Downton Abbey Wiki

Violet: "Are you a student of architecture?"
Duke of Crowborough: "Mm, absolutely."
Violet: "Then I do hope you'll come and inspect my little cottage. It was designed by Wren for the first Earl's sister."
— The Duke of Crowborough and the Dowager Countess of Grantham over dinner in 1912.[src]

The Dower House is a mansion located in Downton, Yorkshire. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren before February 25, 1723, with the original purpose of being a home to the sister of the first Earl of Grantham. While designed before February 25, 1723, it was not built until after 1772[1].

By the early twentieth century, it was home to Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Violet's mother-in-law did not live in The Dower House and instead resided in Crawley House. This is very unusual, as widows - excluding the First Earl's sister, for whom the house was built - normally reside in The Dower House.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Dower House is the private residence, Byfleet Manor near Byfleet, Surrey for the exterior and the drawing room.[2]
  • According to Donal Woods, production designer, Byfleet Manor was selected because "We wanted to deliberately pull Violet back into that Georgian world."[citation needed]
  • In May 2015, Byfleet Manor was put up for sale at the price of £3.95 million by Savills, [3] but eventually sold for nearly £6 million in September 2015.[4]




  1. It was designed in 1723 by Sir Christopher Wren. He died on February 25, 1723, so it could not have been designed any later than that date. Given that the first Earl became earl in 1772, it was built after that date.
  2. Get the Downton Abbey look, Rebecca Younger, Get Hampshire, 28th August, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Byfleet | Surrey, KT14 7RS | Property for sale
  4. Downton Abbey's spectacular Byfleet Manor sold for nearly £6m By Beth Duffell 13:56, 23 Sep 2015; Updated 18:17, 23 Sep 2015

See also[]