Well....they were called AGENTS, then ESTATE AGENTS; however, they were really property managers...thank you Downton Abbey.
WHAT? You say were are the property managers? In the early episodes of the PBS series (you can see FREE on Amazon Prime) the finances of the Crawley house were in shambles because eldest daughter, Mary, could not inherit the estate or her American heiress mother’s money. Ways had to be found to make the estate - land and tenant farms - pay more income for the family. The family was downsizing staff as males were leaving to go to WWI and females left for jobs in the city formerly held by males.
When the tenant at Yew Tree Farm died owing a large amount of back rent, eldest daughter Mary, and her father wanted to take over the farm and farm it for themselves. The dead tenant’s son asked to live at the farm and pay the back rent...but Lord Grantham ended up LOANING money to the farmer’s son to help pay some of the delinquent rent back to the estate.
Then we had the adjacent estate that had to be sold, the owners were downsizing, and Daisy’s faux father-in-law would loose his farm when the new owners took over. He got just enough of a reprieve to live happily ever-after a few seasons later.
Meanwhile, Tom Branson and Mary along with heir apparent and Mary’s suitor, Matthew Crawley, want to change some things on the estate, and the estate agent of over 40 years, Mr. Jarvis, does not like their new ideas so he quits. He has a nice, although cluttered and dirty, office on the estate which Tom and Mary quickly make their own.
Mary wants to raise sheep which is almost a disaster when a new flock were not left with enough water and she and a sullen beau have to work all night to feed the little rams and ewes. That finally works out mostly and Mary thinks she can be a property manager so she starts going over the books and estate leases.
Meanwhile, Lord Grantham looses a packet of wife, Cora’s, money in a Canadian railroad scheme so pressure is on Tom and Mary to produce more income for the family.
There are ideas to building subsidized housing at the edge of the village on estate land, however, the townhouses don’t look substantial enough. Typical landlords what to sell their land and have no idea where their buyers or tenants will be coming from as people are flocking to the larger cities for jobs.
Then Edith takes a job in the city, rents a room from Auntie Rosamund, and falls for the married publisher of a magazine she works for. He goes to Germany to get a divorce, and she realizes this might not be the best option for shedding a crazy wife. When Gregson fails to communicate and no one can find him, she realizes she is pregnant. She and roommate, Aunt Rosamund go to Switzerland for the duration, and reappear 6+ months later leaving daughter Marigold with a family in alps. Edith wants her daughter and persuades the family at Yew Tree Farm to pass her off as theirs...The farmer, tenant is not so sure, but the farmer’s wife is keen. This causes problems as frequent inspections of the farm by Lady Edith to see her daughter causes strife to where the Crawley family, once various members learn of Marigold’s parentage, want to raise her in the nursery with Mary’s George and Tom’s Sybbie.
The farmer at Yew Tree could not control his wife after losing Marigold, Mary told them to move, and VIOLA! Daisy’s faux father-in-law, Mr. Mason gets a new farm where Daisy can assist in the management and Alfred, more brawn than brains, can help with the chores, repairs and keep his day-job as footman at the Big House.
Meanwhile, Edith meets shooting chum, Bertie Pelham in London. They survive a crisis at the magazine and Bertie is dispatched to Morocco to claim the body of his dead cousin, the Earl of Hexham. Although the earl had a wife, there were no children so the title and estate fell to his nearest male relative who happened to be...his AGENT, Bertie Pelham. The whole estate including Brancaster Castle in Northumberland becomes Bertie’s and once they get over the slight hurdle of Marigold’s birth, Bertie and Edith become the Marquis and Marchioness of Hexham and Edith then outranks all of the Crawleys on the Downton Abbey chessboard. ......so you see, the movie is really about property managers.