By 1912, Robert Crawley is the present Earl of Grantham.
Relations and History
The Crawleys are related to the Levinson family through Robert's marriage to Cora. They are also distantly related to the MacClare family, whose patriarch is Hugh MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire. His wife Susan is Violet's maternal niece and first cousin to Robert and Rosamund.
The family is staunchly Anglican, as Robert remarks that there has not been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation. Tom Branson and his daughter, who are Catholic, are the exception as they are from the Branson family.
There are many known members and equally as many unknown members of the family. Violet Crawley, widow of the previous Earl of Grantham, is the matriarch of the family. Violet has two children, Rosamund - the rich widow of banker Marmaduke Painswick - and Robert, who married American heiress Cora Levinson in 1890.
While Rosamund and her husband had no children, Robert and Cora have had three daughters: Mary, Edith and Sybil. Being girls, They could not inherit their father's title, fortune, or estate due to an entail established by Robert's late father decreeing everything would pass to the next male relative (he had not expected Robert to not have a son).
Because of the entail, Robert's heir was his paternal first cousin, James, and then his son, Patrick. But both men were on the RMS Titanic and did not survive the disaster. The family sought to destroy the entail so that Robert's eldest daughter Mary would inherit, but Robert's father had made it all but impossible.
As a result, Robert's third cousin-once-removed, Matthew Crawley, became the new heir. Matthew's great-great grandfather was the younger son of the third earl. He referred to the current Earl as Cousin Robert, and his widowed mother Isobel Crawley referred to the Dowager Countess, with whom she often clashes despite their deep friendship, as Cousin Violet.
In 1919, Sybil married the family's former chauffeur, Tom Branson, and by Christmas that year was pregnant.
Matthew proposed to Mary in 1920 (this was his second, as he had recanted his first before the Great War). She accepted and the two became betrothed and married that same year.
Sybil died in August 1920 right after giving birth to a daughter, whom her husband named Sybil after her. Mary and Matthew have a son, George, who was born in 1921 on the same day as Matthew's untimely death in a car crash, in September 1921. George is the current heir to the family estate, title, and fortune.
In 1922, Edith became pregnant by her lover Michael Gregson. Because Michael has disappeared and she is still unmarried, she considered first having an abortion then later having the child adopted. By Summer 1923, Gregson still has not been found, and she had given birth to a daughter, Marigold, whom she left in Genéva with a couple named Schroeder. But Edith decided to take Marigold back and have her grow up on a local farm under the guardianship of tenant farmer Timothy Drewe. After Michael was reported dead in 1924, Edith attempts to flee with Marigold after her aunt and grandmother decide the child should be sent away when they learn Edith brought her back. Cora soon learned of Marigold's existence and arranged a plan for Edith to raise Marigold as her foster-daughter in Downton Abbey. Robert later figured out the truth himself, but agreed per his wife's wishes to remain silent even to Edith and mentioned he believed he would love his new grandchild. However later that year he told Edith he knew the truth and assured her he still loved her. Tom also told Edith he had figured out the truth as well.
There are several members of the Crawley family who have died or have not been seen. These people include:
- Robert's father, Violet's husband who died between 1889 and 1912 and who saved Downton with his death.
- A distant aunt from 1860 who, according to Edith, married a Gordon.a
- The father of James Crawley who was the the brother-in-law of Violet Crawley, the uncle of Robert and Rosamund and the grandfather of Patrick.
- The mother of James Crawley, who Violet disliked.
- The sister of the First Earl of Grantham who lived in the Dower House when it was first built so that she could be close to her brother.
- The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Earls of Grantham; the 3rd nearly went bankrupt.
- Robert's Great-Grandmother who was the wife of the eldest son of the Third Earl; she owned Downton Place; the family inherited it from her on her marriage.
- In 1914 Cora, Countess of Grantham, became pregnant with a son who, had he lived, would have become Viscount Downton on his birth and eventually followed Robert as the Earl of Grantham; it was not to be, however, as an act of spite by Sarah O'Brien jeopardized the Countess' life and led to the death of the unborn heir.
- Cousin Freddie, a cousin that Sybil mentions in 1913, may be a member of the Crawley family through his possible mother, Rosamund; however, it is more likely that Freddie is a son of Harold Levinson and is only included here because it is possible, if not confirmed, that he is a cousin through Rosamund.
- ↑ a This woman may not actually be a Crawley and may be Violet's sister, Roberta, as the dates fit with the battle of Lucknow in 1857 and the rough ages of Roberta and Violet.
- The first Earl, along with every member of the Crawley family - which includes every Earl of Grantham, their siblings, wives and descendants - excluding Tom Branson who is Catholic and his daughter, Sybil - are likely to be Protestant (Anglican, to be precise), most likely since the start of the English Reformation in 1532, but the there is no explicit mention of this.
- The Series 1 Press Pack confirms that Robert was known as "Viscount Downton" when he and Cora married.
- Episode 5.01 stated 34 years of marriage. 34 years prior to 1924 is 1890
- Violet claimed that "a nastier woman never drew breath".
- The actor confirms it here:http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2012/02/downton-abbeys-allen-leech-on-season-3-his-nickname-for-maggie-smith-and-more.html
- Tom Branson explicitly states that "Sybil will be Catholic" - and it's not Travis, baptizing her, but a Catholic preist, so she's Catholic too.
- Julian Fellowes, the show's creator does say that there is an anti-Catholic leaning to the the Crawleys. The Telegraph, Downton Abbey's anti-Catholic plot by Tim Walker, 7:29AM BST 22 Oct 2012