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Crawley Family

Members of the Crawley Family (as of July 1920).

The Crawleys are a wealthy aristocratic family who live in and hold rights to the Downton Abbey estate (which they have held since at least 1772, when the 1st Earl of Grantham was raised to the earldom). The subsidiary title of the Earl of Grantham is Viscount Downton.[1]

As of 1912, there have been six former Earls of Grantham, with Robert Crawley being the seventh and current Earl of Grantham.[2]

Relations and History[]

The Crawleys are related to the Levinson family through Robert's marriage to Cora. They are also distantly related to the MacClare family, whose patriarch is Hugh MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire. His wife Susan is Violet's maternal niece and first cousin to Robert and Rosamund. They are also related to the working-class Branson family through Sybil's marriage to Tom. Through Mary's marriage to Henry, they are related to the Talbot family, whose patriarch is the Earl of Shrewsbury. And also through Edith's marriage to Bertie, the 7th Marquess of Hexham, they are related to the upper-class Pelham family. They are also related to the Grey family through Isobel's marriage to Lord Merton.

The family is staunchly Anglican, as Robert remarks that there has not been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation. Tom Branson and his daughter, who are Catholic, are the exception as they are from the Branson family.

Present Family[]

There are many known members and equally as many unknown members of the family. Violet Crawley, widow of the previous Earl of Grantham, is the matriarch of the family. Violet has two children: Rosamund - the rich widow of banker Marmaduke Painswick - and Robert, who married American heiress Cora Levinson in 1890[3].

While Rosamund and her late husband had no children, Robert and Cora have had three daughters: Mary, Edith and Sybil. Being girls, they could not inherit their father's title, fortune, or estate due to an entail established by Robert's late father decreeing everything would pass to the next male relative (he had not expected Robert to not have a son).

Because of the entail, Robert's paternal first cousin, James, stood as heir, followed by his son, Patrick. But both men were onboard the RMS Titanic and did not survive the disaster. The family sought to destroy the entail so Robert's eldest daughter, Mary, would inherit, but Robert's father had made it all but impossible.

As a result, Robert's third cousin-once-removed, Matthew Crawley, became the new heir. Matthew's great-great grandfather was the younger son of the third earl. He referred to the current Earl as Cousin Robert, and his widowed mother Isobel Crawley referred to the Dowager Countess, with whom she often clashes despite their deep friendship, as Cousin Violet.

Maud, Dowager Baroness Bagshaw, is the daughter of Robert's paternal great uncle, and she has a secret illegitimate daughter, Lucy Smith.


In 1919, Sybil married the family's former chauffeur, Tom Branson, and by Christmas that year was pregnant.

Matthew proposed to Mary in the early days of January 1920 (this was his second, as he had recanted his first on August 4th, 1914, the start of the Great War). She accepted and the two became betrothed and married that same year.

In 1925, after much hesitation, Mary remarries to Henry Talbot. Later that year, Isobel marries Richard Grey and becomes the Baroness Merton, and Edith, after breaking up with Herbert Pelham, reconciles with and marries him, becoming the Marchioness of Hexham.

Next Generation[]

Main article: Crawley grandchildren

Sybil died in May 1920 right after giving birth to a daughter, whom her husband named Sybil after her. Mary and Matthew have a son, George, who was born on the same day as Matthew's untimely death in a car crash, in September 1921. George is the current heir to the family estate, title, and fortune.

In 1922, Edith became pregnant by her lover, Michael Gregson. Because Michael had disappeared and she was still unmarried, she considered first having an abortion then later having the child adopted. By Summer 1923, Gregson still had not been found, and she had given birth to a daughter, Marigold, whom she left in Genéva with a couple named Schroeder. But Edith decided to take Marigold back and have her grow up on a local farm under the guardianship of tenant farmer Timothy Drewe. After Michael was reported dead in 1924, Edith attempted to flee with Marigold after her aunt and grandmother decided the child should be sent away when they had learned Edith brought her back. Cora soon learned of Marigold's existence and arranged a plan for Edith to raise Marigold as her foster-daughter in Downton Abbey. Robert later figured out the truth himself, but agreed per his wife's wishes to remain silent even to Edith and mentioned he believed he would love his new grandchild. However later that year he told Edith he knew the truth and assured her he still loved her. Tom also told Edith he had figured out the truth as well. Mary found out in 1925.

Mary announced to Henry that she was pregnant in December 1925, around the same time of her first pregnancy. She gave birth to a daughter, Caroline, a year later.

In 1927, Edith informed Bertie she was pregnant and would likely give birth in late March of 1928.

