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Mary: "You won't be any the wiser, but his name is Evelyn Napier."
Edith: "The Honourable Evelyn Napier, son and heir to Viscount Branksome."
Mary: "Who wants an old sea monster when they can have Perseus?"
Mary and Edith telling Sybil about Evelyn[src]

Evelyn Napier is the son and heir of Viscount Branksome. A modest person and a keen hunter, he is friend of the Crawley family and occasionally visits Downton.



Cora tells Mary that Evelyn's mother was a dear friend of hers, although Cora was unaware that she had died a year earlier.


After Lady Mary Crawley's fiance Patrick has died and she deems no interest in the new heir, Lady Grantham, learning that Napier has written to Mary and is staying nearby with friends, tells her to invite him to Downton. She later discusses him with Lord Grantham and his mother, Dowager Countess Violet Crawley. They all agree that Evelyn Napier is considered a good match for her, and that the Napiers are wealthy. Mary is to write and invite him to Downton Abbey for a hunt, and Mary is to ride out with him. Evelyn asks the Crawleys if he may invite Kemal Pamuk, his friend from the Turkish embassy to join him, as he is interested in seeing an English fox hunt.

Initially he had been asked to take on the task of squiring Turkish diplomat Kemal Pamuk in English society as a duty, but Evelyn found that he liked him more and more, the longer he knew him. Evelyn is very fond of Mary, but he is overshadowed in his pursuit of her attention by the handsome and charming Pamuk, who monopolizes her attention. The next morning Kemal is found dead in his bed and Napier is greatly saddened by his friend's death.

As for Mary, he realizes that she finds him boring and, therefore, decides not to pursue her romantically any further. He joins Lady Grantham as she is walking on the estate grounds and tells her that while he does not consider himself a very interesting person, he feels that his future wife should think him so.

Rosamund later mentioned in a letter to Lord Grantham that Evelyn is intending to marry one of the Semphill girls, but he informs Mary he has recently ended his engagement when he visits her in London.


Lady Mary and Evelyn Napier.

Evelyn is the first person to alert Mary of a rumor circulating about her and Pamuk. He feels somewhat responsible for Mary's social problems, because he had brought Pamuk to Downton, and the scandal would not have happened, otherwise. To make up for this debt he believed he owed, he called in favors and found out that the source of these rumors are from her sister Edith, who had written a letter to the Turkish ambassador.

Mary later mentions receiving a letter from Evelyn that he was injured fighting in the First World War and requesting that he be brought from Middlesbrough to Downton Abbey to recover.


Evelyn returns to Downton in 1922, following the Great War. Mary is happy to see him again after the death of her husband, Matthew Crawley. He tells her he is working on a government project regarding the rural economy, part of which involves assessing estates' survival following the War, to assess which ones are beyond recovery and will need to 'sell up.' Napier assures Mary, Robert, and Cora that Downton is not one of those in danger, however, yet insists that many other estates are not so fortunate. But Mary still would like his and his colleagues' opinions on their management. The family insists he stay there while working, rather than a hotel in Ripon he was considering. Although hesitant at first, Evelyn accepts the invitation. Edith is the first to wonder if he is still in pursuit of Mary after his arrival before the War with Pamuk.

He returns to Downton shortly afterward, accompanied by his boss, Charles Blake. Mary expresses hopes that they are primarily there to advise the estate on how to endure. However, Blake replies "not quite" as they are in fact only concerned with drafting a report about their effect on the overall economy. Mary and Blake begin to exchange nasty remarks. She later remarks to Napier, "You seem to have brought a traitor into our midst."

Napier however insists Blake is not a traitor to either the nobility or the aristocracy.  Blake also makes some disrespectful remarks about Mary and her heritage, which visibly upsets Evelyn, who insists Lady Mary dislikes him equally. Later, when Blake's feelings for Mary begin to change and Lord Gillingham arrives, Evelyn notes the increased competition for her affections. Evelyn is mentioned by Mary as being in France in 1923, working for the government.


Evelyn is a modest and kind person, as well has having keen insight in most situations, particularly in his pursuit of Mary's affection. For example, when Mary prefers Pamuk to him, he seems rather disappointed, but ultimately accepts the situation, and still looks out for her well-being. Several years later, when visiting the Crawleys again, he makes a remark about how Mary's rapprochement with Mr. Blake after rescuing the pigs has "increased the competition," yet again, he accepts his lot with grace (although he does show a bit of a sulk on occasion). Ultimately he consistently proves himself a loyal friend, to Mary and to his rivals.


Mary Crawley[]

Evelyn loves Mary, having pursued her in 1912 and then again in 1922.

Kemal Pamuk[]

Evelyn grows to like Kemal after they spend time together, but is upset when Kemal steals Mary's attention.

Charles Blake[]

Charles is Evelyn's boss and they get along well, but a wedge is driven between them over their opinions of Mary.


Appearances and Mentions
Series 1 Episode 1 Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4 Episode 5
Episode 6 Episode 7
Series 2 Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3
Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Christmas Special
Series 4 Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Christmas Special
Series 6 Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7 Episode 8 Christmas Special

Behind the scenes[]

Evelyn Napier is a character I like; he pops up in two or three episodes, mainly being decent and good, but never showy. Brendan Patricks plays him with diffidence and skill, and I find him very beguiling. I am not sure we’ve seen the last of him, actually - Julian Fellowes[citation needed]