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Ten of Downton Abbey’s Most Memorable Moments

Downton S5 Promotional (Spoiler TV)

From the first moment I saw Downton Abbey’s opening credits and heard that “now” marvelous familiar theme song, I was pretty much a goner. I knew I’d just found my next obsession. The show’s general scenario is twofold: Downton Abbey tells the upstairs’ stories of its proprietary family, The Crawley’s, and then tells of the lives of their servants (the downstairs’ stories).

RELATED 12 Best Dowagerisms of Downton Abbey

Deriving from the mind of Julian Fellowes (who won the Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards previously for Gosford Park – an upstairs/downstairs murder mystery), there was something compelling and addicting not only about its world but the characters. Whether it was the haughty upstairs resident, Lady Mary Crawly or the likable downstairs servant, William, everyone had a story. Even with the insane number of characters, nothing ever seemed overwhelming or lost. Season one surprised in ways no one anticipated and as such was written to the show’s best advantage.

With the sixth and final season just two months away (for U.S. viewers), I decided to look back on some of the best moments from Downton Abbey. Given how very fond of this show I grew to be in six years (difficult to believe this has entertained me for as many years), there are plenty of Downton Abbey confessions I could cop to. But I don’t know about you, it’s looking back at those big or special moments that I remember most.

10 Downton Abbey Memories

#1. First Meeting Downton Abbey Matthew and Mary Meet

Downton Abbey Season 1 Mary and Matthew Meet

Is there anyone who wasn’t a Mary and Matthew shipper? I know I was 100% behind them. Their first meeting was delightful. Mary was her typical pert self (claiming she didn’t want to “push in” after overhearing Matthew’s thoughts on the Crawley’s) and Matthew, well, I’m convinced he was smitten from that very first moment.

#2. “What is a Weekend?


If there is only one thing we learn from Downton Abbey, let it be this: the definition of a weekend. I don’t think there is one of us who don’t remember Violet Crawley’s immortal words asking, “What is a weekend?” Maggie Smith’s deliverance of the line is all too perfect, a quote that has created many inspirations for GIFS around the world – or at least, the World Wide Web.

#3. Theo James

Downton Abbey Theo James

Let’s face it, we’ve probably all forgotten Theo James (known for playing Four in the Divergent series) appeared in the first season of Downton Abbey. But I assure you he was in the hallowed halls, sipping tea with Lady Mary and being an all-around scoundrel. He meets with a not-so-favorable end that is also a bit comedic in a dark British kind of way simply because it was so unexpected.

#4. Lady Sybil, RebelDownton Abbey Lady Sybil

Not only do we remember, love and miss the darling Lady Sybil, one of my most favorite scenes with her involved her scandalously sporting an elegant ensemble that was designed to have the freedom of pants! Such a rebel that Lady Sybil was.

#5. Bates and Anna

Downton Abbey Bates and Anna Wedding

Seeing these two marry and enjoy some happiness was priceless.

#6. “I’d Wait Forever”Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Sybil

I don’t think there were many who didn’t 100% ship Sybil and Branson. The scene of Sybil essentially asking Branson to give her a bit more time and wait, and his reply is one of my favorites.

#7. The ProposalDownton Abbey Proposal

Despite their ultimate ending, nothing can ever damper Matthew’s proposal. After two seasons of seeing this pull and tug between this pair, it was perfection. I loved how Matthew loved Mary; loved that he made her a better person; and finally I loved that Mary didn’t bow to the pressure of starting their life on a lie. She made a clean break with her past before saying yes, ensuring there were no skeletons hanging over their chance for happiness.

#8. Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes

Much as I loved the story between these two throughout the entire series run, this scene of them at the beach was one of my most favorite moments between them.

#9. Rose and Atticus

Rose and Atticus' Meet in the Rain
Rose and Atticus’ Meet in the Rain

Say what you will about Rose (I know she’s been a bit of a controversial character), but she’s grown up a lot since her introduction. The reason I wanted to include a moment with her on this list is for that very reason, plus I adore her and Atticus together. They are so cute. It’s their understated albeit cute first meeting that gets a shout-out today.

#10. The Crawleys UnitedDownton Abbey Crawley Siblings

I’ve never completely understood why the sisters Crawley hate each other so very much. Edith keeps her entire world bottled up, egging Mary on. Then there’s Mary: she’s relentless in her pursuit to put Edith down. If I were to write a letter to these girls, I’d tell them to lay the past to rest: Edith did you wrong once upon a time Mary. Get. Over. It. It’s time to step into the future without these ghosts.

But I’m getting off topic. The moment I’m thinking of comes in the fifth season Christmas special when Tom Branson (Sybil’s husband), Mary and Edith share a moment of shared sorrow, remembrance, and family unity. It’s really a beautiful scene that’s likely passed off as insignificant.

This list only touches the surface of the many beautiful moments waiting to be discovered inside Downton Abbey. I’m no doubt missing far too many, but going on might result in carpal tunnel. And that would never do. Instead, I’d like to invite you to reminisce about your favorite moments, quips, kisses, swoon-worthy declarations, and characters. I’d love to read your comments, so please, sound off down below.

Photos: ITV

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By on November 14th, 2015

About Rissi JC

Rissi is a self-diagnosed Bookaholic and TV fandom addict. She’s currently an avid blogger and reader who enjoys interacting with readers, and often dreams about finishing her first novel. When not writing or reading, she can be found working as an INSPYs advisory board member or contributing to e-zines. Her scribbles are housed on her blog Finding Wonderland (https://www.rissiwrites.com).

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9 thoughts on “Ten of Downton Abbey’s Most Memorable Moments”

  1. the scene that brought tears was when Edith playing the piano, Mary singing & Matthew who was missing walks in & they sing to each other If you were the only girl in the world & I was the only boy………breathtaking.

    • You know as I was skimming through that season to finish up this list, I saw that scene and was reminded how beautiful it was! I *really* should have included it, but I didn’t want to take the time to rework some things. But I 100% agree; that scene was breathtaking! Thanks for sharing a favorite moment, Carolyn! 🙂

  2. So many great scenes! I wasn’t able tp keep up with Downton Abbey (only so many shows I can balance, lol), but I definitely enjoyed a lot of moments. I was also a 100% Matthew and Mary shipper and the proposal and first meeting have to be my top favorite moments. 😀

  3. This is a great list of moments. Oh, Tom Branson *swoon*. He’s the best of the Downton Abbey guys, in my opinion. And Mary and Matthew’s engagement was one of the prettiest I believe I’ve ever seen with all the snow and they’re loveliness. I sure am going to miss this show.

    • Branson has “grown up” a lot over these six years and I’ve come to love him as one of Downton’s BEST characters. I especially liked last season’s Christmas special. He was fantastic there. I’m in the same mindset, Miranda; I’m going to miss this show. A lot. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing some of your favorite things. 🙂

  4. I cannot believe there is only one episode left… I wanted to watch all of them grow as old as Violet. Mary, Edith and Tom in the 60s and 70s… Can you imagine? They should do a movie…

    • There are actually rumors of a movie, Dalia! I’d definitely watch it and funny thing, I’ve heard a rumor about a 60s/70s set of installments too. I’d like to see it stay closer to this time period just because I like it better, but I’d watch it either way. 🙂


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