Downton Abbey England Family Friendly History & Costumes Masterpiece news PBS Period Drama Articles Television Themes & Topics

Highclere Castle in Period Dramas & Books

Highclere Castle in Period Dramas & Books

Shine your tiara and prepared your hilariously acerbic quips, the “Downton Abbey” film opens in all places September 20th. 

Highclere Fort, filming website for Downton Abbey courtesy Carnival Movies

To assist hold this website operating: Willow and Thatch might obtain a commission once you click on on any of the hyperlinks on our website and make a purchase after doing so.

To organize, let’s go inside the opulence and storied historical past of Highclere Citadel, the actual setting of “Downton Abbey.” Then, we take a look at different costume dramas which were filmed at Highclere Fort, and some documentaries and books about the actual Downton.

Highclere Fort History

Seventy miles west of London, set in 5,000 acres of pristine English countryside, Highclere Fort is likely one of the last aristocrat-owned farming estates in the United Kingdom. The house and lands have been within the Carnarvon household since it was bought in 1679 by Sir Robert Sawyer, direct grandfather of the current Earl, who served as Lawyer Basic to King Charles II and King James II. The original medieval residence, constructed by Bishop William of Wykeham in 749, was rebuilt in the Georgian fashion by Sawyer as Highclere Place Home.

In 1771, panorama architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown reworked the small formal gardens of Highclere for the 1st Earl of Carnarvon, and opened them as much as the good expanse of the English countryside across the manor house.

Then in 1839, recent from his redesign of Parliament Home, architect Charles Berry renovated the house for the third Earl of Carnarvon, into the familiar Gothic Revival fashion we see as we speak, with its many high spires. After the glamorous facelift, the manor was appropriately renamed Highclere Citadel.

The 5th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon

Very similar to the Crowley family’s story in “Downton Abbey,” George Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, was deep in debt and found himself land rich but money poor. In 1895, he married 19-year-old magnificence Almina Wombwell, an illegitimate daughter of wealthy banker Alfred de Rothschild. Thankfully for the couple, it was a love match, and together with Almina’s monumental inheritance, they have been capable of save the family estate and clean over any social awkwardness for arose from her dubious heritage.

As dramatized in “Downton Abbey,” during World Warfare I, 75 men from the Highclere Fort employees went off to do their obligation in Europe. Tragically, many grooms, recreation keepers, and gardeners by no means returned. In 1914, Woman Almina generously opened the home as a wartime hospital, permitting wounded warriors to recuperate in the superb environment and peace of the countryside. (For extra on the historic occasions dramatized in “Downton Abbey” see Historical past in Downton Abbey Collection & Film.)

All the time the adventurer and pleasure seeker, the fifth Earl suffered a terrible automotive accident. To recuperate, docs urged him to find a hotter local weather. So began his love affair with Egypt. Carnarvon and companion archaeologist Howard Carter excavated together for 16 years, and sometimes planned their winter expeditions from the consolation and splendor of Highclere. In 1922, they famously discovered the undisturbed tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, complete with all its treasures and artifacts.

Sadly, a couple of months after the top of his archeological career, the fifth Earl died after a mosquito chew turned contaminated, leading some to theorize a few mummy’s curse, though specialists conclude that his demise had nothing to do with Tutankhamun’s tomb. Woman Almina introduced her husband’s stays house to Highclere Fort where he’s buried on Beacon Hill, overlooking his family’s property.

Highclere Fort As we speak

At present, Highclere Citadel is the residence of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who’ve graciously opened their house to not solely film crews, but to in a single day guests, excursions, weddings, and lots of other occasions. On the Highclere website, the Earl and Countess stated, “We never tire of this beautiful residence and galvanizing panorama and we’re delighted to share it with each customer.”

Visitors are handled to tours of not only the fort and gardens, but in addition the Egyptian Exhibition in the citadel cellar from the expedition of the 5th Earl.

In Woman Carnavon’s blog, she writes that “Guests typically write in to say Highclere is their ‘dream’ vacation trip and that coming here is on their bucket listing. It’s a deal with for mothers and daughters, a big day out for a husband to provide his wife, a romantic location for a wedding proposal, a convivial meeting place for associates. It leaves guests with reminiscences, smiles and thus new goals.”

