Sark is 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).
During World War II, the island was occupied by German forces, in common with the rest of the Channel Islands.
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.
Old Family Houses
- La Seigneurie
A Jersey cow in Sark, photograph by Philip Godfray
The coast, photograph by Philip Godfray
Brecqhou, viewed from Sark, photograph by Philip Godfray
The Hamon family of Sark, photograph by Philip Godfray
Harbour Hill, photograph by Philip Godfray