A DESCENDANT of the real Lord Grantham – fictionally familiar from the television series Downton Abbey – has unveiled a plaque highlighting the aristocrat’s links with North Yorkshire.

Richard Compton, who owns the Newby Hall estate, near Ripon, visited the city’s Prison and Police Museum yesterday for a ceremony to honour the 3rd Lord Grantham, the 19th century architect who designed the cell block that was added to Ripon House of Correction in 1816.

At the ceremony, Mr Compton, the president of the Historic Houses Association, spoke about the importance of visitors to the city's economy.

Lord Grantham, who like in the television series had an eldest daughter called Lady Mary, was the first president of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects.

There are numerous references to Ripon and its surrounding towns and villages in the television series, which inspired its writer Julian Fellowes.

Ripon Civic Society said it hoped the plaque, which also notes the building’s subsequent history as a police station from 1887 to 1958, would add interest for visitors to the city.