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Gwen Dawson

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Gwen Dawson
S1-gwen 595
Biographical information
Marital status Married[1]
Residence Downton Abbey, Downton (formerly)
Physical information
Hair colour Red
Family information
Family Mr Dawson (father)
Mrs Dawson (formerly)
Occupation Secretary
Housemaid (previously)
Loyalty Downton Abbey (formerly)
Anna May Smith
Lady Sybil Crawley
Mr Bromidge
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Rose Leslie
Gwen: "Let’s face it. There will never be anyone less suited for the post or worse qualified than I am."
Sybil: "That isn’t true. You’ll see. We’re not giving up. No one hits the bull’s eye with the first arrow."
— Episode 1.04
Gwen Dawson was a housemaid at Downton Abbey.



She nurtures a dream to become a secretary. To this end, she secretly buys a typewriter and takes a correspondence course in typing and shorthand. She is helped considerably by Lady Sybil Branson, who believes in women making a life for themselves. This friendship crosses the class boundaries, an act which at one time would have seemed impossible. Sybil frequently tells Gwen never to give up on your dream and tries relentlessly to get Gwen the job. She arranges for Gwen to go to town to answer an advertisement that appeared in the newspaper. She even writes her a reference. When nothing pans out, Gwen starts to get despondent, but Sybil tells her to persevere.

Her dream is finally realized at the end of Episode 7, when Mr Bromidge, a man whose business installs telephones comes to Downton. He remarks in Sybil's hearing that he has been looking for a secretary. Sybil quickly arranges an interview for Gwen in the library. He comments that being a housemaid is a mark in her favor, as his mother was a housemaid and he knows how hard they work. She gets the job. When news of this comes by telephone, Tom Branson must take the call as everyone is at the garden party, being held outside. The message is relayed and Sybil and Gwen are overjoyed. This occurs shortly before Lord Grantham announces that a telegram has informed him that England is at war with Germany.


In 1922, the servants at Downton receive a letter from Gwen announcing she is married. Anna, who had also supported and defended Gwen in pursuing her dreams, organizes to send a card to Gwen, having all of the servants sign it in congratulations. Mrs Hughes mentions little of the groom other than that his mother was ill, so the wedding had been kept simple.


Gwen seems to get on reasonably well with all the other servants and describes her roommate Anna as being 'like a sister'. She is the daughter of a farm hand. She is a kind and understanding woman. She is slightly sensitive, and occasionally breaks out into tears. She is rather reserved and calm, and tries not to be a part in disputes and arguments.


Appearances and Mentions
Series 1 Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Series 4 Episode 1 Episode 2
Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Christmas Special


  1. Episode 4.02: Mrs. Hughes says "It's from Gwen - she's married" and later says it was a "quiet affair" when telling the servants about whom the note is from.

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