Cambria’s Piel Island has an opening for a new “king,” but it does come with a few drawbacks.

Just off the north-west coast of England lies an island where a recluse who doesn’t mind a pint and some hard work could find paradise. There is currently a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available to run the historic Ship Inn and be crowned “king” of Piel Island.

Why king? Like many things in England, it’s all tradition. During the 18th century the landlord of the Ship Inn was known as the “King of Piel” which originated from Lambert Simnel and his attempt to usurp the English throne. There is an oak chair in which whoever sits in it becomes a “Knight of Piel.”

In order to become a Knight of Piel there is a cost… you must buy a round of drinks for everyone present! The original intent and privilege given to the knights was that they could demand food and lodging off the King should they be shipwrecked on Piel. Now, it just seems like a bit of fun.

Even the king gets to enjoy it as part of the coronation ceremony sees the king sitting in the chair with a rusty sabre while beer is poured over their head.

Weirdly enough, no one really knows the pub’s origin. There are claims that it is over 300 years old, but the evidence is shaky as the earliest direct reference to a pub or inn on the island is from 1800.

The Ship Inn

As King of Piel...

Unfortunately, as King, you won’t quite have the luxury often associated with the title. No, instead you will be charged with the upkeep of the pub and the entire island.

The previous owners retired in 2020 after the pandemic forced them to shut their doors. It has since been reopened in July 2021 under temporary management but now a more permanent publican is being sought after.

As king, the responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining the entire island “in an environmentally-friendly way.”
  • Welcoming the island’s campers
  • Organising outdoor seating
  • General maintenance work
  • “All aspects of the island, except for urgent repairs to the buildings and jetty maintenance”

If that doesn’t sound all too bad and you’re sick of the noise and hustle of urban life, maybe you should consider applying?

Sandra Baines, head of visitor economy and culture, said that the role is “very much about preserving its [the island’s] beauty, its natural habitat.” She did warn that life on a remote island does have its drawbacks and it was “not the dream people might think it is.”

Maybe it might be better if you and the boys took a trip there and became knights rather than accepting the role of king? Heavy is the head, after all.  

For more fun little tidbits like this, check out the study that confirms Australia is a nation of pissheads.