This is the page for Sybil "Sybbie" Branson, the daughter of Tom Branson and Lady Sybil. For her mother, see Sybil Branson.

"She seems quite a tough little thing."
—Sybil's great-grandmother describes her to Dr Clarkson.[src]
Sybil "Sybbie" Branson (b. Between April and August 1920)[1] is the daughter and only child of Tom Branson and his late wife, Sybil, for whom she is named. She is the eldest grandchild of Robert and Cora Crawley, and therefore the eldest great-grandchild of Martha Levinson and Violet Crawley. Sybbie has two aunts, Mary Talbot and Edith Pelham, and four uncles: the late Matthew Crawley, Kieran Branson, Henry Talbot, and Herbert Pelham. George Crawley, Marigold, and Caroline Talbot are her cousins.



Sybil was named by her father after her mother, who died from eclampsia shortly after her birth (her family heard her voice shortly after her mother died). Her father felt that it was right, even though painful, stating he wanted to remember her mother whenever he looked at her. He later remarked she was all he had left of her mother, and would not be separated from her, when Matthew suggested leaving her with them if Tom moved in to Liverpool to work with his brother. Her family started affectionately calling her Sybbie.

She was born small for her age, which is a common complication in children born of mothers with pre-eclampsia.[2]

A dispute erupted between Tom and Robert over her christening. Tom asserted that his daughter was Irish, and should be "Catholic, like her father". Robert insisted he felt it would not help her to be baptised into a church other than the Church of England, though he was more motivated by his own traditions (as there had not been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation) and a desire to have a greater influence over her upbringing. He also insisted the only chance Sybbie would have at achieving anything in life was due to her mother's blood, and that it was "ghoulish" to name her after her mother. Mary disagreed with him in all these claims, reminding him Sybbie was a Branson, not a Crawley.

The dispute ended after Mary revealed that before her death, Sybil told her she had no objection to her child being Catholic. Robert still protested, but Cora silenced him. Even though he no longer fought it, he still remained opposed. 

Tom named Mary and his brother Kieran as Sybbie's godparents. She was christened at Ripon's Catholic church by Father Dominic, the service attended by her father, paternal uncle, and maternal family.

Following the Christening, a family portrait was taken of the entire family, with Tom holding his daughter. Robert and Violet were uncomfortable when the photographer suggested Father Dominic join them with Sybbie for a photograph of just them.

Tom had initially decided to move in with his brother Kieran at Liverpool and work in his car repair business. They would live in an apartment above the garage. Kieran said there was a bit of a park nearby. It is this dinner which prompts Violet to suggest that Tom to be named the new estate manager (Downton's agent, Jarvis, had resigned earlier that same day). She insists to Robert that he cannot want his granddaughter to grow up in a garage with Kieran, whom she calls "that drunken gorilla".

When her father did replace Jarvis, she was to have moved with him and her nanny into the Agent's House. Cora expressed concern about this, thinking it would be lonely for her, because she felt "children are happier in families." But her father felt it was best for both of them. However, after seeing her surrounded by his in-laws at the cricket match, Tom decided he and she would live at Downton until she was older. When he told this to Cora, she felt it is what Sybbie's mother would want.

2012 Christmas SpecialEdit

In September 1921, she was seen in the arms of her father, watching and pointing while the staff packed up bags for the family's trip to Duneagle Castle in Scotland. Her father, who did not go with the rest of the family, continued to spend time with her.

She was later comforted by Carson while crying as the rest of the staff had gone to the Thirsk fair. He then takes her back to bed, after Mrs Hughes admires him for comforting her. He and Mrs Hughes talk of Sybil's late mother. Carson remarks he was thinking of her when she was her daughter's present age, while Mrs Hughes remarks that they must care for her "bairn".


Sybbie and her cousin George have a governess, Nanny West, who favours George and is fired after Lady Grantham overhears her blaming Sybbie for waking up George and calling her "that chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little cross-breed" (it is also possible Nanny West was deliberately not feeding Sybbie properly as hinted by her conversation with Barrow). A new nanny later comes in.

