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Miss Sybil Branson

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This is the page for Sybil "Sybbie" Branson, daughter of Tom and Sybil. For her mother see Sybil Branson.

Sybil Branson
Biographical information
Born August or September 1920
Residence Downton Abbey, Downton, Yorkshire, England
Title(s) Sybbie (by her father, her aunts Edith and Mary, and her maternal grandmother)
Miss Sybil (by Edna Braithwaite)
Darling (by her father)
Bairn (by Mrs Hughes)
Miss Sybbie (by Nanny West)
Physical information
Gender Female
Height Small.
Hair colour Brown
Eye colour Blue
Family information
Immediate Tom Branson (father)

Sybil Branson nee Crawley (mother) †

Cora Crawley (maternal grandmother)

Robert Crawley (maternal grandfather)
Mrs Branson (paternal grandmother)
Mr Branson (paternal grandfather)
Kieran Branson (paternal uncle/godfather)
Tom Branson's cousin (paternal first cousin-once-removed) †
Martha Levinson (maternal great-grandmother)
Isidore Levinson (maternal great-grandfather) †
Violet Crawley (maternal great-grandmother)
Maternal great-grandfather
Mary Crawley nee Crawley (maternal aunt/godmother)
Edith Crawley (maternal aunt)
Matthew Crawley (maternal uncle-by-marriage) †
Isobel Crawley (maternal great aunt-by-marriage)
Rosamund Painswick (maternal great aunt)
Marmaduke Painswick (maternal great uncle-by-marriage) †
Harold Levinson (maternal great uncle)

George Crawley (first cousin)
Marigold Gregson (first cousin)
Loyalty Tom Branson
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Ava Mann (Series 4)
Fifi Hart (Series 5)
"She seems quite a tough little thing."
—Sybil's great-grandmother describes her to Dr Clarkson.[src]
"I'll not be separated from her. She's all I have left of her mother."
Tom to Matthew.[src]

Miss Sybil Branson (b. between 18 August and 30 September 1920[1]), nicknamed Sybbie, is the daughter and only child of Tom Branson and his late wife Sybil, for whom she is named. She is the eldest grandchild of Robert and Cora Crawley, and therefore the eldest great-grandchild of Martha Levinson and Violet Crawley. Sybbie has two aunts, Mary and Edith Crawley, and two uncles, the late Matthew Crawley and Kieran Branson. George Crawley and Marigold Gregson are her first cousins through Mary and Edith respectively.


Sybil was named by her father after her mother, who died from eclampsia shortly after her birth (her family heard her voice shortly after her mother died). Her father felt that it was right, even though painful, stating he wanted to remember her mother whenever he looked at her. He later remarked she was all he had left of her mother, and would not be separated from her, when Matthew suggested leaving her with them, if Tom moved in to Liverpool to work with his brother. Her family started affectionately calling her Sybbie.

She was born small for her age, which is a common complication in children born of mothers with pre-eclampsia.[2]

A dispute erupted between Tom and Robert over her christening. Tom asserted that his daughter was Irish, and should be "Catholic, like her father". Robert insisted he felt it would not help her to be baptised into a church other than the Church of England, though he was more motivated by his own traditions (as there had not been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation) and a desire to have a greater influence over her upbringing. He also insisted the only chance Sybbie would have at achieving anything in life was due to her mother's blood, and that it was "ghoulish" to name her after her mother. Mary disagreed with him in all these claims, reminding him Sybbie was a Branson, not a Crawley.

The dispute ended after Mary revealed that before her death, Sybil told her she had no objection to her child being Catholic. Robert still protested, but Cora silenced him. Even though he no longer fought it, he still remained opposed. 

Tom named Mary and his brother Kieran as Sybbie's godparents. She was christened at Ripon's Catholic church by Father Dominic, the service attended by her father, paternal uncle, and maternal family.

A family portrait was first taken of the entire family, with Tom holding his daughter. Robert and Violet were uncomfortable when the photographer suggested Father Dominic join them with Sybbie for a photograph of just them.

Tom had initially decided to move in with Kieran at Liverpool and work in his car repair business. They would live in an apartment above the garage. Kieran said there was a bit of a park nearby. It is this dinner which prompts Violet to suggest that Tom to be named the new estate manager (Downton's agent Jarvis had resigned earlier that same day). She insists to Robert that he cannot want his granddaughter to grow up in a garage with Kieran, whom she calls "that drunken gorilla."

When her father did replace Jarvis, she was to have moved with him and her nanny into the Agent's House. Cora expressed concern about this, thinking it would be lonely for her, because she felt "children are happier in families." But her father felt it was best for both of them. However, after seeing her surrounded by his in-laws at the cricket match, Tom decided he and she would live at Downton until she was older. When he told this to Cora, she felt it is what Sybbie's mother would want.

