Above stairs at Gosford Park
Sir William McCordle
Baronet; owner of Gosford Park; new money
William had his pick of either of the Earl of Carton's two daughters. Louisa and Sylvia cut cards for him, and Sylvia cut higher. William preferred Louisa, who is less snobbish than her sister, and takes every opportunity to show his favouritism, even to the point of changing his will to leave Louisa £100,000. However, the will was never signed.
William owned four factoriestwo in Twickenham, and two in Isleworth. All of them were at the turn of the century full of young girls. William often had liaisons with his factory workers, and when the girl in question became pregnant, she either had to give up her baby, or lose her job. McCordle told the girls that the babies were being adopted, and that he knew the families. In reality, he was leaving them at an orphanage in Isleworth.
William is characterised as "a hard-hearted randy old sod" but Elsie the head housemaid has a soft sport for him, as he often told her she could be anything she wanted to be if she wanted it enough. He also carries his dog Pip with him everywhere he goes. He loves shooting, even though he cannot hit a barn door. He is very touchy about the fact that he did not serve in World War I.
Lady Sylvia McCordle
(Kristin Scott Thomas)
Married to Sir William; from old but impoverished family; titled snob
Sylvia actively dislikes her husband, is ashamed of her plain ungraceful daughter, and delights in teasing her sister's stolid husband Raymond, Lord Stockbridge with whom she once had an affair.
Sylvia frequently dallies with handsome visiting servants, a fact known to her husband who agrees to Morris Weissman's scheme to pass off his young lover Henry Denton as a valet in the hopes that Sylvia will bed him. When it is revealed that Denton is a guest and not a valet, Sylvia is humiliated, and remains cold to Denton for the rest of the week-end.
She always has a breakfast tray, followed by a ride in the mornings.
Daughter of Sir William and Lady Sylvia
Isobel is being blackmailed by Hon. Freddie Nesbitt, and it is strongly implied that she aborted an illegitimate child by Freddie. Her sole friend and confidant in the house is Elsie the head housemaid who acts as her lady's maid.
She is very much in love with Rupert Standish, however he is a penniless younger son, and therefore her mother does not approve of the match.
Constance, Countess of Trentham
Lady Sylvia's aunt; contemptuous of and dependent on Sir William
Constance is unspeakably rude to everyone she perceives as socially inferior. That would be everyone she comes in contact with. She is infuriated by Mabel Nesbitt's shopgirl awe towards Ivor Novello, and cuts him dead at every turn.
Lady Trentham is currently training an inexperienced young ladies maid she has taken on because it is cheap (a fact she points out in a stage whisper to her niece Sylvia despite the gaucheness of discussing money), and is constantly complaining about how small her allowance is. She attempts to speak to William about having it increased, but he refuses to allow her to speak to him alone at any point during the shooting party, and refers to her as "an old trout".
Raymond, Lord Stockbridge
Lady Sylvia's brother-in-law; married to Louisa; he is a snob
Raymond was a hero during World War One, a fact Sylvia delights in telling the party in order to humiliate her husband WIlliam who did not fight. Raymond refuses to rise to Sylvia's bait, and downplays his past. He is deaf on one ear, and is only at the party for the shooting as he loves country sports.
He puts up with his wife's family despite suspicions that William and Louisa had at some point had an affair. Similarly, Raymond and Sylvia once had an affair but he refuses to respond to her advances as she only uses him to needle William.
He's very fond of Scotland.
Louisa, Lady Stockbridge
Lady Sylvia's younger sister; fond of Sir William; unlike her husband Raymond, she is not a snob
Louisa is the only member of the party aside from Elsie who actually mourns William's death. She always goes shooting with her husband Raymond, and is looks forward to visiting her sister's house because it's a relief to sit next to someone who isn't deaf in one ear. She flirts shamelessly with William in private, and he talks to her and asks her advice. They may or may not be having an affair. In his unsigned will, William left her £100,000.
Lieutenant Commander Anthony Meredith
Ex-officer; broke and desperate; married to Lavinia
Comander Meredith has pinned as his hopes of regaining wealth and position on Sir William investing in his sceheme to modernizing the armies in the Sudan and providing them with boots. he is devestated when William tells him he plans to pull out of the sceheme, and he is saved by William's murder.
Anthony Meredith is a sweet and slightly pathetic figure, hated by his staff, and barely tolerated by his wife's sisters and their powerful husbands. However, prior to the shooting party, he is blissfully unaware of exactly how little others think of him. His pride is badly wounded when he realises how much of a failure he is seen as by others, and he skips dinner to nurse his wounds by hiding in the stillroom and eating jam like a little boy.
Meredith is the only one of William's brothers-in-law who loves and is loved by his wife. After a conversation with the stillroom maid, Dorothy, Meredith realises his good fortune, and kisses Lavinia full on the mouth in the drawing room after dinner.
Comander Meredith is very sensitive about his height, and Lord Stockbridge gently mocks him about it, after he accidently wings William during the days shooting.
Lady Lavinia Meredith
Lady Sylvia's youngest sister; supportive wife of Anthony
Lavinia is ashamed of the way her husband is treated by her sisters and their husbands, but not ashamed of Anthony. She counsels him to try not to appear so pathetic, but when all is said and done, she adores him, and knows how lucky she is to love her husband, when faced with her older sisters disasterous relationships.
Despite their meagre means, Lavinia believes a woman who travels with no maid has lost her self-respect. According to her maid, Sarah, she calls it 'giving in'. She tries to amolerate Anthony's behaviour, convincing him to stay after William humiliates him at dinner by announcing he is pulling out of investing in Meredith's busienss.
The Hon. Freddie Nesbitt
Blackmailing Isobel; married to Mabel; has lost his job
Married to Freddie; daughter of a factory owner; Freddie married her believing her to be wealthy; they cannot afford servants
Lord Rupert Standish
Penniless younger son of a marquess; courting Isobel
Friend of Lord Rupert
British matinee idol and film star; Sir William's cousin
American film producer; makes Charlie Chan movies; friend of Ivor Novello
Links of Interest