Tom continues adoring Sybbie and delights in playing with her in the nursery. There is one scene where Tom is playing with Sybil and they have to get all the animals under the shelter because there is a hurricane coming. Her aunt, cuddling her cousin, is surprised of a hurricane in England. Tom says the hurricane is coming and helps Sybbie knock down the buildings, in which she utters her first line on the show: "Uh-oh."

After her father escapes the evil schemes of Edna Braithwaite, he starts to consider a new future for himself and her, even if it means moving away from Downton, perhaps to America, where he thinks they could both have a new start. He feels it would be better for her to have a "clean slate" rather than grow up where she would be constantly reminded that she is "the daughter of an uppity chauffeur".

Robert, like Mary, does not wish for him to go, but it seems Robert's primary motive is Sybbie (he insists it would be too much to bear for him to lose Sybil's child), as he still appears to want her to grow up at Downton so that he can have a role in her upbringing. But he nevertheless shows genuine affection for her, saying that she'd always have a home at Downton where she would be loved, and that George would be like her brother by the time they were grown. Cora too does not wish for Tom and Sybbie to go, but she understands and defends Tom, noting he cannot be blamed for wanting the best for his daughter.[3]

Isobel comes up one evening with Mary and Tom into the nursery. When Mary asks her what she would like the children to call her, she decides that Sybbie could refer to her as Aunt Isobel, and her cousin George could refer to her as "Grandmama". Sybbbie appears with George and their new nanny to come visit the family in the drawing room before dinner. She is calm and quiet but her cousin George starts crying, making the Countess uncomfortable enough to leave and Mr Blake to comfort him. When the Downton bazaar is held, she is with her father again, and he introduces her to Sarah Bunting, a woman he met at a political rally.


Sybbie, by now a charming little girl of four years, calls her grandfather "Donk", from the game pin the tail on the donkey, much to the amusement of the rest of the family. Robert however wishes she could call him Grandpapa, which he thinks is more dignified, but he seemed to be stuck with Donk, however he later not only gets used to it, but he embraces the nickname. Whenever she comes in the library for tea, or goes on a walk with her father, Tom, she is usually seen with her favorite stuffed animal, her bunny. When a fire breaks out upstairs, Tom carries Sybbie and George to safety. She and George later accompany the family to an outing where her grandfather holds her up and shares with her a pair of binoculars as they watch Mary in a horse race.

Tom takes Sybbie to a bridge where they play a game with sticks, watching them come out from the other side of the stream (Pooh Sticks [4]). Tom asks her to make a wish, and asks her what she would think if they left Downton and lived somewhere far away (referring to his considering moving to America). She asks "Why?" to which he replies it might be better for them to start a new life there. She asks "Why?" again, and he tells her before they head back to the house, he hopes to God he is doing the right thing. When Robert's dog, Isis, is dying of cancer, she kneels beside her to pet her and comfort her.

Sybbie, while playing a board game with Robert, says "No!" when he tells her she has to go back because of where she landed. Mary tells him to let her stay where she is. Robert remarks that it would not do her good later in life if they did not teach her how to lose. Mary tells Sybbie, whom she calls "darling" (a throwback to the endearment she had for her sister, Sybbie's mother, Sybil) to cry and "make Donk" feel guilty. Cora remarks on this scene that Robert is forming a close bond with his granddaughter when he asks what his father would say of him playing with her. She is later outside with George and Marigold (who is now living with them in the Downton nursery) when the family head to London for Rose's marriage. She is playing with one of the nannies, jumping up and down happily.

