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Sark, Channel Islands

Bailiwick of Guernsey

Last modified: 2013-01-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: sark | guernsey |
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[Sark] image by Vincent Morley


See also:


Description of the flag

Sark (in French Serq) is one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel. It comprises Great Sark and Little Sark connected by an isthmus. The flag which is at the same time the flag of the island and the flag of the Seigneur, is white with a red St-George cross and a red canton containing two yellow lions. It has the proportions 1:2. This canton is like the arms of Normandy, not far from Sark.
Pascal Vagnat, 14 March 1996

A 1994 item in Flagmaster says that doubt has been cast upon the story told to the Flag Institute by Dame Sybil Hathaway that the flag had been in use 'for at least two hundred years'. Apparently, it only dates from 1938 when she contacted Mr. Herbert Pitt (a member of the pre-war Flag Circle) who designed it for her. The Société Serquiaise has a record of the correspondence.
David Prothero, 20 June 1997

Is there a reason the lions on the flag of Sark are not confined to the area within the cross? Perhaps the description should not be "Cross of St. George," as the lions overwhelm one of the horizontal arms and part (if not all, for a border) of one of the vertical ones.
Nathan Lamm, 4 June 2003

As far as I know the flag of Sark is 'unofficial' or at least has no official standing, and the size of the lions of Normandy, therefore, are a matter of personal interpretation. I am not sure which is older as a symbol, but the Cross of St George should overlie the lions as a matter of seniority since England is a kingdom and Normandy was (and probably still is) a duchy? Despite the fact that the Medieval ruling class in England spoke Norman-French, and mostly had Norman ancestry, our monarchs were Kings of England first and Dukes of Normandy second. As an example (and if I remember Magna Carta correctly) King John signed himself: John, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and of Aquitain, Count of Anjou.
Christopher Southworth, 4 June 2003

"Unofficial", probably, yes - though interestingly enough, the last time I was in Sark it was flying at the main cross-roads of the 'village', and it wasn't flying at La Seigneurie, the home of the Seigneur of Sark, which doesn't square with the suggestion that it is the Seigneur's personal flag rather than the island flag.

As for relative seniority of the emblems, I should point out that Sark (and the other Channel Islands) were Norman before they were "English" (or British, as we islanders prefer to say), and that the reason Sark and the other islands have this dual heritage at all is because in 1066 Normandy conquered England!
André Coutanche, 4 June 2003

On the Seigneur of Sark's website at http://mail.sark.gov.gg not only is there a page about Sark's constitution, but he shows the Sark flag (the Sark flag, note, not the Seigneur's flag). Guess what? The lower lion is levitating above the St George's Gross! (But I think he's got it wrong!)
André Coutanche, 6 June 2003


Future Sark red ensign

On the site of the Seigneur Beaumont (http://mail.sark.gov.gg), concerning a possible future red ensign for Sark:

Sources: http://mail.sark.gov.gg/~mbeaumont/0304agenda.htm and http://mail.sark.gov.gg/~mbeaumont/0304ensign.htm
(I didn't find however the Guernsey Merchant Shipping Law 2002.)

-----------------------------
ISLAND OF SARK

EASTER MEETING to be held on Wednesday, 23rd April, 2003, at 10.00 am. in the Island Hall

AGENDA

(...)

19. To Consider a Report of the GENERAL PURPOSES & FINANCE COMMITTEE on Sark's Own Defaced Red Ensign (copy enclosed).

[text of report:]

GENERAL PURPOSES & FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT TO THE EASTER CHIEF PLEAS MEETING 2003 ON Sark's own Defaced Red Ensign.

Following the approval of the Projet de Loi entitled `The Merchant  Shipping (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002', at the Extraordinary  Chief Pleas Meeting of March 2003, members discussed whether in fact  further investigation should take place regarding Sark applying for  its own Defaced Red Ensign, which this Committee stated in its Report  was a separate issue and should not delay the approval of the Project.  It was felt by members that this issue should be investigated further; therefore the Committee propose the following,

That Chief Pleas authorise the Sark Harbours Committee to investigate the possibility of Sark applying to have its own Defaced Red Ensign and report back to Chief Pleas in due course with their conclusions.

Deputy Adrian.L.Guille President
---------
Pascal Vagnat, 7 June 2003

There's something I don't understand about this: as far as I know, there is no registry of Sark vessels. All the Sark boats have GU (Guernsey) registrations. Is it possible to have a defaced red ensign which would apply not to where a vessel is registered but where she is kept (or where the owner identifies with!)?
André Coutanche, 7 June 2003


 
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