Jeez GQ loves its Brit monarchy threads. This is ancillary.
Last night watched a documentary on the Earl of something (great grandfather luckily married a Rothschild, used money to back King Tut discovery), and, specifically his house, the set for much of Downtown Abbey. (I’ve never seen an episode of the TV show. )
The building, before an early 19th (?) century Neo Gothic appliqué was nicely mansion-y looking, by my USA eyes–like the White House with gigantitis. (http://www.radiotimes.com/uploads/images/original/38402.jpg) Fair enough.
Why is it referred to, in real life–as the current Oil did, and his documentarist-- as a castle? I can’t remember the ancient how-hah of that clan, but I don’t think it was around, certainly not that pile of bricks, when a military defensive structure was necessary, and of course, architecturally, it only “looks” gothic castle-y as a) historical architectural fact and b) as the American and British idea of what a self-respecting castle-with-slits-and-moats, etc. should look like.
So what makes it a castle? It comes with who runs it? (Like the President, who when he rides any airplane–a Piper Cub, say–he is riding Airforce One?)
That that person running it runs a local economy? Or whatever it is nobility does, nominally? So it’s more like saying “the Big House”?
And none of this helps me in wondering why the thing is called an Abbey in the fiction.