Written by T and i to Campbell Scott, CNN
Expatriates have been influential in many aspects of British history, from courtly love to modern race relations. But the best part? They were also crucial to an elite group of aristocrats that lasted into the 20th century.
1 / 5 – Punishment Mills
In the early 18th century, Henry VIII introduced Punishment Mills , which served to discipline the male and female underclass. The structure followed the sado-masochistic game of torture set by the authors of the erotic “Savage in Law” , a book made popular by small, young British women who loved the boobalicious sex depicted in illustrations. Fashionable wealthy unmarried young women stripped naked with blood on their hands and feet (clearly meant to suggest the feckless penchants of disreputable women) then tied to tree trunks where they remained for days.
Henry VIII’s wife Catherine of Aragon had long nails, and men rarely gave the finger. Aspen wine was a marker of wealth and class in Elizabethan England. Credit: Knox Archive/CORBIS
But Britain’s expat elite could travel to Paris and bring unique cultural experiences back to their countrymen. This was especially the case during the 17th and 18th centuries, when affluent French nobles might be deported in revenge for a crime they had committed. The privileged aristocrats stood a better chance of avoiding the deportation than their poor countrymen — so they frequently retired to Britain in search of riches.
Eventually, foreign nationals were able to buy a British passport, becoming a citizen, which came in handy to celebrate aspects of their “native” heritage such as Spam, Champagne and Quantocks. Today’s immigration laws are much more stringent and few foreigners can get British citizenship.