TV Names: Upstairs, Downstairs & Downton

At last, at last, the third season of Downton Abbey has finally launched, a further opportunity for those of us who love vintage British names to spend time with the Crawley clan et al.  We’re now lucky enough to have had two recent TV period imports with great examples of character names, both for the aristos upstairs and the servants below.  The time frame of both Downton Abbey and the recently updated Upstairs, Downstairs is the early decades of the twentieth century: Downton now picks up in 1920; the second series of Upstairs in 1936, six years after the initial one ended.

And if there seems to be a preponderance of girls’ names, it’s because so many of the male characters, both upstairs and down, have such common names as Thomas, Robert, Matthew, William, Joseph and John.

Here are some of the most interesting names in both series; and it’s worthy of note that the British TV names that are being revived today come equally from both social strata, as in, for example, Isobel and Ivy, Edith and Elsie.


AgnesUpstairs, Downstairs

BlancheUpstairs, Downstairs

CasparUpstairs,Downstairs—Caspar Landry is a Jewish outsider character

CoraDownton Abbey

EdithDownton Abbey

Evelyn (male)—Downton Abbey

HallamUpstairs, Downstairs—A titled character, born in India

IsobelDownton Abbey

KieranDownton AbbeyKieran Branson is, not surprisingly, an Irish character

LaviniaDownton Abbey

LotteUpstair, Downstairs

MaudUpstairs, Downstairs

PersephoneUpstairs, Downstairs—more commonly known as Lady Persie

PortiaUpstairs, Downstairs

RosamundDownton Abbey

SybilDownton Abbey

VeraDownton Abbey

VioletDownton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs


BerylDownton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs

ClariceUpstairs, Downstairs

DaisyUpstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey

ElsieDownton Abbey

Ethel—Downton Abbey

EuniceUpstair, Downstairs

IvyDownton Abbey & Upstairs, Downstairs

MarigoldDownton Abbey

RubyUpstairs, Downstairs


For a look back at the original 1971 -75 Upstairs, Downstairs series, which spanned the years from 1903 to 1930, here are some of the Upstairs names used:










And then there are the surnames, heard on the three series, that might be conceivable firsts:


















Do you think any of these names have influenced baby naming?  Could the lovely Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) help revive the name Mary?  What’s your favorite upstairs and downstairs name?

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14 Responses to “TV Names: Upstairs, Downstairs & Downton”

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CountryLizB Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 1:47 am

Beryl is also the name of Mrs. Patmore in Downton Abbey.

linda Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 1:51 am

Thanks–I added it.

domestikated Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 2:39 am

I think the habit of calling women by their last name only as heard on Downton (O’Brian, etc.) is very interesting. I heard Reid as a womans’ name with new ears last night. I like it!

GrecianErn Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 10:02 am

I like Ivy and Evelyn the best.

I heard 3 great names on New Year’s Day. On the Today Show, one of the anchors (who was on the 1st MTV Road Rules) has 3 children – all with Last Name First Names!

Daughters: Campbell and Hayes (about 10 and 9 yrs old)
Son: Crowley (4 or 5 yrs old)

She’s very Southern… but I thought that they also sounded very Downton.

bronwynsunshine Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’ve noticed the name Cora becoming very popular and I really do not like it. It is such a boring name with little personality. And any middle name that you pair with it that starts with a vowel just makes it sound like “core”.. as for the rest of the list they are alright.

UniqueNameLover Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 11:10 am

Persephone is number one on my list. Crap. Now it is going to get super popular.

peach25 Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 11:13 am

A friend just named her baby Cora. The only other Cora I know outside Downton is 90!

hjteni Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Love all of these names! Downton Abbey is a fantastic show.

MorganaLeFaye Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I fell in love with Persephone hearing it in use on Upstairs Downstairs. Same with Lavinia and Downton. I’ve also grown to really appreciate Mary, Edith, Sybil and Cora thanks to the Crawley ladies. And, now I come to think of it, my love of Daisy, Elsie and Lotte was helped along by their use on these programmes. I’m far too easily influenced, it would seem.

Fantastic blog plost, thanks 🙂

MorganaLeFaye Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Oh, and Evelyn on a boy is a total, massive GP of mine.

AMM Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

What about Abbey! 😉

hlizzyt Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Thank you so much! I love Downton Abbey and have always found the names to be an interesting aspect of the show.

chicamerlin Says:

January 8th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

This is a great post, I got really excited when I saw it 😀 Downton Abbey is a MAJOR obsession of mine, and I love so many of the names, both first names and surnames. I’m too chicken to name a child this, but the next male pet I get will undoubtedly be Bates, after my favourite character 🙂

peach Says:

January 16th, 2013 at 3:41 am

Sybil is my favorite.

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