A Tiny Island off the coast of England just put out an open call for a new Monarch
Kaleena Fraga /All That Interesting:
Always dreamed of being royalty? Now’s your chance. Tiny Piel Island off the northwest coast of England is looking for a full-time “king” — and 190 people have already applied for the post.
Technically, the island is looking for a landlord to oversee its 50 acres of land and run the island’s pub, the centuries-old Ship Inn. But the island’s landlord gets an honorary crown and title as well.
“The tradition holds that each new landlord is crowned ‘King of Piel’ in a ceremony of uncertain origin, in which they sit in an ancient chair, wearing a helmet and holding a sword while alcohol is poured over their head,” explained the Barrow Borough Council.
At the ceremony, the new “king” (or “queen” — the position is open to anyone) also swears an oath. They must vow to be a good smoker, a good drinker, and to “give anyone found dead on the sands free refuge in the pub.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this royal job post has generated international interest. Applications have poured in from across the world. But Sandra Baines, head of visitor economy and culture at Barrow Borough Council, warns that the job is “not the dream people might think it is.”
For starters, Piel Island’s monarch has more to do than lounge around on their beer-soaked throne all day. The landlord must also oversee Ship Inn and take care of “grounds maintenance of the surrounding area and management of camping and the toilet and shower block.” What’s more, life on Piel Island isn’t for everyone — and the job post is for a ten-year contract. Though the island may bustle with activity in the summer, it grows quiet in the fall and winter. “You are virtually stuck on the island alone,” noted John Murphy, a Piel Island expert and tour guide.
The island’s 12-person ferry only runs from nearby Roa Island between April and September. And no bridges connect Piel Island to the mainland, though brave souls can walk two miles across the sands at low tide. “While there are periods when the pub and the island [are] bustling with people, there will be periods of quiet too — something the successful applicant will need to embrace,” explained Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council. For the right person, though, such a post may be a dream come true.
“It’s an opportunity for somebody that’s really open-minded, loves that style of business, loves the outside, loves history,” said Tony Callister, a member of the Barrow Borough Council. Piel Island may be small, but its history is nothing short of dramatic. Although the island was historically a part of the county of Lancashire, the Duke of Buccleuch gifted the land to the nearby town of Barrow-in-Furness in 1920 as a World War I memorial.