Online Encyclopedia

SARK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 220 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SARK, a small island of the Channel Islands, 7 M. E. of Guernsey, much visited on account of its magnificent cliff-scenery and caves. It is 3 M. long from N. to S. and 1 m. in extreme breadth. Area, 1274 acres; pop. (1901) 504. It is divided into two unequal parts, known as Great Sark (the more northern) and Little Sark, connected by the Coupee, a lofty isthmus so narrow at the summit that it bears only a roadway, artificially built up, and flanked by a precipice on either side. Many islets and detached rocks lie off the coast; Brechou Island to the west is large enough to have a few fields and a house upon it. Some of the rocks are very fine, such as the four lofty flat-topped pillars called the Autelets (altars). The harbour of Sark lies on the east coast, a tiny cliff-bound bay protected by a breakwater, communicating with the interior only through two tunnels, one of which is modern, while the other dates from 1588. The harbour is called Creux. This is a term of common use in the Channel Islands, applying primarily to natural funnels or pits, but extended also to clefts such as that which forms the harbour. The Creux du Derrible (Old French, a downfall of rocks) is a wide shaft opening from the summit of the cliff and communicating with the sea through a double cave, through which the sea rushes at high water. Of the many majestic caverns in the cliffs the Boutiques and the Gouliots, both on the west coast of Great Sark, may be specially mentioned. The marine fauna is very rich. On Great Sark are the majority of the houses, the church, and the seigneurie or manor-house. An ancient mill stands at the summit of the island (375 ft.). Agriculture and fishing are carried on. In Little Sark a disused shaft marks a silver-mine, worked in 1835, but soon abandoned. The island is included in the bailiwick of Guernsey, but has a court of justice of feudal character, the officers being appointed by the seigneur.
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