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St Peters Sark

The church dates from 1820.The original square tower was quite small and housed the ‘island bell’. This ancient bell, given to the settlers in 1581 by Philippe De Carteret, future Seigneur, used to hang from a wooden belfry on a mound in the Clos de la Tour de la Cloche, to the East of the site. Sark workmen dug the church’s foundations built the walls 2ft 6in thick, using cartloads of slatey schistic stone hauled up from Port du Moulin and granite quarried on l’Eperquerie. Guernsey granite quoins brought over from a quarry at l’Ancresse mark each 12-inch course. Purbeck flagstones shipped from Swanage were laid to make the pavement. Carpentry work – framing the fir roof beams and rafters, fixing laths to bear glazed tiles and support the ceiling of hair-and-lime plaster – was planned by Jean Tardif of Jersey and executed by Guernsey carpenters. On 7 August 1821 the Bishop of Winchester licenced ‘the new erected chapel’, ‘according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England’. It was not until 1829 that the Bishop finally crossed the sea to consecrate ‘Saint Peter’s’. Sark’s church bears the name of the patron apostle of its two patron Seigneurs. By 1883 the raising of the tower was complete, again using much dark grey Guernsey granite, and the belfry strengthened. A new bell was cast from ‘two old six-pounders’, brass canon which had provided Sark’s defence since Elizabethan times.

The old ‘island bell’ of 1581 was returned to secular use in the School, now the Assembly Room, which houses the Seneschal’s Court and meetings of Chief Pleas.