3rd July 2016

Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88

John Michael Beaumont, 22nd Seigneur of Sark, died of a heart attack on this day in 2016. Born in Egypt in 1927, he had been 88 at the time of his death, and served as seigneur for 42 years since the death of his grandmother, Sibyl Hathaway, in 1974.

Upon becoming seigneur, Beaumont was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying “The last thing I want to do is to drag the island into the twentieth century… I want to change nothing. I hope to keep the island just as my grandmother kept it; peaceful, quiet and a beautiful place to live”.

Yet Beaumont was a moderniser. He gave up his right to claim a 13th of the value of every property sold on Sark and introduced the first recognisable elections on the once-feudal island in 2008.

A mainly mainland life

He had been educated on the mainland, taught at Loughborough College, and suffered the loss of his father, a film-maker called Buster, during the Second World War. Buster had been in Liverpool with his second wife, Mary Lawson, when their house suffered a direct hit during a night-time bombing raid.

As Dame Sibyl’s grandson, this unfortunate incident placed Beaumont next in line to inherit the Seigneurie, despite being just 14 years old. At the time, Sark’s legal system didn’t allow women to inherit on the same basis of men, so the line of succession skipped a generation upon Sybil’s death.

Although he visited Sark regularly, and met his wife there, Beaumont continued living on the mainland until he received his inheritance in 1974. During that time, he worked as an aircraft engineer for the Beagle Aircraft company, based in Shoreham, and, later, the British Aircraft Corporation, in Filton.

Michael Beaumont was succeeded by his son, Christopher.


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Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st