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Your grandaddy is a bit of a bully.
Mrs Hughes to Baby Charlie[src]

Horace Bryant[1] is the father of Major Bryant.



Little is known about his background, but he appears to be a very wealthy and powerful man.

Series 2[]

He wrote to the Countess of Grantham in 1918, telling her that his son had been killed in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, as the Major had stayed at Downton Abbey while it was being used as a convalescent home. When the Bryants arrange to visit Downton, Mrs Hughes goes to former maid Ethel Parks with this knowledge because Ethel had an affair with the officer while he was at Downton. She became pregnant by him and bore his son, Charlie, but the major refused to acknowledge his own son. Mrs Hughes tells Ethel to write them a letter that she can discretely give to them.

Later, when he and his wife, Daphne, stop for luncheon at Downton Abbey on their way to Maryport. While eating, Ethel bursts in with her son to inform him and his wife that their late son is the boy's father. While Mrs Bryant is more receptive, Mr Bryant demands proof and when Ethel is unable to do so, he demands she leave at once. He is visibly angry, even openly accusing her of falsifying her child's paternity (because Major Bryant was an only child) in an attempt to raise her own social standing.

Later Mrs Bryant writes to Mrs Hughes to arrange a meeting between the Bryants and Ethel. The Bryants have accepted that Charlie is their grandson and Mr Bryant offers to raise him as his heir since Major Bryant was an only child. He would educate Charlie at Harrow and Oxford. He would tell Charlie that his parents married during the war and his mother died from Spanish flu. Ethel offers to be Charlie's nurse and never tell him that she is his mother and Mrs. Bryant is open to the idea, but Mr Bryant rejects it calling Ethel "a drudge" and that she will not be able to keep her secret. Mr Bryant offers Ethel time to consider his offer and he and his wife leave. Later Ethel comes to Mrs Hughes to inform her that she is keeping her son.

Season 3[]

Uktv downton abbey s03 e04 11

Mr Bryant with his grandson

By 1920, Ethel has fallen on hard times and ultimately decides for the sake of her son's happiness to let Mr and Mrs Bryant take him back with them. Mr. Bryant reveals at Crawley House that he had her followed, knowing how far she had fallen and that he could give her a list of her clients. To why he did this, he told her he wanted to keep an eye on his grandson, to whom he immediately becomes affectionate and loving, presenting him with a present of a stuffed animal. To Ethel he says he certainly does not wish her ill. He offers to give her money so that she doesn't have to continue making money the way she has been and so Charlie will not be exposed to it. However, he follows this by snidely commenting that this is assuming that she wants to stop, implying that she enjoys her work. Ethel admits to him that she does not think he is a nice or kind man, but she believes he loves her boy. Charlie is next to his grandfather when he waves goodbye to his mother. Ethel is working for Isobel Crawley, when Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham places an ad in the paper to find her another job. The only response that Ethel finds appealing is the one from a Mrs Watson from somewhere near Cheadle, because they live near the Bryants, and Ethel hopes to be able to see Charlie. Violet invites Mrs Bryant to tea, to learn if the Bryants will object to this. Mrs. Bryant tells Ethel to take the job. As for Mr Bryant, she tells them to just leave him for her to deal with in regards to this.


In words of Mrs. Hughes, Horace is a "bit of a bully". During his first appearance, he acts very cold, cruel and mad, dismissing the staff's politeness considerating it as a waste of time and pointless. He is seen very angry with Ethel claiming his son, Charles, had a son with the former maid and claimes she falsified her child's paternity because of his money and position. However, his wife said that this was nothing more than is way to avoid the pain he feels of losing his only child and that he is terrified of his own grief.

After a while, he and his wife accepted Charlie and recognized him as their grandson and is seen willing to raise him and take care of his education as their only heir. When visits Ethel and is with the boy, Horace shows a more kind, paternal and soft side, greatly enjoying his time together. He also becomes slightly more polite with Ethel, and while he did not wish good luck for her (due to being aware of her former life as a prostitute) he said that he does not wish bad luck for her.


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

Behind the scenes[]


  • It's implied on one of dialogues that he and his son Charles may have had a strained relationship, or at least distant, with Horace claiming his son would've never shirked his responsability as a father and would've told he and his wife Daphne about the child, however, this ended up being wrong since Mayor Bryant didn't visit Ethel or saw his child, proving that he wasn't fully aware of the behavior of Mayor Bryant.