English Island With 14th Century Castle Seeks King or Queen

The English island of Piel, complete with 14th century Piel Castle, is seeking a worthy monarch, who will perform a number of essential tasks including running the 300 year-old pub situated there.

The search began this month to find the next king or queen of the 50-acre Piel Island, off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in the north of England.

The island is seeking a new leader, after the previous monarch left in July 2021. A partnership organisation is currently running the island. Would-be monarchs need not be part of the British Royal Family's blood line to apply for the role.

The new king or queen will be "crowned" by having alcohol poured over their head while sitting in an ancient chair, wearing a helmet and holding a sword, Barrow Borough Council said on its website.

With the search now underway, the council want the new monarch—a person with "sound local knowledge"—to start in April, the BBC reported.

The only way to get to the island is by ferry. Although the role may be isolated and include long hours, stunning sunsets can be enjoyed, as well as frequent seal sightings.

The council offered a word of caution. Although the island was "a great asset to Cumbria," it warned it was "a unique place and any operator needs to appreciate the constraints offered by power and weather."

Barrow Borough Council said that the role encompasses the maintenance of the pub and the surrounding area, well as management of camping areas and the toilet and shower blocks. The council said by the time the new applicant takes over, there will be a new toilet block and possibly a green energy supply to the pub.

On its tourism website, Barrow Council said: "Piel Island has a long and interesting history and is of considerable importance in the local area both because of its links to Furness Abbey and as a major deep water harbour.

"It has a castle managed by English Heritage and a pub, The Ship Inn.

"The island hosts a large programme of events throughout the summer.

"One of the most enduring aspects of the Ship Inn is the tradition of the king and knights of Piel.

"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.

"By the 19th Century it had become an important aspect of the island's history to such an extent that responsibility for looking after the helmet and chair fell within the tenancy agreement.

"The island is a historic site and a site of special scientific interest. Visitors can ramble amongst the castle ruins and stroll along the beach but are asked to respect the built and natural environment of this special place. Camping outside the designated camping areas and Open fires are not permitted on the island."

Newsweek contacted Barrow Council for more comment on the position.

Piel Castle
A Google Street View image of Piel Island and its 14th century castle. The islet, off the coast of Cumbria, northern England, is looking for a new monarch to oversee its operations. Google Street View