Ever dreamed of living a royal life? Today, we bring you a chance to make that dream come true. We’re talking about a mysterious small British island named Piel Island. It is one of the Islands of Furness, England, and its total area is just around 26 acres. This tiny haven offers a unique opportunity for anyone to claim the title of King or Queen of Piel.

But here’s the twist: unlike traditional monarchies, the title here isn’t passed down through royal lineage. Instead, Piel Island has its own set of rules that determine who can ascend to the throne. Curious? Keep scrolling down to find out all about this mysterious land.

History Of Piel Island

To uncover the history of this island, we need to go back over 3,000 years. You’ll be thrilled to know that Piel Island’s story begins long before recorded history.

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We find this island’s name mentioned in British folklore and tales. It is the very place on earth where fantasy mixes with reality. Now, to quench your curiosity, let’s explore its mystic past in more detail.

First Human On Piel Island

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Piel Island’s early phase of history takes you to the beginning of the great migration of people to Britain. It is assumed that the Celts visited this island during the 2nd millennium BC. Experts could not find that much information about people’s lives in this place before 1000 AD.

Initiation Of The Port of Furness

As per the records, at the end of the 1000s, this island’s name was Fowdray or Foudray. This name is derived from its function as a fire beacon to guide ocean traffic. At that time, it was the residence of Scandinavian settlers. As per some experts, settlers graze their animals here.

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However, we see it was under the governance of King Sthepen in the 1100s. In 1127, the king allocated this land to the Savigny monks as part of the abbey of Savigny in Northern France. Gradually, it became a crucial harboring point as soon as the Savignacs became part of Cistercian in the 12th century. At that time, it received the title “Port of Furness.”

The Establishment Of Bailey Castle

Piel Island was considered a strategic location for the British. Due to its growing importance in the maritime trade, pirates started to attack its harbor and the anchored ships.

Source: Historic England Archive

As a result, fortification took place, and the castle was built. Yes, the Bailey castle you see on today’s Piel Island was built in the 14th century.

Start Of Shipping And Other Industries

The period between 1650 and 1880 is considered important for the development of this island. Until the end of the 17th century, Piel was used as a shipbuilding spot and contributed to ocean trade.

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From the start of the mid-18th century, it served as the spot of a customs collection. Later on, till the end of the 19th century, this island was used as a crucial point for ships entering, housing, and construction.

The Shared Ownership Of Piel

You will be surprised to know that for approximately 70 years, Piel’s ownership was shared by the Duke of Buccleuch and Mr. C W Archibald. As per the shared ownership, Duke was the owner of the castle and the Ship Inn.

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On the other hand, Archibald owned the rest of the places. Later, in 1874, the Duke purchased the whole land and commissioned massive repair work for the castle.

Piel Became The WWI Memorial

After ruling the land single-handed, the Duke tried to sell the island in 1919, which eventually failed due to the intervention of the Mayor of Barrow. In 1920, it became a World War One memorial for the town of Barrow-in-Furness.

Source: Flickr/Alexander Baxevanis

Finally, in 1972, it became under the governance of the Secretary of State for the Environment, which was later transferred to England Heritage.

The Castle Of Piel Island

The Castle of Piel Island, also called Foundry Castle, was constructed in the 14th century. The monks of Furness Abbey built it to keep an eye on the local harbor. The castle was built primarily from local beach stones with red sandstone accents.

Source: Flickr/Daniel Mennerich

Today, the castle stands as a reminder of mediaeval defensive architecture. While it’s not accessible to the public anymore, it still stands proudly as a significant landmark and draws many tourists.

The Ship Inn

The Ship Inn at Piel is basically a pub established in the 17th century. At that time, it was used for the maritime officers’ gathering and supply storage. Historically, this pub was also known as “Publick House” and “The Hardhouse.”

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We will come up with this place in detail, as it is the most significant establishment within your kingdom after you become the King or Queen of Piel without having any blue blood.

Becoming The King Of Piel Island

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As mentioned earlier, Piel Island allows you to become a king or queen of this kingdom even though you do not belong to or have no connection with the royal families of England. Let’s look at the ins and outs of the process of becoming the King, the responsibilities, and everything else related to this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Your Chance to Become King or Queen

Your wait has come to an end. Now, we’ll finally reveal the secret to becoming the ruler of this mystic island without any further ado. The sure ticket to the throne is to apply to be the landlord of the Ship Inn we mentioned earlier.