Tom officially decides to leave Downton for Massachusetts with Sybbie after Christmas. She helps her cousins, father, and aunts decorate the Christmas tree, thanking new footman Andrew for decorations and telling her father how beautiful the tree is when lit. The family are saddened Tom and Sybbie will be leaving, including Robert. Though Cora assures Robert there is no point in trying to persuade him to let Sybbie stay at Downton, Robert still asks him if he would consider leaving her until he had settled in, but Tom says no. But he does acknowledge how much he loves Sybbie. Later, Robert is holding her and asking what Marigold should call him. Sybbie playfully says "Donk!" and Robert gives in happily. He tells Sybbie every time Marigold calls him Donk, he will be reminded of her, and gives her a kiss. Tom congratulates Sybbie on her "victory" and she smiles. Sybbie is later holding her Aunt Edith's hand as Robert publicly wishes her and her father the best in their new life together in America.


Sybbie and her father return to Downton at the wedding of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes as Tom realized that Boston would never be home to him, but Downton is. Tom surprises everyone when he toasts the beloved senior servants. She is greeted warmly by her grandparents, especially Robert who asks her to "Give ol' Donk a kiss!" She is then taken by her grandmother, Cora, who is so happy she is back, as she sees Sybbie as her most tangible link to her youngest daughter, Sybil. She is also welcomed back with a hug from her cousin, George, who greets her happily, "Sybbie!" Marigold, her youngest cousin, also greets her happily. Everyone in the family, both above and below stairs, are happy that Tom and Sybbie have returned to Downton where they belong. Sybbie is again back in the nursery with her cousins. She, along with her cousin, Marigold, would serve as flower girls for her aunt Edith's wedding to Bertie Pelham. She is also seen talking with Marigold's new step-grandmother, Mirada Pelham. She and George would stay at Downton and grow up in the nursery, while Marigold would move in with her mother and new stepfather (and a new nanny for her) to his estate, Brancaster Castle.

Personality Edit

Although Sybil is very young, she does have a few characteristics that have shown throughout her appearances. In Series 3, Sybil seems to be a relatively calm baby, smiling and cooing when her Aunt Mary and Uncle Matthew come to see her and her father. She seems to enjoy the company of others, especially when her aunt cradles her during the annual cricket match and when she immediately stops crying after Carson picks her up. She also shows signs of curiosity when she points at the servants while they pack for Scotland. Series 4 has Sybil at two-years old and still seems relatively quiet (except in the presence of Nanny West without other adults around; then she won't stop crying), and a bit shy. In Series 5, as she has grown more; she talks more as well, proving herself to be very cheerful, playful, energetic, precocious, curious, and polite.

Quotes Edit

Series 5 Edit

"Goodbye, donk."
—Sybbie to her maternal grandfather, Robert Crawley[src]
"It's beautiful, Daddy!"
—Sybbie to Tom Branson about the Christmas Tree[src]

Series 6 Edit

"Is Granny Violet a red Indian?"
—Sybbie to her maternal grandparents[src]
George: "No! I'm working!"
Sybbie: "Me, too!"
George Crawley to his stepfather and Sybbie to her father while working in the agent's shop[src]


  • A newborn Sybbie; minutes after her birth in late May, 1920.
  • Newborn Sybbie with her mother and father.
  • Tom holding baby Sybbie after her mother's sudden death.
  • Tom again holding baby Sybbie not long after Sybil's death.
  • Mary and Matthew bonding with their niece
  • Sybbie's late mother and her namesake, Lady Sybil Crawley Branson
  • The family with baby Sybbie after her christening as a Catholic.
  • A nervous Robert and Violet with the priest who christened Sybbie.
  • Baby Sybbie (age 1) with her father, Tom, holding her.
  • Tom Spending time with Sybbie in the dining room.
  • Sybbie (age 1) with Mr Carson.
  • Sybbie being comforted by Mr. Carson after she woke up crying.
  • One-year-old Sybbie in the library with Mr. Carson.
  • Baby Sybbie in Carson's arms.
  • Sybbie with her father, her aunt Mary, and her six-month-old first cousin George.
  • Sybbie age 2 with her father.
  • Sybbie Patricia Branson, age 2.
  • Tom playing with two-year-old Sybbie in the nursery.
  • Sybbie with her father, aunt, and cousin George in the nursery.
  • Sybbie (age 4) with her father
  • A compassionate Sybbie (age 4) and Robert comforting Isis as she is slowly dying of cancer.


