A photograph from the 1880s by Jersey photographer Philip Godfray showing La Coupée
Sark is rather more than three miles in length and 1½ mile in breadth. It consists of two parts connected by a narrow neck; the north part is the largest, and 2 miles in length, the southern, or Little Sark, is less than one mile in length, and narrow; the connecting isthmus is called the Coupée. The area of Sark is about five square miles. As the harbour for landing passengers is on the farther side of the island, it is about 9 miles to sail from Guernsey.
In 1564, Elizabeth I granted a lease to Helier De Carteret, Seigneur of St Ouen in Jersey, to be held by him and his heirs in perpetuity. He divided it up into 40 tenements and sub-let these to 40 tenants. The lease passed to the Le Pelley family of Guernsey in the 18th Century, and into the Collings family in the 19th century, from whom the current Seigneur descends. (See also List of Seigneurs of Sark).
The feudal landholding system, and associated government of the island, continued until the early 21st Century by which time it became the longest surviving feudal government in Europe.In 2008, the island's Chief Pleas approved a law enabling the feudal government to be dismantled, and in December 2008, the first elections were held.
Mervyn Peake's novel Mr Pye, published in 1953, was set on the island.
In his 1906 novel, Sir Nigel, Arthur Conan Doyle includes a legend based in 14th century Sark How Black Simon claimed forfeit from the King of Sark
Old Family Houses
- Bradford, KG, A Visit to Sark in 1844, RGS, 1967
- Cochrane, Jennifer, The Tale of the Sark Quilt, RGS, 1988
- Cook, R, Liberation Day in Sark, RGS, 1995
- De Sausmarez, Rosemary, Obituary: The Dame of Sark, RGS, 1974
- Coysh, Victor, The Sark Visit, RGS, 1965
- Coysh, Victor, Has Sark's Charm Departed?, RGS, 1979
- Coysh, Victor, Sark Then and Now, RGS, 1984
- Coysh, Victor, Sark 1918-1988, RGS, 1988
- Coysh, Victor, In deepest Sark, RGS, 1988
- Hathaway, Dame Sybil, La Seigneurie, Sark, RGS, 1953
- McCormack, John, Sark: A Renaissance, 2 parts, RGS, 2000
- McCormack, John, The Abandonment of Sark, RGS, 1998
- Marr, James, The Last Boat from Sark, RGS, 1980
- Ouseley, Maurice, Sark Military Installations RGS, 1976
- Robson, A, The Sark Church, RGS, 1948
- Sheppard, JC, Royal Visits to Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, RGS, 1966
- Sherwill, Sir Ambrose, Sark and Divorce, RGS, 1962
- Tourtel, Rev RH, Ancient Names of the Bays, Creeks, Rocks of Sark, RGS, 1951
- The Parable of the Sower, in the Sark dialect and the Guernsey dialect, RGS, 1963
- The Sark Mines, RGS, 1951
- Isle of Sark Chief Pleas - island government web site