Source: Pixabay/Ruth Archer

Following a competitive selection procedure, the person chosen receives both the ownership of the pub along with the prestigious title of “King” or “Queen” of the Island. So, all we can advise is that in order to fulfill your dream of ruling your own kingdom, it’s high time to nurture your hospitality qualities, everyone.

The Unique Tradition of Crowning The “King” or “Queen”

Becoming a “King” or “Queen” is undeniably thrilling, but it’s about Piel Island; the crowning ceremony is hands down more thrilling than you can imagine. The process involves pouring beer over the newly appointed ruler as they sit on the throne.

Source: The Ship Inn / Facebook/Aaron Sanderson during his coronation ceremony.

Rooted in a tradition dating back to the 15th century, when Lambert Simnel was crowned, the ceremony is steeped in history. Today, the island continues this age-old tradition of crowning its new monarch. It is supposed that the legacy of the past lives on in the present.

Multiple Titles Are Given At The Ceremony

Throughout this unique coronation ceremony, the newly crowned monarch receives many honourable titles. Some of the titles are “King or Queen”, “Protector of the Realm”, “Guardian of Tradition” and “Keeper of the Island’s Spirit”.

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Can you feel the chill by reading, already? Think, how it would feel to attend one just in person! These titles are offered one after the other to honor the ruler’s position. Aside from honoring, these titles affirm the new ruler’s commitment to serve the island and its residents with the utmost dignity and devotion.

The Oath Of The New Ruler

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The ceremony also includes an oath-taking event. The new ruler swears to be “a good smoker” and “a good drinker.” He or she also needs to promise to “upkeep the castle.” You see, the whole oath topic revolves around the ideal characteristics of a pubkeeper for keeping the island’s vibrant pub culture alive and retaining its historical legacy.

Who Crowns The New King

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When you are selected as the new king, the old king of Piel Island will crown you. The ceremony usually occurs in front of visitors to the island. This usually attracts visitors, and they seem to enjoy it and happily participate in the crowning event. Especially, the beer-pouring part is epic!

Requirements to Apply For The Process

As per the council’s website, the candidate can be of any ethnicity and nationality. So, it is really true that you can be the king of this island. But there are some basic requirements, like that you have to prove your competency to entertain a mass number of island visitors. Then you have solid mental and physical health to deal with the isolation period when there are no visitors on the island.

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Importantly, you must be able to cope with harsh climate conditions. Furthermore, you have to prove your ability to work for long hours. Finally, you must apply before April of the respective year of your desire to rule this kingdom.

You Rule From The “Ship Inn”

As you become the new ruler, you have the royal responsibility to rule the whole of the island except the castle. Not to mention, your utmost attention should still be on the “Ship Inn.” To make that happen, you’ll get all the arrangements to settle in there.

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The Ship Inn is altogether a restaurant, a pub, and a bunkhouse, which allows budget travellers to stay at a very cheap rate. Hone up your hotel management still to make yourself a tough contender.

Other Duties As The King of Piel

Besides taking care of the “Ship Inn” and the surrounding areas, you have some other duties on your shoulders. So, here’s the twist, you become a monarch, but you also have to take up the responsibilities of a caretaker and electrician in the area.

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On top of that, if any camper or daytime visitor gets injured, you’ll be the one providing first aid. So, as a king, your duties go beyond ruling an army or making policies; instead of those you’re entrusted with some crucial other responsibilities of daily life.

Difficulties You Must Consider

While the title might entice you to grab the opportunity, it’s essential to consider the challenges that come with it. Firstly, the winter attacks with all the coldness, snow, and wetness. The vast open space and sea wind will test your physical ability to do the outside chores during the winter.

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Also, note that you won’t have prompt access to any healthcare facility, particularly for emergencies. This could pose serious risks, especially for older individuals. Therefore, careful consideration is advised before taking on this role.

Are You Still Interested??

So, what do you think about this one-of-a-kind opportunity that can make you a legit “King” or “Queen? Are you genuinely interested in becoming a ruler for a year on Piel Island? If the answer is yes, visit the council’s website and fill out the application form with the requested information. Submit it with the required documentation.

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The council will evaluate your application with others. If they find you competent, they will invite you to their selection process to offer you the role. We also suggest you contact the council in advance, as they do not run the program every year.