Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dame of Sark

Each month, I get out all my favorite magazine collections: Romantic Homes, English Home, and Victoria,  from 1988 to 1996.  It is always interesting to find ways to increase our knowledge through the articles in these older issues.    The March, 1996 contained a report of the Isle of Sark, in the English Channel. The history was fascinating. Sybil Hathaway, the last Dame of Sark, wrote a book about the island, for her children, when is now available to read for free online, here.

The island was owned by Dame Sybil and her American husband during World War 2. She wisely kept her subjects encouraged by going around to all the farmers daily and talking to them. She wrote a book about it called "Dame of Sark" which you can actually read online    Time magazine related an amusing story about how she handled the Nazi officers during their occupation of her island.

  We can benefit from this in the home, I am sure, as we strive to guard and guide the people put in our care.  Reading the book aloud to your children is more effective, I think, as it comes to life. We can learn from her courage.

Here are some pictures from the 1996 March Victoria:

When I return this evening I will post a recipe for this, which was served in a tea room in the 1990's on Sark:

I  have tried this, and it works.

 For a wonderful review of the story of  the Dame of  Sark, go to The Pleasant Times.

The story was made into a television series in England.  I listened to my daughter read the story aloud and was instantly inspired by it. This woman didnt allow taxes on her island and she tried to encourage long marriages. Her island had no motor cars but did allow tractors.  For five years when her island was surrounded by barbed wire, she kept the islander's morale up.

 I think the reason I felt so in tune with her was that in a way, the home today is being attacked and occupied by forces that destroy it. A homemaker, the wife and the guard of the home, has to keep everyone reminded of who they are and what their purpose is.  This woman would not tell the Nazi invaders anything and neither would her subjects. In our homes today we have to be very careful to keep the family loyal to each other . We need to learn that the home is private and not open to the public, but only by our choice for hospitality.  The Dame of Sark would invite the officers to her dining room when she wanted to but they were not allowed in there all the time.

 I thought the story was actually better than The Sound of Music. They got very low on food because the Nazi's forbid fishing and planting and farming. They wouldnt let any supplies in.  This woman said that she would always maintain dignity and not let defeat enter her voice.   With the attack from within the home (husbands who want their wives to go to work, critical friends, etc) homemakers can really learn a lesson from this woman, who was strong in times of peril. 

See also, my post: Sybil Hathaway


Anonymous said...

I know where I want to go on vacation. I'm going to look up the book and read it.

Anonymous said...

I adore Victoria and English magazines!

L said...

Love the beautiful pictures, especially the flowers. Makes me wish the cold would go away so we can all garden!

Anonymous said...

I have the '95 and '97 issues...don't know where my '96 went! Lydia, if you have the '94 issue, you will find on page 17 a wonderful interior painting with mending and laundry being done...a very long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a long time ago about this wonderful woman and her island. In my younger years it was a mere curiosity, now however, I am one of those that could live there very easily! I will read the book. Thank you so much for this.

Anonymous said...


Though we may not be completely occupied, there is great pressure on us to conform to world views of communists and socialists in this country. No one wants us to homeschool, or to be homemakers. They want us all out their working for the state so they can collect more taxes from us. Husbands put pressure on wives to work just to pay insurance on cars, and medical. And there is disrespect toward parents in the home. We could all take a page out of the Dame of Sark's book. Do we know how to implement the quality of confidence today? I dont know what we would do if we were taken over like that. Our talk radio right now is our morale booster. Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that there was a census coming in the mail. It has lots of boxes to check for "race". He suggested we all click "other" and fill in the blank with capital letters that spell AMERICAN. I agree. They are trying to divide us and categorize us so they can pit us against one another. One thing Marxists do is turn race against race, men against women, religion against religion. Americans have always loved freedom and never denied it to anyone. These Leninists will take our freedom away from us as sure as the Nazis took the island of Sark. But we as homemakers have to be smart and have to keep up morale.

Emmarinda said...

