Our History & Heritage
Sark, as we know it today, was settled in 1565 by Helier DeCarteret from Jersey. Helier was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I to colonise the island and defend it against pirates and French invasion. Helier brought forty men to live on Sark and the island was divided into 40 tenements that are still present today. Helier became the island's first Seigneur and feudal ruler. Sark remained the last feudal state in Europe until 2008 when the island became a democracy.
During WWII Sark was occupied, along with the other Channel Islands. The German soldiers arrived in 1940 and stayed until the island was liberated on 10th May, 1945, the day after Guernsey and two days after Europe was liberated. For nearly 5 years the locals and German soldiers lived side by side on this tiny island.
Today, we think of Sark as being a mix of English, Norman French and Channel Island cultures. This fusion is evident in the island's traditional dishes, clothing, pastimes and perhaps most notably in Sark's Patois language, Sercquaise. Almost all of the island's house, street and landmark names are written in Sercquaise, albeit pronounced in an Anglicised accent.
In this way and many others Sark is a juxtaposition of old and new, tradition & modernity, isolation & freedom.