NEWBURY, England — He is a farmer, she says, and she is a farmer’s wife. They are active in their community. She writes a bit on the side, her writing room only recently having been wired for electricity.On my recent visit to her home, she was warm and welcoming. Her yellow Lab, Bella, followed her closely as her mistress ushered visitors into the house.And oh my. What a house. Two hundred rooms. Forty bedrooms. Silk wallcoverings in one room, 16th century Spanish leather wallcoverings in another. An original Van Dyck. A display on Egyptology, in honor of one of the previous occupants who just happened to have discovered King Tut’s tomb.Hundreds of other treasures make it abundantly clear that you are not in Kansas anymore. You are, instead, on the set of “Downton Abbey,” but it’s not a set at all. It is Highclere Castle, and when Season 4 begins Sunday for American viewers of the wildly popular PBS show, it is this magnificent home they will see, outside and partly inside too.The farmer’s wife, as she called herself — the Countess of Carnarvon — has tried hard to keep it a home, she says, rather than a museum, although… Read full this story
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