Buggins' turn

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Buggins' turn or Buggins's turn is appointment to a position by rotation or seniority rather than by merit.[1]

This practice in the British Royal Navy was a concern of the reforming Admiral Fisher (1841 –1920) who wrote, "Going by seniority saves so much trouble. 'Buggins's turn' has been our ruin and will be disastrous hereafter!"[2]

Buggins previously appeared in an epigram of Robert Herrick.[3]

Upon Buggins
Buggins is Drunke all night, all day he sleepes;
This is the Levell-coyle that Buggins keeps.

Level-coil was an old party game in which the players changed seats.


  1. ^ Stroud Francis Charles Milsom (2003), "Management, Custom, and Law", A Natural History of the Common Law, Columbia University Press, p. 54, ISBN 9780231129947 
  2. ^ John Arbuthnot Fisher Baron Fisher (1953), Arthur Jacob Marder, ed., Fear God and Dread Nought: The Correspondence of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, Vol. 1, Jonathan Cape, p. 181 
  3. ^ Alastair Fowler (2012), Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature, Oxford University Press, p. 39, ISBN 9780191650994