Walking

Bampton Village | Downton Abbey

Not far from the River Thames, the charming village of Bampton is a real star. Once the focus of a royal manor and minister church, it pre-dates the Norman Conquest and enjoyed huge prosperity in the Middle Ages.

With far-reaching roots, Bampton (meaning settlement by the tree or cross) was already a well-established town by the time William the Conqueror set up station 100 miles away at Hastings Castle and was later mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Thriving with booming wool, textile and leather trades, it was actually one of the largest settlements in the area for a long time and was a real hub of activity. 

With many of its trades piquing in the latter half of the Middle Ages Bampton continued to prosper, and it still remains a lively village with lots of amenities, attractions, and unspeakably beautiful countryside which all draw visitors each year. Perhaps its most recent claim to fame though, Bampton has found its way onto the TV screen as the setting for many of the scenes within the much-loved British drama series, Downton Abbey.

Taking place between 1912 and 1926, Downton Abbey television series follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants. Twisting and turning with the great events of the time and their own social and family dynamics, the plot has gripped huge audiences across the world for its edgy, romantic and nostalgic portrayals.

Despite being set in a fictional Yorkshire estate though, keen fans will recognise Bampton village for its regular cameo appearances. Featured in some of Downton Abbey's most pivotal moments and events, the village has naturally become a star in its own right and a familiar sight for avid watchers. As well as the post office and an array of pubs and shops, fans will recognise:

- Bampton Community Archive (the old Grammar School building), which acted as Downton hospital

- Church View, a street which housed the Grantham Arms and the Dog & Duck pubs and hosted the Downton Fair

- Churchgate House (the village’s old rectory), which was used for the exterior shots of Isobel Crawley's home

- St Mary’s Church, dubbed St Michael and All Angels in Downton Abbey, which provided a stage for a number of dramatic weddings (some good, some bad!), funerals and christenings.

For Downtown Abbey fans, Bampton is an absolute must visit, providing an unrivalled opportunity to dive behind the scenes and discover what life in the village is really like. For more information about the history of the village and for Downton memorabilia, make sure you pop into the Community Archive before later refuelling in one of the village’s welcoming eateries. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for a chance glimpse of Lady Mary or Mr Carson!

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