In September 1921 she was seen in the arms of her father, watching and pointing while the staff packed up bags for the family's trip to Duneagle Castle in Scotland. Her father, who did not go with the rest of the family, continued to spend time with her.

She was later comforted by Carson while crying as the rest of the staff had gone to the Thirsk fair. He then takes her back to bed, after Mrs Hughes admires him for comforting her. He and Mrs Hughes talk of Sybil's late mother. Carson remarks he was thinking of her when she was her daughter's present age, while Mrs Hughes remarks that they must care for her "bairn".

Sybbie and her cousin George have a governess, Nanny West, who favours George and is fired after Lady Grantham overhears her blaming Sybbie for waking up George and calling her "that chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little cross-breed" (it is also possible Nanny West was deliberately not feeding Sybbie properly as hinted by her conversation with Barrow). A new nanny later comes in.

Tom continues adoring Sybbie and delights in playing with her in the nursery. There is one scene where Tom is playing with Sybil and they have to get all the animals under the shelter because there is a hurricane coming. Her aunt, cuddling her cousin, is surprised of a hurricane in England. Tom says the hurricane is coming and helps Sybbie knock down the buildings, in which she utters her first line on the show: "Uh-oh."

After her father escapes the evil schemes of Edna Braithwaite, he starts to consider a new future for himself and her even if it means moving away from Downton, perhaps to America, where he thinks they could both have a new start. He feels it would be better for her to have a "clean slate" rather than grow up where she would be constantly reminded that she is "the daughter of an uppity chauffeur".

Robert, like Mary, does not wish for him to go, but it seems his primary motive is Sybbie (he insists it would be too much to bear for him to lose Sybil's child), as he still appears to want her to grow up at Downton and he can have a role in her upbringing. But he nevertheless shows genuine affection for her, saying that she'd always have a home at Downton where she would be loved, and that George would be like her brother by the time they were grown. Cora too does not wish for Tom and Sybbie to go, but she understands and defends Tom, noting he cannot be blamed for wanting the best for his daughter.[3]

Isobel comes up one evening with Mary and Tom into the nursery. When Mary asks her what she would like the children to call her, she decides that Sybbie could refer to her as Aunt Isobel, and her cousin George could refer to her as "Grandmama". Sybil appears with George and their new nanny to come visit the family in the drawing room before dinner. She is calm and quiet but her cousin George starts crying, making the Countess uncomfortable enough to leave and Mr Blake to comfort him. When the Downton bazaar is held, she is with her father again, and he introduces her to Sarah Bunting, a woman he met at a political rally.

Sybbie calls her grandfather Donk, from the game pin the tail on the donkey, much to the amusement of the rest of the family. Robert however wishes she could call him Grandpapa. When a fire breaks out upstairs, Tom carries Sybbie and George to safety. She and George later accompany the family to an outing where her grandfather holds her up and shares with her a pair of binoculars as they watch Mary in a horse race.

Tom takes Sybbie to a bridge where they play a game with sticks, watching them come out from the other side of the stream. Tom asks her to make a wish, and asks her what she would think if they left Downton and lived somewhere far away (referring to his considering moving to America). She asks "Why?" to which he replies it might be better for them to start a new life there. She asks "Why?" again, and he tells her before they head back to the house, he hopes to God he is doing the right thing.

Sybbie, while playing a board game with Robert, says "No!" when he tells her she has to go back because of where she landed. Mary tells him to let her stay where she is. Robert remarks that it would not do her good later in life if they did not teach her how to lose. Mary tells Sybbie, whom she calls "darling" to cry and "make Donk" feel unhappy. Cora remarks on this scene that Robert is forming a close bond with his granddaughter when he asks what his father would say of him playing with her. She is later outside with George and Marigold (who is now living with them in the Downton nursery) when the family head to London for Rose's marriage.

Tom officially decides to leave Downton for Massachusetts with Sybbie after Christmas. She helps her cousins, father, and aunts decorate the Christmas tree, thanking new footman Andrew for decorations and telling her father how beautiful the tree is when lit. The family are saddened Tom and Sybbie will be leaving, including Robert. Though Cora assures Robert there is no point in trying to persuade him to let Sybbie stay at Downton, Robert still asks him if he would consider leaving her until he had settled in, but Tom says no. Later, Robert is holding her and asking what Marigold should call him. Sybil playfully says "Donk!" and Robert gives in happily. He tells Sybbie every time Marigold calls him Donk, he will be reminded of her, and gives her a kiss. Tom congratulates Sybbie on her "victory" and she smiles. Sybbie is later holding Edith's hand as Robert publicly wishes her and her father the best in their new life together in America.