Family tree[]

First Earl of Grantham
(fl.1772 - 1789)

Countess of Grantham

1st Earl of Grantham's Sister
(fl.1772 - 1789)
2nd Earl of Grantham
Countess of Grantham
3rd Earl of Grantham
Countess of Grantham
4th Earl of Grantham
Countess of GranthamThe Hon. Mr Crawley
The Hon. Mrs Crawley
5th Earl of Grantham
Countess of GranthamMr Crawley
Mrs Crawley
The Hon. Mr Crawley
( 15 April 1912)

The Hon. Mrs Crawley
(d. bf 1912)

Patrick Crawley, 6th Earl of Grantham[5]

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Mr Crawley
Mrs Crawley
James Crawley
(d.15 April 1912)

Mrs Crawley
( 1912)

Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
(née Levinson; b.1868)

Robert Crawley, 7th Earl of Grantham

Rosamund Painswick
(née Crawley; b.1860 - 1874)

Marmaduke Painswick
( 1912)

Patrick Crawley
(d.15 April 1912)

Michael Gregson
(d.8 - 9 November 1923)

Edith Pelham, Marchioness of Hexham
(née Crawley; b.1892)

Herbert Pelham, 7th Marquess of HexhamSybil Branson
(née Crawley; b.1895 — d. 1920)

Tom Branson

Henry Talbot
Mary Talbot
(née Crawley; b.1891)
(b.December 1922/January 1923)

Sybbie Branson

Richard Grey, the Baron Merton
Isobel Grey, the Baroness Merton
(née Turnbull; b.1853 - 1862)

Reginald Crawley
(d.1909 - 1911)

Matthew Crawley
(b.1885 — d.September 1921)
George Crawley
(b.September 1921)

Off-screen relatives[]

There are several members of the Crawley family who have died or have not been seen. These people include:

  • Robert's father, Violet's husband who died between 1889 and 1900.
  • Anne, a "great-aunt" of Robert who, according to Edith, married a Gordon.
  • The father of James Crawley who was the the brother-in-law of Violet Crawley, the uncle of Robert and Rosamund and the grandfather of Patrick.
  • The mother of James Crawley
  • The sister of the First Earl of Grantham who lived in the Dower House when it was first built so that she could be close to her brother.
  • The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Earls of Grantham; the 3rd nearly went bankrupt and the fourth "only saved Downton by dying".
  • Robert's Great-Grandmother who was the wife of the eldest son of the Third Earl; she owned Downton Place; the family inherited it from her on her marriage.
  • In 1914 Cora, Countess of Grantham, became pregnant with a son who, had he lived, would have become Viscount Downton on his birth and eventually followed Robert as the Earl of Grantham; it was not to be, however, as an act of spite by Sarah O'Brien (of which she repented, but not before the damage had been done) jeopardized the Countess' life and led to the death of the unborn heir.
  • Cousin Freddie, a cousin that Sybil mentions in 1913, may be a member of the Crawley family through his possible mother, Rosamund; however, it is more likely that Freddie is a son of Harold Levinson and is only included here because it is possible, if not confirmed, that he is a cousin through Rosamund.
  • Maud Bagshaw's father, who was Robert's great-uncle, and her husband, Lord David Bagshaw.


  • a This woman may not actually be a Crawley and may be Violet's sister, Roberta, as the dates fit with the battle of Lucknow in 1857 and the rough ages of Roberta and Violet.
  • The first Earl, along with every member of the Crawley family - which includes every Earl of Grantham, their siblings, wives and descendants - excluding Tom Branson who is Catholic[7] and his daughter, Sybbie[8] - are likely to be Protestant (Anglican, to be precise), most likely since the start of the English Reformation in 1532, but the there is no explicit mention of this.[9]

Origin and Etymology[]

  • Crawley is a large town and borough in West Sussex in Southern England.
    • This thus implies that the family originally was Sussex gentry or nobility and one of its sons moved north to Yorkshire upon being named Viscount of Downton (and subsequently Earl of Grantham).


  1. The Series 1 Press Pack confirms that Robert was known as "Viscount Downton" when he and Cora married.
  2. Violet - "Your late Papa, The Sixth Earl" (Episode 6.06)
  3. Episode 5.01 stated 34 years of marriage. 34 years prior to 1924 is 1890
  4. According to Violet in the Downton Abbey she "lived here [at Downton] for forty years". Since she married in 1860, as she herself confirms to Rose in the Season Three Christmas Special - it was the year of her first Gillies Ball as a bride - this would mean her husband died in 1900 and her father-in-law died in 1870 as Violet says "I didn't run Downton for thirty years to see it go, lock, stock and barrel to a stranger from god knows where!" to Cora (1X01)
  5. Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey: The Unofficial Guide to Seasons One and Two: BookCaps Study Guide
  6. According to Violet in the Downton Abbey she "lived here [at Downton] for forty years". Since she married in 1860, as she herself confirms to Rose in the Season Three Christmas Special - it was the year of her first Gillies Ball as a bride - this would mean her husband died in 1900 and her father-in-law died in 1870 as Violet says "I didn't run Downton for thirty years to see it go, lock, stock and barrel to a stranger from god knows where!" to Cora (1X01)
  7. The actor confirms it here:
  8. Tom Branson explicitly states that "Sybil will be Catholic" - and it's not Travis, baptizing her, but a Catholic preist, so she's Catholic too.
  9. Julian Fellowes, the show's creator does say that there is an anti-Catholic leaning to the the Crawleys. The Telegraph, Downton Abbey's anti-Catholic plot by Tim Walker, 7:29AM BST 22 Oct 2012

See also[]