The Real Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes with Sean Moran

The Real Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes with Sean Moran


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Visit Highclere Castle and other key locations used in the filming of Downton Abbey and explore the real but equally fascinating history and characters who inspired the award-winning series and film.

Actress Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is a force to be reckoned with. But who were the real ladies of Highclere Castle, and were they really as colorful? In this seminar, we will find out how the illegitimate daughter of a banking tycoon would become the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and how a pushy Amerian mother, with no fortune to bestow, managed to get her daughter married off to the 6th Earl in 1922. There are even family connections to Robert E. Lee and Tutankhamun to explore!

The family history was a rich breeding ground for the writer of Downton, Julian Fellows, a friend of the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and who had Highclere in his mind from the beginning for the location for the fictional Downton Abbey. Sean Moran, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and one of the UK’s elite Blue Badge Guides can be found at Highclere Castle with Context Clients in the Summer months. He will present a lively and visual presentation covering the engaging family history at Highclere, drawing parallels with its fictional counterpart Downton Abbey.

Designed to inform curiosity and well as future travels, participants will come away with an insight to the real Downton Abbey, and the superb film locations across England that were used in the filming of the TV Series and Film. You will also learn of the true story of King George V’s visit to a stately home, which Julian Fellowes used as the basis of Downton Abbey - The Movie.

Since leaving university in 1982, Sean has lived and worked across the globe in a nearly 30-year career as a senior executive in financial services. He put his skills and knowledge to work in the Charity Sector in the UK for 7 years but decided life was too short to not focus entirely on his passions for people, history, art and architecture. When not guiding, Sean is restoring a Georgian House and serving as a Parish Councillor. He is a freeman of the City of London and a freeman of the City Livery company of Clockmakers. He lives in London and Wiltshire.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
86%
(6)
14%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

J
J.G.
The Real Downton Abbey, absolutely fabulous, vintage Sean Moran

Absolutely wonderful Conversation --- content, organization, presentation, skilled use of PowerPoint, personable warmth, enthusiasm, etc. I think I have participated in Conversations on every topic done by Sean. They have all been like this, just great.

Context should have other presenters observe Sean to see how to do it really well.

B
B.E.
Downton Abbey

Absolutely fascinating! So knowledgeable and lively!

K
K.N.
Great Overview of where Downton Abby was filmed

Sean Moran did a great job showing where Downton Abby was filmed and explaining the history of the family who owns Highclere Castle. If you love Downton Abby you won't want to miss his presentation. He's very personable, knowledgeable and answered all our questions.

S
S.-.B.
Closer Look at "Downton Abbey", its Environs, and the Occupants over the Centuries

This was a nice, behind-the-scenes type look at this castle, its beautiful setting, the grounds and landscape. Aerial views were awesome. A peek at the key, real rooms where scenes of the movie were shot was most informative. Who knew there were 300 rooms in this castle! Mr Moran also showed us where other shots were done in local locations with their actual names. Loved that! The contrasting aspects of Highclere's actual history with some scenes that were depicted in the movie was wonderful (e.g., the castle was, indeed, used as a recovery hospital for soldiers in WWI by one earl's wife). We learned quite a bit about the real Earls of Carnarvon and their lineage from late 1700s (like the fact that the 5th Earl's link to the discovery of King Tut's tomb in Egypt via research funding). Fascinating history of this plus the servants' roles -- past and present. A great revisit to Downton Abbey!

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
86%
(6)
14%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

J
J.G.
The Real Downton Abbey, absolutely fabulous, vintage Sean Moran

Absolutely wonderful Conversation --- content, organization, presentation, skilled use of PowerPoint, personable warmth, enthusiasm, etc. I think I have participated in Conversations on every topic done by Sean. They have all been like this, just great.

Context should have other presenters observe Sean to see how to do it really well.

B
B.E.
Downton Abbey

Absolutely fascinating! So knowledgeable and lively!

K
K.N.
Great Overview of where Downton Abby was filmed

Sean Moran did a great job showing where Downton Abby was filmed and explaining the history of the family who owns Highclere Castle. If you love Downton Abby you won't want to miss his presentation. He's very personable, knowledgeable and answered all our questions.

S
S.-.B.
Closer Look at "Downton Abbey", its Environs, and the Occupants over the Centuries

This was a nice, behind-the-scenes type look at this castle, its beautiful setting, the grounds and landscape. Aerial views were awesome. A peek at the key, real rooms where scenes of the movie were shot was most informative. Who knew there were 300 rooms in this castle! Mr Moran also showed us where other shots were done in local locations with their actual names. Loved that! The contrasting aspects of Highclere's actual history with some scenes that were depicted in the movie was wonderful (e.g., the castle was, indeed, used as a recovery hospital for soldiers in WWI by one earl's wife). We learned quite a bit about the real Earls of Carnarvon and their lineage from late 1700s (like the fact that the 5th Earl's link to the discovery of King Tut's tomb in Egypt via research funding). Fascinating history of this plus the servants' roles -- past and present. A great revisit to Downton Abbey!