Lady Violet’s Downton Abbey mansion sells for £6m

The house was bought for �1 million ten years ago by businesswoman Julie Hutton, and used for Downton-themed events. Picture: Savills/SWNS
The house was bought for �1 million ten years ago by businesswoman Julie Hutton, and used for Downton-themed events. Picture: Savills/SWNS
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The stunning home lived in by Lady Violet Crawley in the television show Downton Abbey has been sold for £6 million as the final series begins.

Byfleet Manor is a unique estate that pre-dates the Domesday Book and has been home to numerous members of royalty over the years.

But to many it is Dower House, home to Lady Violet Crawley, the acid-tongued dowager played by Dame Maggie Smith.

For five years, Dame Maggie and the cast of the hit ITV show Downton Abbey have been filming at the stunning 17th-century mansion near Byfleet, Surrey.

The 6,000sq ft home was put on to the market recently for £3.95 million.

The house was offered alongside a number of separate lots and it was revealed yesterday that the estate has now sold for a total of £5.95 million.

Simon Ashwell, head of Savills in Weybridge, said: “We received interest from a very wide spectrum of potential buyers, from people who knew the house locally, London buyers in search of an iconic country pad in easy reach of the city and international house-hunters too, looking for a UK base.

“Houses like this are rare to the market so it wasn’t surprising that Byfleet Manor went under offer within 12 weeks of coming to the market.

“We’re thrilled the buyer has purchased all five lots, rather than the main house being separated from the remainder of this historic estate, which has connections to the Domesday Book as well as Downton Abbey.

“As Downton Abbey draws to end with the start of the final series, so begins a new chapter for the house that famously starred in the hit TV show.”

Savills confirmed the buyer is British. Byfleet Manor’s sale represents a bumper profit for Julie Hutton, who bought the home around ten years ago for £1 million.

The businesswoman renovated the grand property while holding weddings and Downton-related events on the picturesque estate.

It has also been used for a number of other period dramas including Poirot and Cranford.

The house has eight bedrooms, four reception rooms and 18 acres of land along with stunning period features.

The estate’s history stretches back as far as the 7th century and is first recorded in 1086 in the Domesday Book when reference is made to Byfleet having a Manor.

While fictionally known for its aristocratic connections in Downton Abbey, by 1307 the Manor of Byfleet, then a Royal hunting lodge, was owned by the Crown.

It would remain in royal hands for more than 300 years during which time several royals lived at, gifted, destroyed and rebuilt the house. King Edward I and II are noted to have stayed frequently at Byfleet.

Edward III then gifted it to his mother Isabella as part of her dower.

The Black Prince bred his horses on the estate while Henry VIII is said to have spent stints of his childhood at Byfleet.

He subsequently granted it to Katherine of Aragon in her divorce and Queen Elizabeth I visited in 1576.

The last royal owner was the Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I.

Byfleet Manor, as it stands today, was built in around 1686 although many details from an earlier palace were incorporated, including a heavy timber staircase and several fireplaces. In 2013 a secret room was discovered.

The final series of Downton Abbey began last night with a 90-minute episode featuring talk of a wedding, intrigue, and uncertainty over the future of the estate.