Hathaway, Sybil, Dame of Sark

1961 ALS of the 21st Seigneur of Sark, last feudal state in Europe

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Description:
(1884-1974) 21st Seigneur of Sark (her title was Dame of Sark or Dame de Sercq) 1927-74. She inherited the title when her father died on 14 June 1927. In 1901 she married her first husband, Dudley John Beaumont and had seven children. She wrote extensively about her relationship with Beaumont in her 1961 autobiography. Beaumont died in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic and in 1929 she married Robert Hathaway, an American, and he served as Seigneur jointly with his wife until his death in 1954. Her tenure as Seigneur was interrupted by the German occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II from 3 July 1940 until 8 May 1945. Hathaway did not evacuate during the German occupation, and prevailed upon all 471 Sark inhabitants to remain on the island as well. She was much respected by the islanders as well as the Germans, whose language she spoke perfectly, for the leadership she gave during this period, and the British Home Secretary observed that she remained 'almost wholly mistress of the situation' throughout the occupation. For the week of 10-17 May 1945, following liberation, she was left in command of the German garrison on her island. She commissioned the design of the flag of Sark in 1938. It was also her decision that no cars be allowed on Sark, a rule that continues to the present. She was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965. Her autobiography,” Dame of Sark”, was published in 1961, and she is the subject of the play “The Dame of Sark”, written by William Douglas-Home, based on the experience of the German occupation. Sark is a 2.10 sq. mile island in the Channel Islands in the SW English Channel off the coast of Normandy in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It is a royal fief with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. It was considered the last feudal state in Europe. It has a population of about 600 and it’s economy depends primarily on tourism. During WW II, Sark was occupied by German forces from 1940–1945, as were the other Channel Islands. The Island Kommandant of Guernsey, Major Albrecht Lanz, arrived at Creux Harbour by boat on 3 July 1940 with his interpreter and chief of staff and met the Dame and Seigneur at the Seigneurie to announce the start of German military rule. German troops arrived the next day to occupy the island. In 2008, Sark dismantled its previous system of government, which had evolved gradually from its original system established in 1565. ALS “Sybil Hathaway” on 7 x 5 ¼ blue-imprinted personal light grey-blue letterhead as La Dame de Sark, Sark, August 26 1961, 1½ pps (two sides of 1 sheet), regarding the publication of her autobiography in the US and sending a photograph (not present).

Condition: Very good, slight horizontal fold thru top of signature
Type:Letter






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