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Phyllis Baxter

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Phyllis Baxter
72
Biographical information
Marital status Single
Residence Downton Abbey, Downton, Yorkshire, England
London (formerly)
Title(s) Miss Baxter
Baxter
Physical information
Gender Female
Height 5'7" (1,70 m)
Hair colour Dark
Eye colour Brown
Family information
Family Unknown
Affiliation
Occupation Lady's Maid to Lady Grantham
Loyalty Thomas Barrow
Joseph Molesley
Cora Crawley
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Raquel Cassidy

Phyllis Baxter[1] is the Countess of Grantham's lady's maid at Downton Abbey.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Baxter has a history with Thomas Barrow, due to her being a friend of Thomas' sister. Thomas' father was kind to Baxter as well.

She also thinks Molesley lucky that he grew up in a village where everyone knows and respects him, suggesting that she may not have experienced those things herself.

1922Edit

On the departure of Edna Braithwaite, Baxter is hired by Lady Grantham on the recommendation of Thomas Barrow.

She is immediately liked by the downstairs staff, as they think her to be kind and gentle, and because Baxter was in possession of a sewing machine, which was new to the Downton staff. Lady Grantham is also pleased with her, and tells Lord Grantham that Baxter is coming along splendidly.

The head cook Beryl Patmore is first suspicious of Baxter due to her machine, but when the machine is used to repair an apron just in time for when Lady Grantham would be coming downstairs, Baxter earns Mrs. Patmore's trust.

Thomas manipulates Baxter using a secret from her past, and forces Baxter to be his spy. She appears uncomfortable spying, but reluctantly spies for Thomas anyway.

As Thomas leaves for America to be the temporary valet to Lord Grantham, Thomas forces Baxter to gather knowledge as to why Bates, the usual valet to Lord Grantham, isn't traveling to America.

When Green returned to Downton during Lord Gillingham's trip to Inverness, Baxter became suspicious when Anna paused when she saw Green in the room. When asked what he did during the night that he raped Anna, Green says that he came downstairs for some peace and quiet. It is this moment when Bates figures out that it was Green that raped Anna. Baxter glances at Anna and Bates, and she sees Bates staring at Green with complete hatred in his eyes.

Baxter bonds with footman Joseph Molesley, and when Thomas returns from America and demands that Baxter update him on the house's recent events, Molesley defends her against him, saying that "we'll have no bullying here." She also surprises him by saying he was lucky to live in a village where people know and respect him, suggesting she did not have that experience.

When Lord Gillingham brings news of Green's death to Lady Mary Crawley, the latter asks Charles Blake indirectly whether to investigate in Green's murder. During this exchange, Baxter is looking at both Mary and Charles.

2013 Christmas SpecialEdit

Thomas still has hold over her in 1923, but Molesley approaches her at Grantham House while the Prince of Wales is dancing upstairs with Lady Rose MacClare. He insists to her that he doesn't know what's in her past and doesn't wish to, but she cannot let Thomas bully her or pull her into his schemes. She feels that is easier said than done, but he insists that it is sometimes better to take a risk than do the wrong thing. She becomes encouraged not to be afraid of her past and what it includes, telling Molesley, when they and the other servants are at the seaside, that his strength has made her strong - much to his amazement.

1924Edit

Baxter's secret has been revealed: she stole jewelry from her former mistress, Mrs. Benton, which included two diamond bracelets, a pearl necklace with a ruby clasp and four rings, and pretended that a burglary had taken place. Her penance for this crime was serving three years in prison. Thomas got her this job after her prison sentence, and keeps tabs on her and has threatened to tell Lady Grantham (Cora) her secret. With some urging from Molesley, who has not yet known about Baxter's past, Baxter tells Cora about her past before Thomas does.

Cora is confused but shocked that she employed a jewel thief to look after her jewels and states that it does not make any sense. Cora does not know whether to let Baxter stay or fire her as she still feels that there is more to Baxter's story than she has shared. Even when Molesley is told about Baxter's past, he feels that she must have had a specific reason for her jewelry theft, like if someone she cared about was in trouble or something.

Both Molesley and Cora are torn between their fondness for Baxter and their own moral codes. She subsequently tells Cora that she was forced to steal her former mistress's jewelry because a footman in the house named Peter Coyle made her do it. She explains she let him make her evil like himself. He asked her to steal the jewels and meet him afterwards, but he did not - he had fled and she was left to take the blame. With this explanation, Cora lets Baxter stay. Baxter also asked Lady Grantham not to bring up the subject again.

Baxter finds out that Thomas is unknowingly poisoning himself to "cure" his homosexuality. Baxter tries to stop Thomas, but the latter rebuffs baxter. Eventually, Thomas asks Baxter for help about the "cure," and Baxter takes Thomas to Richard Clarkson. After Baxter helps Thomas, he starts to warm up to her.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Willis and Inspector Vyner question Baxter about the death of Alex Green, which gets Anna and Bates into police suspicion. When Anna is arrested and then released on bail following Bates' false confession to the death of Green, Baxter and Molesley spend time in York trying to prove Bates' innocence. They eventually do, and on Christmas Eve, Bates and Anna are reunited.

1925Edit

Thomas is being mistreated by the staff, and Baxter tries to sympathize with Thomas, but Thomas refuses her sympathy.

Later, Baxter is visited by Sergeant Willis who asks her questions about Peter Coyle, whom Baxter worked with five years before. Willis tries to convince Baxter to testify at Coyle's trial that he uses unsuspecting women to do his crimes. Baxter does not give in, so Molesley goes to Cora about the situation. When Willis visits again, Baxter reluctantly gives in.

Daisy is displeased at Cora's hesitation at giving Yew Tree Farm to Mr Mason, and she goes upstairs to confront Cora. When the staff fail at stopping Daisy, Baxter goes with her and in a last-ditch effort tries to convince her to stop, but Baxter fails. Daisy is stopped from exploding at Cora in a nick of time when Robert and Cora give the news that Mr Mason will shortly be allowed to move into Yew Tree Farm.

Baxter and Molesley go to York for Coyle's trial to testify against Coyle. When the latter sees the list of witnesses that were to testify against him, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. Baxter is relieved at this.

Baxter is informed that Coyle has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Shortly after, she receives a letter from Coyle requesting that Baxter visits him in jail. Molesley advises Baxter to discard the letter, but Baxter refuses.

Baxter is present at the Brooklands race on July 20, 1925. When Charlie Rogers' car catches fire, Anna runs to the scene, and Bates, due to his bad leg, asks Baxter to accompany her. Later that night, Baxter congratulates Anna on her soon-to-be baby.

Baxter accompanies Molesley to the schoolhouse for moral support, but Molesley brings up something about Thomas, about him saying that he hoped that Molesley would make more of his life than he ever made of his. Baxter immediately realizes that Thomas intends to commit suicide. She then runs to the house, notifies Andrew, and fetches Mrs Carson. They then carry Thomas to his bed, and then they call Dr Clarkson to operate on him. Clarkson comments that Baxter arrived in the nick of time to same Thomas' life.

AppearancesEdit

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

Trivia Edit

  • She is the third of Cora's maids who has some kind of relationship with Thomas.
  • She likes milk but no sugar in her coffee.

References Edit

Start a Discussion Discussions about Phyllis Baxter

  • Has Baxter a soft spot on Thomas ?

    6 messages
    • What I would dearly love to see is the sequel where Molesley finds himself as a kind of informal stepfather to Thomas. How is he going to cope?
    • As he does care for Thomas, I suppose he would find it difficult.

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