Byfleet Manor, Maggie Smith's Downton Abbey home, sells for £6-million

As the final series of Downtown Abbey kicks off, one of the hit show's grandest and most recognisable homes has been sold for £6m.

Built in 1686, Byfleet Manor in Surrey has been a familiar backdrop to the Downton action for five years. Fans of the show will recognise it as Dower House, home to Lady Violet Crawley, the dowager played by Dame Maggie Smith.

The 17th-century house was put on the market in May for £3.95 million, alongside four additional lots in the grounds -  three more residential properties and a development plot. And now, the entire estate has been snapped up by a British buyer after attracting interest from around the globe. 

Simon Ashwell, head of Savills Weybridge, said: "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." 

The home was sold by local business woman Julie Hatton, who bought it some 10 years ago for about £1 million. 

SEE INSIDE DOWNTON ABBEY'S HISTORIC HOME:



"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," says Ashwell.

New research from Halifax reveals Downton's 'halo effect' extends to homes located close to stately homes - with house prices around stately homes growing at double the rate of the national average over the last 10 years.

"It can cost home buyers, on average, £41,000 extra to live nearby to a stately home compared to neighbouring areas,” says Housing Economist at Halifax, Martin Ellis.

Byfleet Manor is set in sprawling grounds of almost 20 acres and offers extensive 6,000sq ft of living space, spread over four floors.

Thanks to its grand proportions and fine period architecture, the mansion has played a starring role in two other well-known period dramas, Poirot and Cranford. 

But the estate once belonged to royalty, passing 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. 

“For all its fame, Byfleet Manor is actually in an idyllic location at the end of a winding country lane on the fringe of the nearby village, discreetly positioned for privacy and security," says Ashwell.

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