Tour Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess’s ‘Cottage’: Byfleet Manor in Surrey

Jan 30, 2020

While the grand salon, library and dining room of Downton Abbey‘s Highclere Castle are indeed grand, I will admit, I was always drawn throughout the six seasons of the drama, to the home that Dame Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess lived in: her ‘cottage’ as she would call it. But it was not so much as cottage, but rather a grand mansion all on its own.

In 2015, the 6,000 sq ft. 17th century mansion with eight bedrooms, four reception rooms and 18 acres of land went on sale and shortly thereafter sold for nearly two million pounds more than the asking price for a total of nearly six million pounds. Having at the time been owned for 10 years and purchased at the time for one million pounds, with the fame of Downton Abbey and before that Poirot, this Surrey-located historic home is a British architectural media treasure in its own right now.

I was curious to find out more about the estate and learned that it once belonged to royalty and even passed through the hands of King Edward I and Henry VIII. The Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I, was its last royal owner. But the land upon which the 17th century abode was built was used by Henry III and King Edward I and II.

One detail that I was not aware of was the opening from the dining room onto a terrace and the copper soaking tub, well, immediately made me fall in love with the home even more.

From wallpaper to luscious curtains to subtle yet regal color-themed rooms, so much English decor inspiration abounds through each room.

Key Decor Takeaways:

  • Don’t forget the ceiling: Check out the ceiling in the kitchen. I had no idea this decor detail exist while watching the show.
  • Don’t be shy when it comes to hanging chandeliers.
  • Add a touch of personality to each room no matter how ‘proper’ or regal. Be sure to check out the bright green landline phone in the salon.
  • Upholster the lampshades. Yep, it’s an English decor go-to and it worth trying to add warmth and character to a space without a large expense.

And now to tour the home.

~View more British Inspired Decor Inspired posts in TSLL’s Archives

Images via Lonny



2 thoughts on “Tour Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess’s ‘Cottage’: Byfleet Manor in Surrey

  1. Such timing you always have! I, late to the game, am almost finished with the Downton Abbey television series. I was caught up in Versailles, The Tudors, Outlander, The Crown and even Reign (which actually made me fall in love with Mary Queen of Scot.) So, I finally turned to Downton Abbey a month or so ago and am almoooost finished.

    Interesting about these shows, this one in particular. They have all deepened my love and curiosity for history, my own roots, and a better way of living. A reminder that we all come from someplace else.

    Downton Abbey reminds me to watch how I walk and talk and sit, etc. There are so many common courtesies and manners that have been lost over time. Sometimes we just need a reminder that manners make the “other person” feel at ease. As Emily Post says, ‘manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.’ Here is a post your readers might be interested in: https://emilypost.com/advice/qa-the-manners-of-downton-abbey-then-and-now/

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