09.04.

2008: Island of Sark – The Last Feudal Estate in Europe

2008: Island of Sark – The Last Feudal Estate in Europe
Photo Credit To channel-islands.geographs.org

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 9 April 2008
  • John Michael Beaumont today holds the title of "lord" (Seigneur) of the island of Sark, between England and France. It is interesting that this island is not part of the European Union and it does not belong to the United Kingdom, but is directly subject to the British crown (i.e. a Crown Dependency).
The Island of Sark, located between the coasts of France and England, is apparently the last feudal estate in Europe.
Namely, the island is royal fief owned by John Michael Beaumont, who has the title of “lord” (French: Seigneur).
Politically, the island is part of the possessions of the British Crown, but Queen Elizabeth I gave it as a feud to its first “lord” in the 16th century. Since the position of “lord” is hereditary, there were as many as 22 “lords”, one after the other, until this day.
John Michael Beaumont became the 22nd “lord” of Sark back in 1978, inheriting the function from his grandmother. He swore in to the British Queen Elizabeth II when she visited his island (she is his sovereign).
The island of Sark has about 545 hectares, and it has a population of approximately 600 people. It is interesting that Sark is not part of the European Union and it does not belong to the United Kingdom, but is directly subject to the British crown (i.e. a Crown Dependency).
On this day in the year 2008, there was an attempt to abolish the remnants of feudalism on Sark trough political reform. Namely, the democratic election of representatives for the Sark parliament was introduced. Likewise, the “lord” lost some of his specific feudal rights.
For example, his right to be the only one on the island allowed to keep a neutered dog was abolished. However, to this day the “lord” has kept his monopoly on keeping pigeons on the island.
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