History

Sark’s Jersey Settlers and their Reformed Church

St Peters Church

From 1565 to 1820 Sark had no proper church building.  The settlers meeting house was narrow and poorly lit, with a thatched roof and earthen floor.  It served as the school and the Court as well as for worship.  This barn-like structure adjoined the Seigneur’s Manoir, where it can still be seen forming the central part of the eastern range of cottages.  Though those early Presbyterian colonists referred to their ‘temple’, they disliked pomp and ritual.  Sundays were strictly observed, people’s behaviour was monitored by the Elders, and the sermon was seen as the high point of the week.  In the yard outside were the bench for public penance and the stocks.  Freedom to observe the Discipline of the Reformed Church was one of the motives which had driven Helier de Carteret and his Jersey companion-farmers to resettle Sark in the 1560’s.  At a time of religious intolerance, they had a strong sense of Sark as their chosen land, their providential island refuge.