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Downton Abbey: A Brief Introduction to the Characters

March 1, 2013

As you will have noticed, the crowd grows each season in the signature Downton Abbey poster image. A deck of flash cards might come in handy—perhaps you'll want to get your scissors, markers and tape out and create a set using this blog post. After all, there are approximately 166 to 167 hours between each new episode. You might as well be productive in your spare time.

Spoiler alert: Characters added each season do give away some plot details. Proceed with caution. Season 3 characters will be added as they appear.

Guest blog author: Amie Simon

{The Crawleys}
Robert Crawley, the 6th Earl of Grantham (aka Lord Grantham): The proud patriarch of Downton.
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (aka Lady Grantham): His lovely American-born wife.
Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Robert’s mother, set in her ways and allergic to change of all kinds.
Lady Mary: The beautiful, yet icy, eldest daughter of Robert & Cora.
Lady Edith: The plain, middle daughter. Described by her own mother as “less advantageous” than Mary.
Lady Sybil: The headstrong youngest daughter, determined to have her own ideas heard.
Matthew Crawley: Robert’s 3rd cousin, twice removed, and the reluctant heir to Downton.
Isobel Crawley: Mathew’s mother, somewhat less reluctant to him being Downton’s new heir, as it provides her advantages as well.
Lady Rosamund Painswick: Robert’s sister, who steps in to offer practical advice whether or not she’s asked for it.

{The Staff}
Mr. Carson: Head butler in charge of the male staff of Downton.
Mrs. Hughes: Head housekeeper in charge of the female staff of Downton.
Mr. Bates: old military friend of Robert’s, and newly appointed valet to his Lordship.
Sarah O’Brien: Lady Grantham’s personal maid—always unpleasant, and frequently scheming.
Anna Smith: Head housemaid, and personal maid to Mary, Edith, and Sybil.
Gwen Dawson: Housemaid, striving to leave service and elevate her position as a secretary.
Thomas Barrow: First footman, equally as unpleasant as O’Brien, and her chief scheming partner.
William Mason: Second footman with a kind heart and an eye for the young kitchen maid, Daisy.
Tom Branson: The family chauffer, and Irish nationalist rallying against class division.
Mrs. Patmore: Head cook in charge of the kitchen staff.
Daisy Robinson: Scullery maid, desperately in love with Thomas.
Joseph Moseley: Matthew’s valet at Crawley House, appointed by Lord Grantham.
Mrs. Bird: Matthew & Isobel’s cook at Crawley House.
Ethel Parks: Gwen’s replacement as a household maid, she has a slight problem with authority. [Season 2]
Jane Moorsum: A new maid at Downton, and possible home-wrecker! [Season 2]
Henry Lang: Lord Grantham’s temporary valet while Bates is away. [Season 2]

{Recurring Characters that orbit the Abbey}
Dr. Richard Clarkson: The Crawley family doctor; he also runs the small country hospital
Anthony Strallan: A widower who originally courts Lady Mary, but eventually becomes fond of Lady Edith
Vera Bates: Mr. Bates’ cruel, manipulative, estranged wife [Season 2]
Sir Richard Carlisle: Powerful newspaper magnet (new money!) and Lady Mary’s fiancé [Season 2]
Lavinia Catherine Swire: Matthew’s sweet, naïve fiancée [Season 2]
Patrick Gordon: A Major in the Canadian Infantry who suffered severe facial burns—and who may be related to the Crawleys [Season 2]