TV Exhibits Featuring Highclere Citadel

Go behind the scenes to the actual Highclere Fort in these documentary specials and TV exhibits:

The Secrets of Highclere Fort (PBS)

100 years in the past, the world of the British manor home was at its peak. It was a lifetime of luxury and indolence for a rich few supported by the labor of a whole lot of servants toiling ceaselessly “under stairs” to make the lives of their lords and women run as easily as potential. It’s a world that has offered an imposing backdrop to a variety of flicks and fashionable costume dramas to this present day, including PBS’ “Downton Abbey.”

However what was actually happening behind these stately walls? “Secrets and techniques of the Manor House” seems beyond the fiction to the reality of what life was like in these British homes of yesteryear. They have been communities the place two separate worlds existed aspect by aspect: the poor worked as home servants, whereas the nation’s wealthiest families loved a life-style of luxurious, and aristocrats ruled over their servants as that they had achieved for a thousand years.

This system talks to present-day British lords and women and to the descendants of those who lived and worked in manor houses across the nation. A collection of skilled historians clarify the true picture of how life was lived inside the walls of these stately houses that had modified little or no for hundreds of years. It explains the hierarchy of the British institution: led by the king with a supporting forged of dukes, earls and barons, every keenly aware of his or her place. It visits trendy manor homes, where aristocratic households typically nonetheless rule over scores of servants, in houses with 100 and extra bedrooms, and where the lord still enjoys an expensive lifetime of searching, capturing and fishing among the great thing about rural Britain. And it particulars the true hardship of life as a “downstairs” servant: maids would carry 45 gallons of scorching water along hidden servants’ passageways to fill one aristocratic woman’s tub, and a housemaid’s day would start before dawn and final for 17 hours as she scrubbed floors, cleaned grates and carried coal — all for a wage of $15 a yr.

However, precisely a century in the past, an ideal storm of monetary hardship and political and social change was threatening to engulf this traditional British lifestyle. Some impoverished British aristocrats married rich American heiresses to prop up and sustain their fading manor houses; the working courses have been finding a voice and demanding both political power and higher jobs; and the terrible catastrophe of World Struggle I was looming within the wings. When warfare got here, nothing in the lifetime of the British manor house was ever the same again.

“The Secrets and techniques of Highclere Fort” is AVAILABLE to STREAM.

Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets and techniques (BBC)

On this collection, Mary Berry discovers the wealthy history of our nation’s biggest stately houses via the prism of food.

In episode 1 of the Four-episode collection, Mary Berry learns what it takes to maintain Highclere Fort operating in as we speak’s world, and creates a delicious spread together with gamekeeper’s stew in the property’s kitchen.

“Mary Berry’s Country Home Secrets and techniques” is AVAILABLE to STREAM.

The Manners of Downton Abbey (PBS)

What goes on behind-the-scenes to get the manners of 1900s Britain precisely right on “Downton Abbey”? Enter the world of English etiquette with host Alastair Bruce, historian, skilled on royal ceremony and custom, and the historical advisor to the hit drama collection.

This one-hour documentary options revealing interviews with leading forged members, including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Sophie McShera and others. Discover the secrets of how the aristocratic set dined and dressed, how they married and made money, how they interacted with the servants, and above all why they behaved as they did. Illustrated with memorable moments from “Downton Abbey,” this system shown on MASTERPIECE is a treat for followers and anybody fascinated with the customs of early 1900s Britain.

“The Manners of Downton Abbey” is AVAILABLE to STREAM.

Extra Manners of Downton Abbey (PBS)

Return to the world of manners with Alastair Bruce, Downton Abbey‘s historical advisor. That includes unique interviews with the collection’ leading forged members corresponding to Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery, this documentary navigates the social protocol of noblemen and servants within the 1920s and the age of jazz.

“Extra Manners of Downton Abbey” is AVAILABLE to STREAM.

Reel Destinations: Downton Abbey

Be a part of Alicia Malone as she takes you inside “Downton Abbey” in the premiere episode of “Reel Locations,” a brand new collection of free brief movies about filming places, from Focus Features.

Watch “Reel Destinations: Downton Abbey” under.


Interval Dramas filmed at Highclere Fort

Past “Downton Abbey,” Highclere Citadel served as a setting in these interval dramas:

Agatha Christie’s Marple: Four:50 From Paddington (2004): Miss Marple investigates the wealthy Crackenthorpe clan, believing a body to be hidden on their estate after a visiting pal witnesses a brutal strangling murder occurring on a passing practice. Unique title: “What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw.” AVAILABLE to STREAM

A Handful of Dust (1988): Based mostly on the story by Evelyn Waugh. An upper-crust British marriage comes undone on this dark comedy. Brenda and Tony Last spend their days flitting between social engagements and renovating their monstrous mansion in the country. However when Brenda begins an affair with an idle young rake, their obvious life of ease takes a tragic flip. AVAILABLE to STREAM

Duel of Hearts (1991): In 1820s London, Woman Caroline Faye meets Lord Vane Brecon and is interested in him. When she finds out that he is being accused of a homicide he did not commit, she sets out to show him harmless, and takes a position in his household fort as a companion to his mom. She discovers that the Brecon family shouldn’t be solely wealthy in land and fortune, however rich in secrets and techniques lurking behind the fort partitions. Look for this to pop up on TV: starring Alison Doody, Michael York, and Geraldine Chaplin.