  • Sybbie is the first grandchild of Robert and Cora who has had one parent die shortly after her birth; the second was her cousin George. Her late mother, after whom she is named, had tragically died from eclampsia.
  • So far, Sybbie is the only one of her generation in the Crawley family born inside Downton Abbey, George having been born in the village's hospital and Marigold in Geneva, Switzerland. It is unknown if Caroline was born in Downton Abbey or in the village hospital.
  • She is one of the three Downton grandchildren who speak more often in the show.
  • Since Sybbie was named after her mother, it is possible she shares the same middle name as her mother, which was identified as Cora, but this has never been confirmed. One of those sources is on her mother's grave, shown in series 3, whereby it says, "in memory of Lady Sybil Cora Crawley, daughter of the 5th Earl of Grantham."
  • Sybil is addressed as "Miss", as she is unmarried and her father has no title.
    • Previous incorrect note: Although Sybil's cousin is often referred to as "Master George" (as he is the heir to the earldom and the Downton estate), his correct title would be "Mister George Crawley".
    • "Master George Crawley" is his correct title as it is proper to refer to prepubescent boys as "Master" and not "Mister". "Mister" is the appropriate title for a man, not a young boy.
  • Her maternal grandmother, Cora, was the first in the family to call her "Sybbie". 
  • At one point in Series 5, her hair was black like her late mother's, but later changed to brown to match her father's hair color.  

Trivia Edit

  • Branson Son
    As seen by this picture, Radio Times incorrectly reported that the child was a boy.

Etymology Edit

Sybil and Sibyl are variations of given names deriving from the Greek term "sibyls", the oracular seeresses of the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean. Sybil was the Delphic Sybil, who prophesied in the shrine of the god Apollo at Delphi. Sybil as a girl's name is pronounced SIH-bul. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Sybil is "prophetess, oracle. Sybil has 12 variant forms: Sybill, Sibyl, Sibylla, Sybel, Sybella, Sybelle, Sybilla, Sybille, Sibell, and Sibilla, Cybil, and Cybill. The name "Cybele" (pronounced with three syllables as ˈsɪbɨliː) is not truly a variant, being instead a different name with a different meaning. Cybele was the Phrygian mother goddess whose cult spread throughout the ancient world; that name derives from a word meaning "mountain", and comes from a phrase meaning "mountain mother". [5]


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
Series 4 Episode 1
Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7 Episode 8
Christmas Special
Series 5 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
The film The film

References Edit

  1. From what is known in the Series, we can state that Sybil died at some-point within a six month period, between April and September 1920. In Episode 3.04, Robert says that "Tennessee is going to ratify the 19th Amendment." The ratifying of the aforementioned amendment happened on 18 August and Sybil has not yet given birth when Robert says this, implying she gives birth after 18 August 1920, as Robert's words are implying it is relatively near. In Episode 3.08, the local cricket game occurs: in the UK the Cricket Season of 1920 occurred between May and September, meaning Sybil cannot have given birth after September - this is backed up by the fact that the "grouse", for which the family goes to Duneagle, occurs in August, thus implying that Sybil's daughter was born and she herself died, in August 1920. As well as this, Sybil is pregnant before December of 1919, meaning that if she gave birth any later than August, she would be ten months pregnant, not nine.
    However, in the Season 1 scripts, Sybil is said to be 17 in April 1912 and Violet mentions that Sybil will be "presented to their Majesties in June after being arrested at a riot in May", implying that Sybil is 18 by June 1913, which means that, for Sybil to be 24, it cannot be after June of 1920 when she gives birth.
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine Preeclampsia
  3. Note: The associated scene appears in Episode 4.04 on PBS, but does not appear in Episode 4.05 as first broadcast on ITV.
  4. Pooh sticks
  5. Sybil name meaning from

External links Edit

  1. Introducing Fifi Hart at A & J Management
  2. Downton Abbey The Crawley Family at TV Tropes
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