The Real ‘Downton Abbey’

My Sundays are spent at Downton. Downton Abbey, that is.

The Masterpiece PBS hit show, Downton Abbey, has taken the world by storm. In six short seasons (yes, I will cry watching the series finale), this show has triggered viewers’ emotions with stories of love, joy, and sadness as the lives of the British Crawley family household, both upstairs and downstairs, unfolded. But, do you know the real history of the Downton Abbey estate, Highclere Castle?

Highclere Castle and Gardens is located in West Berkshire, United Kingdom. The estate’s history dates back to 749 AD, with written records of the land. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Highclere Castle was renovated from it’s original structure as a medieval palace into a castle and garden under the Carnarvon family. In 1878, the inside structural work was completed. The estate has flourished during the Georgian and Victorian times, as well as, the 20th Century. Some interesting facts are below:

  1. During the First World War, Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, turned the Castle  into a hospital and patients began arriving in September 1914.
  2. It was the center of political life during the Victorian era.
  3. Politicians, innovators, aviators, soldiers, and Egyptologists all visited the home.
  4. In 1922, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
  5. Today, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live partly in the Castle and nearby.

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