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Highclere Castle in Period Dramas & Books

Highclere Castle in Period Dramas & Books

Shine your tiara and ready your hilariously acerbic quips, the “Downton Abbey” film opens all over the place September 20th. 

Highclere Citadel, filming website for Downton Abbey courtesy Carnival Films

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To organize, let’s go contained in 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 Citadel Historical past

Seventy miles west of London, set in 5,000 acres of pristine English countryside, Highclere Citadel is likely one of the final aristocrat-owned farming estates in the UK. The home and lands have been in the Carnarvon household since it was purchased in 1679 by Sir Robert Sawyer, direct grandfather of the present 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 within the Georgian fashion by Sawyer as Highclere Place House.

In 1771, landscape architect Lancelot “Functionality” 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 around the manor house.

Then in 1839, recent from his redesign of Parliament Home, architect Charles Berry renovated the house for the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon, into the familiar Gothic Revival type we see immediately, with its many excessive 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 located himself land wealthy but cash poor. In 1895, he married 19-year-old beauty Almina Wombwell, an illegitimate daughter of rich banker Alfred de Rothschild. Luckily 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,” throughout World Warfare I, 75 males 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, allowing wounded warriors to recuperate within the superb environment and peace of the countryside. (For extra on the historic events 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 horrible automotive accident. To recuperate, docs urged him to discover a warmer climate. So started his love affair with Egypt. Carnarvon and companion archaeologist Howard Carter excavated together for 16 years, and sometimes planned their winter expeditions from the comfort and splendor of Highclere. In 1922, they famously found the undisturbed tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, complete with all its treasures and artifacts.

Unfortunately, a couple of months after the top of his archeological career, the 5th Earl died after a mosquito chew turned infected, 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 remains residence to Highclere Citadel where he is buried on Beacon Hill, overlooking his family’s property.

Highclere Fort As we speak

As we speak, Highclere Fort is the residence of the eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who have graciously opened their residence to not only movie crews, but to overnight guests, excursions, weddings, and lots of different events. On the Highclere web site, the Earl and Countess stated, “We by no means tire of this beautiful residence and galvanizing landscape and we are delighted to share it with each visitor.”

Visitors are treated to tours of not only the citadel and gardens, but in addition the Egyptian Exhibition within the citadel cellar from the expedition of the fifth Earl.

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

TV Exhibits Featuring Highclere Fort

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

The Secrets and techniques of Highclere Citadel (PBS)

100 years in the past, the world of the British manor home was at its peak. It was a life of luxury and indolence for a wealthy 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 smoothly as attainable. It is a world that has offered an imposing backdrop to a variety of flicks and widespread costume dramas to this present day, including PBS’ “Downton Abbey.”

However what was really happening behind these stately partitions? “Secrets of the Manor Home” seems beyond the fiction to the truth 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 domestic servants, whereas the nation’s wealthiest families enjoyed a life-style of luxury, and aristocrats ruled over their servants as that they had accomplished for a thousand years.

This system talks to present-day British lords and women and to the descendants of those who lived and labored in manor houses across the country. A collection of skilled historians clarify the true image of how life was lived inside the partitions 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, each keenly conscious of his or her place. It visits trendy manor homes, the place aristocratic households typically still rule over scores of servants, in houses with 100 and more bedrooms, and the place the lord nonetheless enjoys an expensive life of searching, capturing and fishing among the great thing about rural Britain. And it details the true hardship of life as a “downstairs” servant: maids would carry 45 gallons of scorching water alongside hidden servants’ passageways to fill one aristocratic woman’s tub, and a housemaid’s day would begin earlier than dawn and last for 17 hours as she scrubbed floors, cleaned grates and carried coal — all for a wage of $15 a yr.

However, exactly a century in the past, an ideal storm of monetary hardship and political and social change was threatening to engulf this conventional British lifestyle. Some impoverished British aristocrats married wealthy American heiresses to prop up and maintain their fading manor houses; the working courses have been discovering a voice and demanding each political power and higher jobs; and the horrible catastrophe of World Warfare I was looming within the wings. When warfare came, nothing within the life of the British manor house was ever the identical once more.