The Four Feathers (2002): Harry Feversham is a British officer with a shiny future – till he resigns from his regiment. Harry is branded a coward, disowned by his household, his fiancee and his greatest good friend. After hearing his regiment is attacked, he set out on a journey of redemption. Set through the British Military’s Gordon Aid Expedition (late 1884 to early 1885) and based mostly on the novel. AVAILABLE to STREAM

The Missionary (1982): Michael Palin and Maggie Smith star on this charming period comedy set in the early 20th century that places a religious missionary right into a precarious position. In 1905, religious Reverend Charles Fortesque returns to England from his missionary work in Africa and, regardless of plans to marry his childhood sweetheart, receives a most uncommon task: minister to the native prostitutes. WATCH the TRAILER

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991): When Robin and his Moorish companion come to England and the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham, he decides to battle back as an outlaw. AVAILABLE to STREAM

The Secret Backyard (1987): On this Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of the basic, Mary is a spoiled woman dwelling in dwelling in nineteenth century India when her mother and father die and she or he is shipped to stay in England. She finds it to be a lonely place till she discovers a secret backyard that was locked up after a tragic accident. Mary will get help from Dickon an area boy and Colin the inheritor to the manor to restore the backyard. AVAILABLE on DVD

Books About Highclere Fort

For more info on life at Highclere Citadel and its historical past, visit the website for Highclere Fort search for these books, and see the article Downton Abbey on Location:

At Residence at Highclere: Entertaining at The Actual Downton Abbey by Woman Carnarvon

Written by the present woman of the manor, this guide provides complete entry to the world-renowned historic country home and showcases the artwork of entertaining, past and present. Highclere Citadel is the epitome of how we imagine the right English nation house. Long the Carnarvon fami­ly’s ancestral nation seat, Highclere has welcomed royalty, statesmen, and notables from the worlds of business, academia, and the humanities for capturing events, elegant fêtes, and celebrations within the grand type. AVAILABLE HERE

Woman Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Misplaced Legacy of Highclere Fort by Woman Carnarvon

Drawing on a wealthy store of supplies from the archives of Highclere Citadel, including diaries, letters, and pictures, the present Woman Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled residence getting ready to conflict. Very similar to her Masterpiece Basic counterpart, Woman Cora Crawley, Woman Almina was the daughter of a rich industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving because the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon’s ancestral residence. Throwing open the doorways of Highclere Fort to are likely to the wounded of World Struggle I, Woman Almina distinguished herself as a brave and memorable lady.

This rich story contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in an amazing house towards the backdrop of the First World Struggle and gives an inspiring and revealing picture of the lady on the middle of the historical past of Highclere Citadel. AVAILABLE HERE

Woman Catherine, the Earl, and the Actual Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnarvon

The story behind Highclere Citadel, the setting for Julian Fellowes’s Emmy Award-winning PBS present, and the life of considered one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Occasions bestseller “Woman Almina and the Real Downton Abbey,” Catherine, a wonderful and spirited American lady who married Woman Almina’s son, the man who would develop into the sixth Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand estate during a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World Conflict, most of the great homes of England pale as their house owners fortunes declined in the new political and social world of the 1920s and 1930s. As warfare loomed, Highclere’s survival as the family residence of the Carnarvons was again within the stability—as was peace between the nations of Europe.

Utilizing copious supplies—together with diaries and scrapbooks—from the fort’s archives, the present Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a very trendy story in a phenomenal and fabled setting, paying specific consideration to the employees who present Highclere Citadel with continuity between generations. AVAILABLE HERE

Rosemary Picado has worked as a magazine editor, newspaper columnist, and technical writer. She lives in California together with her husband and cats. When she’s not having fun with interval dramas and historical past, she loves to work in her backyard and travel.

When you loved this submit, be sure you see The Period Films Record, with one of the best British, historical and costume dramas sorted by era. Additionally see Downton on Location.