Brecqhou (or Brechou; pronounced IPA|ˈbʁɛku) is one of the
Channel Islands, located at about coord|49|26|N|2|23|W, just west of Sark. Its surface area is approximately 200 acres (just under one third of a sq. mile). It is a "tenement" of Sark (although the current tenants dispute this), which is in turn part of the Bailiwickof Guernsey.The island is separated from Sark by an extremely narrow sound (Le Goulliot Passage) which, according to legend, has only once been traversed by boat in a high tide. However in reality it is traversed frequently by yachts during each summer and by fishing boats year round and even forms a part of the route taken by occasional powerboating events in the islands.
The origin of the name is as follows: "
-hou" as found in many island names around the Norman coast derives from Old Norse language"holm" (island or islet); "brekka" signifies a cliff or escarpment (cf. Bricquebec).
Since 1993 the tenement of Brecqhou has been owned by the Barclay brothers, identical twins, who are better known as co-owners of "
The Daily Telegraph" newspaper and former co-owners of " The Scotsman". Under the Reform (Sark) Law 1951, the tenant is David Barclay who is entitled to occupy the tenant's seat in Chief Pleas, the parliament of Sark. Since the purchase the Barclays have been in several legal disputes with the government of Sark, and have expressed a desire to make Brecqhou politically independent from Sark. They drive cars on the island, and have a helicopter, both of which are banned under Sark law.
Flag and stamps
The former tenant,
Leonard Joseph Matchan, had devised a personal flag(identical to the Sarkflag, with the exception that the Matchan arms was emblazoned on the bottom right). Although frequently considered the "island flag", this was only a "personal flag", and is not in use anymore. Leonard Joseph Matchanhad issued stamps in 1969. Matchan occupied Brecqhou until his death on October 6, 1987. The current tenants have issued postage stamps annually since 1999.
List of tenants of Brecqhou
, as in French in the sense of "feudal landholder" rather than the common English meaning of "lessee". The landholdings of Sark are held by 40 "tenants" representing the parcels of the 40 families who colonised Sark. As explained on the Sark government website [http://www.sark.gov.gg/] : "There is no true freehold, all land being held on perpetual lease (fief) from the Seigneur, and the 40 properties (Tenements) into which the Island is divided (as well as a few other holdings in perpetual fief) can only pass by strict rules of inheritance or by sale."
Leonard Joseph Matchan
*From 1993: Sir David Barclay
*"Le Dicotentin", Lepelley, Cherbourg 2001, ISBN 2-913920-06-3
*"BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names" (Oxford UP, 1971)
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