Sark

Sark is a small island in the southwestern English Channel. It is one of the Channel Islands, is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and as such is a British crown dependency. It has a population of about 600. Sark’s main industries are tourism, crafts and finance. Sark has an area of two square miles (5.45 km). Sark was the last European territory to abolish what some called classic feudalism.

Sark consists of two main parts, Greater Sark and Little Sark to the south. They are connected by a narrow isthmus called La Coupe which is just nine feet (3 m) wide with a drop of 300 feet (91 m) on either side. Protective railings were erected in 1900; before then, children would crawl across on their hands and knees to avoid being blown over the edge. There is a narrow concrete road covering the entirety of the isthmus, built in 1945 by German prisoners of war under the direction of the Royal Engineers.

The highest point on Sark is 374 feet (114 m) above sea-level. A windmill, dated 1571 is found here, the sails of which were removed by the Germans during their occupation in World War II. This location is also the highest point in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Little Sark had a number of mines as well as a source of galena. At Port Gorey, the ruins of silver mines can still be seen. Just off the south end of Little Sark is the Venus Pool, a natural swimming pool, and the Adonis Pool.

The island of Brecqhou is also under the jurisdiction of Sark, only a few hundred feet west of Greater Sark. It is a private island that is not open to visitors. Since 1993 the tenement of Brecqhou has been owned by David Barclay, one of the Barclay brothers, identical twins, who are better known as co-owners of The Daily Telegraph. They contest Sark’s control over the island.

Sark has an Anglican church (St. Peter’s, built 1820) and a Methodist church. John Wesley first proposed a mission to Sark in 1787. Jean de Quetteville of Jersey subsequently began preaching there, initially in a cottage at Le Clos Geon and then at various houses around Sark. Preachers from Guernsey visited regularly, and in 1796, land was donated by Jean Vaudin, leader of the Methodist community in Sark, for the construction of a chapel, which Jean de Quetteville dedicated in 1797. In the mid-1800s there was a small Plymouth Brethren assembly. Its most notable member was the classicist William Kelly (1821-1906). Kelly was then the tutor to the Seigneur’s children.

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