The British series “Downton Abbey” is filmed partially in Northern Hampshire at Highclere Castle. Highclere has been the home of the Carnarvon Family since 1679. It sits on a thousand acre estate in Berkshire, in between London and Bristol.
The castle’s history dates back to the Iron Age; the Bishops of Winchester owned the property for 800 years before it passed into secular hands. In 1679, the Herbert Family-- the Earls of Pembroke-- the ancestors of the Carnarvon Family acquired the property.
In the late 18th century and early 19th century many improvements were made to the estate. The old Elizabethan structure was transformed into a Georgian Mansion during this time. Yet even more significant changes were made to Highclere in the mid-19th century.
The third Earl of Carnarvon hired the famous architect, Sir Charles Barry to redesign the Georgian Mansion. The new castle resembles a variety of architectural styles with high Elizabethan, Gothic, and Italianate influences. Barry purposely designed the structure to look larger than it really is as the visitor approaches it.
The house is actually very large but today only the first floor is in use, which includes: a entrance hall, saloon, dining room, library, smoking room, music room, and several bedrooms. There are fifty bedrooms in the upper floors that are not in use.
The present Lady Carnarvon, who along with her husband the 6th Earl of Carnarvon own Highclere Castle, has stated that because so many people have lived in the structure over the years and because “terribly upsetting” events have happened in the building it has resulted in the castle being haunted by more than one ghost. She states that some people see the ghosts and others do not.
Ironically, in an upcoming scene in the fictionalized series of “Downton Abbey” the actress, Joanne Froggatt, who plays “Anna” the highest-ranking maid in the household, encounters a ghost in one bedroom.
Following is a video of Lady Carnarvon discussing the ghosts at Highclere Castle.