Monday, 3 October 2011


Highclere Castle, Berkshire

Downton Abbey's set is haunted.

Lord and Lady Carnarvon
The ITV1 period drama is filmed at Highclere Castle, Berkshire, and Lady Carnarvon, the country pile's chatelaine, thinks there are spirits and ghosts living all over stunning property.
She told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "There are a few different ghosts here. We all know who they are. Some people see ghosts. Some don't. It doesn't matter.
"But a lot of people have lived here, and I think you can tell when something terribly upsetting has happened in a room."

However, it seems the ghosts are having a positive effect on the show, as its second series has proved hugely successful, with creator Julian Fellowes admitting he is stunned by the affection people have for the period drama.
Speaking about the show - which has now been sold to more than 100 countries, including America, Australia, Japan and Israel - Julian said: "I thought we'd made a good show and people would enjoy it, but it was extraordinary.
"We were playing to something like a third of the adult population. I mean, nobody could expect that level of success, except for Simon Cowell. It was completely mad."

Source: Evening Standard

Some Background History:

Highclere Castle The 1,000 acre estate with a park designed by Capability Brown. is in the English county of Hampshire, about a mile south of the border with Berkshire. It is the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon, a branch of the Anglo-Welsh Herbert family.

In 1692, Robert Sawyer, a lawyer and college friend of Samuel Pepys, bequeathed a mansion at Highclere to his only daughter, Margaret. Margaret was the first wife of the 8th Earl of Pembroke. Their second son, Robert Sawyer Herbert, inherited Highclere, began its picture collection and created the garden temples. His nephew and heir Henry Herbert was made Baron Porchester and 1st Earl of Carnarvon by King George III.

In those years, the house was a square, classical mansion, but it was remodelled and largely rebuilt for the third Earl by Sir Charles Barry in the years 1839 to 1842, after he had finished building the Houses of Parliament. It is in the Jacobethan style and faced in Bath stone.

 Egyptian Exhibition
The castle is home to an Egyptian Exhibition, which was founded by the 5th Earl who, along with his archaeological colleague, Howard Carter, famously discovered the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. The 5th Earl was an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist, undertaking in 1907 to sponsor the excavation of nobles' tombs in Deir el-Bahari (Thebes)

The 5th Lord Carnarvon

Lord Carnarvon received in 1914 the concession to dig in the Valley of the Kings, in replacement of Theodore Davis who had resigned. It was in 1922 that they together opened the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, exposing treasures unsurpassed in the history of archaeology.

On 5 April 1923, Carnarvon died in the Continental-Savoy Hotel in Cairo, in the Kingdom of Egypt. This led to the story of the "Curse of Tutankhamun", the "Mummy's Curse". His death is most probably explained by blood poisoning (progressing to pneumonia) after accidentally shaving a mosquito bite infected with erysipelas. However, many people believed that his death was linked to an ancient Egyptian curse left on the entrance to the tomb.  His colleague and employee, Howard Carter, the man most responsible for revealing the tomb of the young king, lived safely for another sixteen years.

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