Lacock stars in Downton Abbey
For the final series of Downton Abbey, the Wiltshire village of Lacock starred in the beloved ITV drama for the first time.
In February 2015 the Downton Abbey crew transformed Church Street into a 1920s livestock market. Sheep, pigs and a 1-tonne long-horned bull joined the cast, as well as many ‘extras’, creating a bustling market scene attended by Lord Grantham, his family and many of the staff.
Volunteers and tenants as supporting artists
Some National Trust volunteers and village tenants were chosen to be supporting artists, an exciting opportunity for them: ‘It was fascinating to see behind the scenes of Downton Abbey,’ remembers Jeff Rawlings, a visitor welcome volunteer at Lacock Abbey. ‘The amount of detail going into the production was astonishing. I was cast as a farmer and they even went as far as applying dirt to the back of my hands as I had supposedly been working in the fields.’
" It was great being involved in something that is loved internationally; many people come to visit Lacock because they know about the filming connections, like ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Harry Potter’."
Stars and experiences on the film set at Lacock
The famous characters from above and below stairs wandered the streets of Lacock: Lord and Lady Grantham and their daughters Lady Mary and Lady Edith were there, and all of the staff from Mr Carson to Mrs Patmore. Only Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton were missing, who play the Dowager Countess and Mrs Crawley.
Event volunteer Ray Pattemore was another supporting artist on the set and got to play a judge: ‘I managed to speak to quite a few of the cast and I was even complimented on my appearance. One of the production team told me that I had one of the best supporting artists jobs on set, which pleased me no end. I particularly wanted to chat to 'Mrs Patmore' the cook, played by Lesley Nicol. My surname is Pattemore and Patmore is a name linked to my ancestors. I explained this to her and she was pleased that I had spoken to her.’
‘Lots of people come to Lacock and say: “It looks like something out of Downton”, so it was wonderful to finally have the crew and cast here – lots of us have been hoping they’d decide to film here,’ said Kristine Heuser who works for the National Trust in Lacock. ‘We are all massive fans, so spotting Lady Mary, Thomas and Mr Bates on the streets we walk every day was an absolute treat.’
Lacock Village as a filming location
Original timber-framed cottages line the streets of the village, which is cared for by the National Trust, making it a perfect filming location as the view is free from satellite dishes and overhead cabling. In the past 'Cranford' and 'Pride and Prejudice' have been filmed in the village, making use of the beautiful cottages as a backdrop.