"Sark, the fourth in size of the Channel Islands, stands high, and is surrounded by abrupt cliffs from 100 to 320 feet in height, the land, unlike the other Islands, having no declivity to the sea; it is about 3 miles in length and about 1 miles broad and 9 in circumference, and contains 1,400 English acres, and is the most central and elevated of the whole; it is 6 miles east from Guernsey and 14 miles north-west from Jersey, 18 miles south-west from Alderney, and 24 miles from the French coast. There is a small peninsula, called Little Sark, connected by a natural and very narrow bridge. The rocky scenery throughout the Island is picturesque.
The history of Sark (or, as in the old records, Sercq and Cercq) is necessarily much broken, as at different periods the island was for centuries uninhabited. It was given by Queen Elizabeth, as a reward for faithful services, to Helier de Carteret, of Jersey, his heirs and successors for ever, to be held under the Crown, for which he was to pay yearly a knight's fee of 50 sols into the Court of Guernsey; from that period the Island has been held by its seigneurs or lords. It is one of the smallest states of Europe with a separate legislature, and the only one of the small feudal territories or half sovereignties which has remained unimpaired, those of Germany, Austria, and Prussia being abolished or restricted. The most conspicuous feature at this time is the existence of the law of primogeniture in all its pristine purity, and the original division of the Island into 40 estates remains the same even unto this day. The present lord is Peter Carey Le Pelley, Esq.
The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits and fishing. The land generally is very productive, from the nature both of the soil and climate. There are abundance of rabbits in Sark, and in the winter woodcocks and snipes are to be found on the Island. The fish most common are lobsters, crabs, mackerel, whiting, rock-fish, silver bream, cod, soles, and congers; in summer the latter are taken in great abundance.
Although Sark abounds in mineral veins no attempt was made to explore them till the year 1834; a company was then formed for the purpose of working the whole of the mineral veins in the Island, and a lease for 31, but afterwards extended to 39 years, was obtained from the late lord, Peter Le Pelley, Esq, who was drowned, in 1839, crossing from Sark to Guernsey in a small boat. The operations were confined to the metalliferous vein or lode at the south part of the Island, called the Pot, until 1836, when the silver lode, situate in the south-west part of the Island, called Sark's Hope, was discovered. There are four shafts in the mine, varying from 360 to 600 feet in depth; there are eight galleries, three of which are extended on the course of the vein horizontally 3,600 feet, and one is driven 300 feet under the sea. The ores, raised up to the year 1847, when the operations finally ceased and the mines closed, contained upwards of 30,000 ounces of fine silver, in addition to the large quantity of lead.
The Island is in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and forms part of that deanery; there is a neat parochial church, with an appointed clergy-man, who is a perpetual curate, and an Endowed school for the education of children in French and English. The Wesleyans have also a chapel upon the Island. Three-fourths of the Island is under cultivation; potatoes, until recent years, were the chief product of the Island, wheat is now grown to a considerable extent; cows, a few bullocks, sheep, and hogs are reared and sent to the Guernsey market.
Cutters pass to and from Guernsey, daily, during the summer months, and generally twice a week in the winter, weather permitting. Although in the immediate vicinity of Jersey and Guernsey, Sark is considered to possess a climate somewhat different. In the sheltered spots of the Island the winter passes almost without congnizance, and frost may be looked upon as an unexpected visitor, whose stay is brief. The population, according to the census of 1851, was 581.
Tourists and others about to visit the Island of Sark, may obtain every information of Mr. John Russell, Sark Packet Office, Quay, Guernsey.
BRECHNOU is a small Island dependent on the lordship of Sark, 1 mile in circumference, and with two families settled on it."