The ‘Downton Abbey’ characters we’ll never forget

Downton Abbey’s success was probably a bit of a surprise to some, especially when it first burst onto the scene.

Not many would have predicted it to reach so many countries, that’s for sure. Even an American comedy sketch show has covered it. It’s one of the biggest and best period dramas ever made.

Not everyone warmed to Downton Abbey, of course. It is an acquired taste, really. The thing is, though, the rest of us feel can’t beat settling down after dinner and soaking in the latest drama on the Abbey over a glass of wine, can you? Still, alternative entertainment options are understandable, be it reading a book or playing rock paper scissors online, but they’re limited. Downton has an abundance of intriguing storylines, brilliant acting, and it can keep you entertained for hours on end. We’re obviously biased though, aren’t we?

With Downton Abbey being graced with so many memorable characters since its inception in 2010, we thought we’d go through some of them. There have certainly been plenty! Anyway, here’s just a few you’ll undoubtedly remember.


Matthew Crawley

The main saga in Downton Abbey begins with lawyer Matthew Crawley, when he is suddenly propelled up the ranks and made the heir to the Downton Estate. His relationship with Mary was particularly interesting, especially when love blossomed.

Sadly, though, following his service to the country in 1918, Matthew ended up being badly injured in battle and paralysed from the waist down. Lavinia Swire then entered onto the scene, only for her to tragically die of Spanish flu. Matthew then ends up marrying Mary, having a son called George, only for it all to come crashing down when he dies in a horrific car accident. Poor old Matthew.


John Bates

A soft-spoken likeable valet, John Bates was married to Anna Bates. He originally burst onto the scene after landing a job at Downton after heroically saving Robert’s life while they were both serving in the Second Boer War. John Bates was generally one to avoid trouble and largely kept himself to himself, apart from one memorable moment when he and his wife Anna came up with a plan to regain control of Downton. Who could blame them too, right?


Beryl Patmore

A funny, likeable character in the show, cook Beryl Patmore runs the kitchen and was known – alongside her witty personality – as being incredibly strict. She cares far too much for people to let standards drop, especially the people she knows well. Never afraid to speak her mind and tell someone exactly what it is they needed to hear, Beryl Patmore was also a mother figure to her assistant Daisy. Word of advice to royal staff; don’t invade Beryl Patmore’s kitchen though, will you?


Maud Bagshaw

Where do we even begin with Maud Bagshaw? A baroness who serves the queen and the cousin of Violet’s late husband (although they didn’t see eye to eye), Maud Bagshaw was a gutsy, stubborn lady who certainly pulled no punches. For that reason alone, she’s hard to forget.


Violet Crawley


Played by the legendary Maggie Smith, Violet Crawley is Robert’s mother and is the senior, authoritative member of the Crawley family. After her health starts failing her, Violet Crawley sets out to tie up any loose ends – and she definitely had a fair few of them! Her quarrel with Maud didn’t paint her in the best of lights, but Violet Crawley is one of the biggest characters on the show, especially when she’s on good form being her usual witty self