For us, as for many Americans, the “Downton Abbey” world of the grand English country house is a source of enduring fascination. Many writers have speculated as to why this milieu should so appeal to a people who founded a nation in revolt against monarchy and aristocracy, but I’ve never heard a convincing explanation. It’s just a self-evident fact.
The film location of “Downton Abbey” is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, to the west of London, but in the story, the house is said to be in Yorkshire. This northern county has long been a place where England’s wellborn and well-to-do have come to relax on their country estates and shoot the game birds, notably grouse, that populate its hills and moors.