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Win one of three signed copies of Brilliant Britain by Jane Peyton

Win one of three signed copies of Brilliant Britain:  A Celebration of Its Unique Traditions & Customs by Jane Peyton.

Brilliant Britain is an entertaining compendium of the marvellous quirks, oddities and idiosyncrasies that define our nation. This book lifts the lid on Britain’s rich heritage of eccentricity and diversity, exploring unique rites and peculiar traditions.

For instance:

• The Queen has many titles – arguably the most unusual is ‘Seigneur of the Swans’.  This dates from the 12th century when the Monarch bestowed swans with royal status and claimed ownership of all mute swans in England.

• The most unusual place that a cricket match is played must surely be the Brambles Sand Bank in the Solent between mainland Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.  The sand bar rises above sea level only once a year for 45 minutes.  Each year two teams sail out to the Brambles and play a damp game of cricket before the tide rises again.  But first, they install the Brambles Inn – a portable ‘pub’ to serve refreshments to the spectators and players.

• Married couples in Great Dunmow, Essex can demonstrate their devotion to each other every four years in a Leap Year by entering the Dunmow Flitch Trials.  In front of a judge and jury they have to prove their commitment to each other.  If they manage to persuade the jury of their fidelity, they win a Flitch – that is a side of bacon. This tradition may date back to the 12th century.  Chaucer refers to it in the Canterbury Tales.

• The Tower of London is a fortress.  To enter the Tower at night people need to know the ‘The Word’.  This is a password that changes every day.  It is issued by the Ministry of Defence to the Governor of the Tower.  Each day at 2.50pm, a group of Yeomen Warders (a.ka. the Beefeaters) marches to the Byward Tower to collect ‘The Word’. It is written on a sheet of paper and secured in a leather pouch.  The officer in charge distributes ‘The Word’ to people who need to know.  Without it, there is no access to the Tower after 10pm.


‘Jane Peyton’s punchy guide to the nation’s craziest customs is packed with entertaining snippets about events, languages, recipes and festivities that define our nation will make you proud to be British.’ (The Daily Mail).

Terms and Conditions for Spectator Club competitions

The promoter is: Spectator Ltd (company no. 1232804) whose registered office is at 22 Old Queen Street. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except employees of The Spectator and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition. Overseas subscribers may enter but must nominate a UK resident for the prize to be posted to. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Closing date for entry will be 30/11/2020. After this date then no further entries to the competition will be permitted. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. The rules of the competition and how to enter are as follows:

  1. The Spectator reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  2. The Spectator is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
  3. The prize is as follows: one of three signed copies of Brilliant Britain by Jane Peyton

The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

Winners will be chosen:30/11/2020 by our judges, from all entries received and verified by Spectator and or its agents.

  1. The winner will be notified by email within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
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  4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
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