October 29, 2015
1996 GUERNSEY (Sark) - Sark Island
The third largest of the islands that form the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Sark has an area of 5.44 sq. km and consists of two main parts, Greater Sark and Little Sark, connected by a isthmus called La Coupée. It also exercises jurisdiction over the island of Brecqhou, only a few hundred meters west of Greater Sark. It is a private island, but it has recently been opened to some visitors.
In ancient times, Sark was annexed by the Roman Empire about 56 BC. Much later, following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the island was united with the Crown of England. In 1565, after centuries on which it served as pirate nest and shelter for monks, Helier de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen in Jersey, received letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I granting him Sark as a fief.
In 2008, Sark dismantled its previous system of government, which had evolved gradually from its original system established in 1565, and described as feudal. However, formally the Seigneur (since 1974 John Michael Beaumont) holds the island as a fief from the Crown, and appoint the Seneschal, the head of the Chief Pleas (the parliament of Sark).
It looks that La Seigneurie was constructed on the site of the monastery of Saint Magloire, which was used between the 6th and 14th centuries. The main house dates from 1675 and has been home to two of Sark’s three Seigneurial families: the Le Pelleys (from 1730) and the Collings (from 1852). The manor built in 1565 by the first Seigneur stands opposite the Visitor Centre and is known as Le Manoir. The house of La Seigneurie as we see it today was never planned as a whole, but evolved in stages, under the whims of successive Seigneurs.
Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music, first mentioned in 1448. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers, usually wearing bell pads on their shins. Implements such as sticks, swords and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. Sark is also one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Britain In Bloom, about which I wrote here.
Sark - Wikipedia
La Seigneurie Gardens, Sark - La Seigneurie Gardens official website
Sark - Isle of Sark official website
Simply Sark - A website about the island
Sender: Kathy Allen-James
Sent from Sark (Guernsey), on 11.04.2015
Photo: Chris Andrews