Although Sybil is very young, she does have a few characteristics that have shown throughout her appearances. In Series 3, Sybil seems to be a relatively calm baby, smiling and cooing when her Aunt Mary and Uncle Matthew comes to see her and her father. She seems to enjoy the company of others, especially when her aunt cradles her during the annual cricket match and when she immediately stops crying after Carson picks her up. She also shows signs of curiosity when she points at the servants while they pack for Scotland. Series 4 has Sybil at two-years old and still seems relatively quiet (except in the presence of Nanny West without other adults around; then she won't stop crying), and a bit shy. In Series 5, as she has grown more she talks more too, proving herself to be very cheerful, playful, curious, and polite.


  • New-born Sybil with her mother and father shortly after birth.
  • Sybil age 1 with Mr Carson.
  • Sybbie age 2 with her father.
  • Sybbie with her father, aunt, and cousin George in the nursery.
  • Sybbie age 4 with her father


  • So far, Sybbie is the only one of her generation in the Crawley family born inside Downton Abbey, George having been born in the village's hospital and Marigold in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Since Sybbie was named after her mother, it is possible she shares the same middle name as her mother (identified in different sources as either Patricia or Cora) but this has never been confirmed. One of those sources is on her mother's grave, shown in series 3, whereby it says, "in memory of Lady Sybil Cora Crawley, daughter of the 5th Earl of Grantham.
  • Sybbie was born in August or September 1920; we can infer this from Robert's words of "Tennessee is going to ratify the 19th Amendment." in Episode 3.05. The ratification of the amendment happened on August 18th, 1920. This means that Episode 3.05 is set before August 18th when the Amendment was ratified. This also means, as the 2012 Christmas Special is set in September 1921, that Sybbie must have been born after the 18th of August - as that is after the events of 3.05 and the ratification of the amendment - and on or before the 30th of September 1920 - which is a year before the events of the 2012 Christmas Special. As well as this, September is the end of the cricket season - which spans from May to September in the UK - and Cricket is played in Episode 3.08, thus it cannot be after 30th September, as that was the end of the cricket season in 1920.
  • Her maternal grandmother, Cora, was the first in the family to call her "Sybbie". 

Trivia Edit

Branson Son
As seen by this picture, Radio Times incorrectly reported that the child was a boy.

Etymology Edit

Sybil and Sibyl are variations of given names deriving from the Greek term "sibyls", the oracular seeresses of the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean. Sybil was the Delphic Sybil, who prophesied in the shrine of the god Apollo at Delphi. Sybil as a girl's name is pronounced SIH-bul. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Sybil is "prophetess, oracle. Sybil has 12 variant forms: Sybill, Sibyl, Sibylla, Sybel, Sybella, Sybelle, Sybilla, Sybille, Sibell, and Sibilla, Cybil, and Cybill. The name "Cybele" (pronounced with three syllables as ˈsɪbɨliː) is not truly a variant, being instead a different name with a different meaning. Cybele was the Phrygian mother goddess whose cult spread throughout the ancient world; that name derives from a word meaning "mountain", and comes from a phrase meaning "mountain mother". [4]


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


External Links Edit

  1. Introducing Fifi Hart at A & J Management
  2. Downton Abbey The Crawley Family at TV Tropes

References Edit

  1. Sybil was born in August or September 1920; we can infer this from Robert's words of "Tennessee is going to ratify the 19th Amendment." in Episode 3.04. The ratification of the ammendment happened on August 18th, 1920. This means that Episode 3.04 is set before August 18th when the Ammendment was ratified. This also means, as the 2012 Christmas Special is set in September 1921, that Sybil must have been born after the 18th of August - as that is after 3.04 and the ratification of the ammendment - and on or before the 30th of September 1920 - which is a year before the events of the 2012 Christmas Special. As well as this, September is the end of the cricket season - which spans from May to September in the UK - and Cricket is played in Episode 3.08, thus it cannot be after 30th September, as that was the end of the cricket season in 1920.
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine Preeclampsia
  3. Note: The associated scene appears in season 4 part 4 on PBS, but does not appear in episode 4.05 as first broadcast on ITV.
  4. Sybil name meaning from

Start a Discussion Discussions about Miss Sybil Branson

  • Grandfather's Nickname

    6 messages
    • I look forward to hearing Marigold call Robert Donk as well.  Who knows, maybe George will too.
    • wrote:HarryPotterRules1 wrote:It's "Donk"; from when they played a game of Pin the tale on the DONKey. She just gave him t...
  • Sybbie leaving

    18 messages
    • Someone suggested Tom could rediscover his political side in America. Certainly there Sybbie I imagine would grow into her mother's daughter ...
    • I really hope Tom doesnt get tied up with the Boston Irish political mafia.  Bad move in my view for both him and Sybbie who is bound to miss ...

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