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

Mary Berry’s Nation Home Secrets and techniques (BBC)

In this collection, Mary Berry discovers the wealthy historical past of our nation’s biggest stately houses via the prism of meals.

In episode 1 of the Four-episode collection, Mary Berry learns what it takes to maintain Highclere Citadel operating in in the present day’s world, and creates a delicious unfold including gamekeeper’s stew within the estate’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 proper on “Downton Abbey”? Enter the world of English etiquette with host Alastair Bruce, historian, professional on royal ceremony and customized, and the historical advisor to the hit drama collection.

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

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

More Manners of Downton Abbey (PBS)

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

“More 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 Locations: Downton Abbey” under.


Interval Dramas filmed at Highclere Fort

Beyond “Downton Abbey,” Highclere Citadel served as a setting in these period dramas:

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

A Handful of Mud (1988): Based mostly on the story by Evelyn Waugh. An upper-crust British marriage comes undone on this dark comedy. Brenda and Tony Final spend their days flitting between social engagements and renovating their monstrous mansion in the nation. But when Brenda begins an affair with an idle young rake, their apparent lifetime 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’s being accused of a homicide he did not commit, she sets out to show him innocent, and takes a place in his household citadel as a companion to his mom. She discovers that the Brecon family just isn’t only rich in land and fortune, but rich in secrets lurking behind the citadel walls. Search 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 vibrant future – until he resigns from his regiment. Harry is branded a coward, disowned by his family, his fiancee and his greatest good friend. After listening to his regiment is attacked, he set out on a journey of redemption. Set in the course of 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 in this charming period comedy set in the early 20th century that puts a religious missionary right into a precarious place. In 1905, devout Reverend Charles Fortesque returns to England from his missionary work in Africa and, despite plans to marry his childhood sweetheart, receives a most unusual 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 struggle back as an outlaw. AVAILABLE to STREAM

The Secret Garden (1987): In this Hallmark Corridor 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 garden that was locked up after a tragic accident. Mary gets help from Dickon an area boy and Colin the inheritor to the manor to revive the backyard. AVAILABLE on DVD

Books About Highclere Citadel

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

At House at Highclere: Entertaining at The Real Downton Abbey by Woman Carnarvon

Written by the current woman of the manor, this ebook provides complete entry to the world-renowned historic country home and showcases the art of entertaining, previous and present. Highclere Fort is the epitome of how we imagine the right English nation home. Long the Carnarvon fami­ly’s ancestral country seat, Highclere has welcomed royalty, statesmen, and notables from the worlds of enterprise, academia, and the arts for capturing parties, elegant fêtes, and celebrations within the grand fashion. 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 Fort, including diaries, letters, and pictures, the present Woman Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled residence getting ready to warfare. Very similar to her Masterpiece Basic counterpart, Woman Cora Crawley, Woman Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a younger age, her dowry serving as the crucial link within the effort to protect the Earl of Carnarvon’s ancestral house. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Citadel to are likely to the wounded of World Struggle I, Woman Almina distinguished herself as a brave and memorable lady.

This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a terrific house towards the backdrop of the First World Struggle and gives an inspiring and revealing picture of the lady on the middle of the history 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 show, and the lifetime of one in every of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Occasions bestseller “Woman Almina and the Actual Downton Abbey,” Catherine, a fantastic and spirited American lady who married Woman Almina’s son, the man who would turn into the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand property throughout a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World Conflict, most of the nice homes of England pale as their house owners fortunes declined within the new political and social world of the 1920s and 1930s. As struggle loomed, Highclere’s survival because the family residence of the Carnarvons was again in the stability—as was peace between the nations of Europe.

Utilizing copious supplies—including diaries and scrapbooks—from the citadel’s archives, the present Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a really trendy story in a fantastic and fabled setting, paying specific attention to the employees who provide Highclere Fort with continuity between generations. AVAILABLE HERE

Rosemary Picado has labored as a magazine editor, newspaper columnist, and technical writer. She lives in California together with her husband and cats. When she’s not enjoying interval dramas and history, she loves to work in her backyard and journey.

For those who loved this submit, make sure to see The Interval Films Record, with the most effective British, historic and costume dramas sorted by period. Also see our Spoiler-Free Evaluation of the Downton Abbey Film, and Downton on Location.