popular stints was as Professor McGonagall in the famous ‘Harry Potter’ series. Other actors include Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown Findlay, Theo James, Dan Stevens, Thomas Howes, Siobhan Finnerman, Rose Leslie, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Clare Calbraith, and many more.
Many fans of the classic melodrama series are re-watching and relishing its dramatic revelations in this quarantine period. Are you also one of them? Let us know in the comment section below!