Friday, 12 November 2010

The Stow-Crats

“A few rich people, many of them aristocrats, own 69% of the land in Britain” says the New Statesman (20 Sept 2004). Americans call anyone who’s got a lot of money and a big house an “aristocrat”, but in Britain they have titles given to them by royalty way back in the mists of – about 500 years ago. A lot of British “heritage” only goes back to the Tudors.

Stow-Crats are more likely to condemn people and things as “vulgar” than denigrate them as “common”. They have their do’s and don’ts, but they codify them and talk about them, unlike the upper middles, who have to follow an Unwritten Law. Stow-Crats turn out to support Covent Garden and Glyndebourne, but the oddest people are going there nowadays. They prefer Grange Park, where you can hire an Indian pavilion, and a separate one for your servants, and everyone wears black tie (men) or floorlength midnight blue or oxblood taffeta with a pale pashmina.

They have their own chapel on their estate. This is nearly always Church of England, but it’s really, really grand to have been Catholic since before the Reformation.

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