I love the way the British people garden. It is heavenly. Whereas the French and some estates in Britain go in for the geometrical type garden, where everything is laid out with precision and follows geometrical patterns (thus stating man's dominion over nature), the English garden reflects a harmony between man and nature, with nature taking the lead. It looks like there is just a bit of the geometrical in the hedges of Sark, but the profusion of flowers threatening to overflow their bounds is what makes it all so enchanting. When I went to Britain I think I tried to put my nose in every rose I encountered. Which made me consistently the last person to get back to the tour bus at every stop! Through the past few years, I have slowly added, as I could afford, roses to my property - and I am the most interested in the antique, heirloom varieties, which carry the heaviest fragrance. Have you noticed that the newer roses, those most likely to be sold in places like Walmart, do not have any perfume to them? That is because they are hybrid varieties, from what I have heard. But last year I did find two fragrant ones, for a good price. You have to look at the labels carefully, as they are perhaps starting to carry more of these. And this year (in fact they came yesterday), I ordered three different ones from the Antique Rose Emporium online, and hope and pray that they will do well. One is the Souvenir de la Malmaison, which Napoleon's empress Josephine kept in her garden. I would like to be able to post some pictures later this Spring on my own blog of my "gardens". But I would like to encourage everybody that making your place beautiful can be done for very little money if you are willing to be patient, and do things a little at a time, with your own hands. And a lot of times, people will be willing to share cuttings of things with you, that you can add for free.

Anonymous said...

To delve further into the woman's prominent role in the home, we need to understand that she is obligated to guard the home. This does not always mean there will be perfect peace. She may have to ward off some oppressors and she may have to put her foot down about what does or does not enter that home, from media to people who run down her values. I think in some ways the modern homemaker just wants to be nice to everyone and thinks they will be nice back to her, but that is not always the case. Many women are finding that there is an attack upon them, and upon their role as homemakers. The mockery is broadcast in the media through talk shows and movies, friends and relatives, and even husbands. Like the Dame, women have to take a stand and defend their homes and insist on respect. There is a position to be respected. God created it. I have often heard that respect can be compared to our regard for local police officers. It is the office we respect, whether or not we agree with the person. The housewife deserves more respect than even that, for those in her care must also be kind, loving, and without hatred toward her. They must not despise her. It is not because she is perfect or without fault, but because they ultimately will be affected by how they treat her. I believe it is for their ultimate good that they respect the homemaker, and I believe things will not go well for them in their lives when they despise her.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Emmarinda, maybe you could show how to graft a rose cutting, step by step.

Anonymous said...

Like Sybil Hathaway, we have to tell the truth to our family and warn them of things that are misleading them. I find many housewives listen to talk radio and are very informed. Homeschool mothers are very informed and able to teach their children to discern a lie from the truth and to ward off those who would entrap them.

Anonymous said...

Being retired and recently moving to the Pacific Northwest to live, I have only a veg. garden and a few scattered cottage style perennial flowerbeds around my house. No real landscaping yet.

I would sincerely enjoy a posting of how to graft a rose cutting step by step. Roses are wonderful and grow so well up here. I love any flower that smells good.

Thank you Lydia for posting on the history of the Dame of Sark Island.
I'm a product of the 1950's and public schools and have never heard of this wonderful woman or the island.
I learn much more history reading your posts then I ever learned in 19 years of public schools. Is there a home school course for older students?

I encourage you to keep up the good work. This is my favorite blog.

Anonymous said...

SUCH a gooood 'story' and the comments are invaluable! I just read the whole essay you wrote about her PLUS the valuable comments. I love the notion of "reckless cheer" - what a useful concept. I am very grateful, Lydia, you wrote what you did about the Dame and also grateful for all of those wise comments by wise ladies. Lynn

Anonymous said...

I need to also say that I feel the way she and her husband responded to the Nazi occupiers can be a lesson for our times. If we are ever threatened by any person who wants to do us any harm...."to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord"! To stand fearless and unmoved! That is actually what my grandfather did during the Great Depression when the marxist/communists brought in unions and their threats to business owners....he stood still in his front doorway as one of those people threatened him with a pistol aimed at his chest - he remained calm and said, "You don't want to do that". His calm, unmovable, fearlessness made an impact. The trigger was not pulled.

hsmominmo said...

I have enjoyed re-discovering the New LAF site, and your blog. Thank you for sharing with us! After seeing your posts on the Dame of Sark, I resurrected my old Victoria magazines from the tombs of the deep dark storage room in my basement -- what treasures! I found the March '96 issue and am reading it once again with a new appreciation.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

In my opinion, she was a bit eccentric and unusual as a person in many ways, but it served her well during those 5 terrible years of being locked up on the island.