Luxury and Style

TO THE MANOR BORN

The historic houses and castles of Britain are amongst the finest in the world and were often built as the result of great wealth acquired from mining (such as Cornish copper in the seventeenth century), sheep farming and even the notorious harsh mills in the North of England. By definition a historic house can be a stately home, a castle, the birthplace of a famous person, or a property with an interesting history. Houses were first thought of as historic during the nineteenth century when government protection was given. They read more > >

Tracing ancestors and old family links becomes more appealing as modern life becomes even more high-tech and impersonal; then a longing for times past increases, as does an interest in one’s ancestors. These days fortunately ancestoral trees can be traced through very reliable and experienced companies. Family history can become a passion as the family tree starts to take shape and blossom. Finding one’s roots can throw up many pleasant surprises, on the way, as well as a few shocks, so be warned once you catch the genealogy bug you may read more > >

Have you ever driven past a rambling English manor house and been tempted to stop and gaze up the seemingly endless tree-lined drive, wondering just what life is really like behind those classic portals? You might be surprised to learn that even in the depths of the countryside, where all appears just as it did before, subtle changes are in fact being wrought in the time honoured structure of rural society. In times gone by there was only one kind of resident in an English manor house and that was read more > >

Country gentlemen, and ladies, who make regular business or shopping trips to town are often members of one, or more, London clubs; simply because they find staying in a London club more convenient and more intimate than a hotel. London clubs were, and in many cases still are, having a reputation as the inviolable bastions of the upper classes or the seriously rich and famous. Well-known clubs include White’s, which is over 250 years old – with members from the Royal family, the Royal Automobile Club, the Reform Club, which was the starting point for Phineas Fogg’s ‘journey around read more > >

Staying, even for one night, in a grand stately home, as a private or paying guest, can of course be an utterly unnerving experience for the truly unversed. There are unspoken rules and invisible boundaries that you don’t cross in polite society. For example, when your host says ‘Do make yourself at home – my home is your home’ he means it only up to a point. He doesn’t expect you to empty his whisky decanter, walk mud all over his oriental carpets, play the hi-fi loudly, smoke without asking read more > >

In Britain, traditionally aristocratic titles have always been granted by the reigning sovereign, although, in the last century or two, this has very much been at the hand or instigation of the current government of the day. A title (except in the case of Baronets or Knights) conferred the right on the recipient to sit in the House of Lords, and pass on the title to his nearest male heir. The question of a  newly-bestowed title versus the power of very old aristocracy is often a complicated issue that even read more > >

In the days of old the landed gentry inherited money and as such did not need to work. Their money went on elegant houses, horses for hunting or racing as well as gaming, fine wines and beautiful possessions. They had no need to worry about business or the future; consequently the English public school system (which begins at prep school, from the age of eight) was expected not so much to educate, as to teach leadership, self-reliance and above all strength of character. These days, however, most public schools are read more > >

To most foreigners the perplexing subject of the English aristocracy is at best esoteric, at worst downright confusing. After all, who is considered the true aristocrat, the wealthy lord who is in fact only a life peer up until his death (when his title dies with him) or the impecunious, shabby member of an ancient landed-gentry family, listed in Burke’s Peerage, but now with no title or handle to his name? Unravel some of the mystery of the upper classes by checking out our irreverent guide to the aristocracy. In read more > >