3rd September 1993
Brecqhou was put up for sale

Brecqhou is one of the smallest of the inhabited Channel Islands, and is separated from Sark by just an 80m wide sea passage called the Le Goulliot.

The lease of Brecqhou went on sale for £3.5m at the start of September 1993. It was bought by brothers David and Frederick Barclay for a reputed £2.25m. The Barclay brothers are owners of London’s Ritz and the Telegraph newspaper.

The changing face of Brecqhou

Brecqhou had previously been owned by Jersey resident Leonard Matchan, until his death in 1987, and the list of eligible purchasers was small. It could only be sold to a Briton who would swear alleigance to the Queen. The sale also had to be approved by the Seigneur of Sark.

The 80-acre island was home to a stone manor house when the Barclays took it over. They demolished this to make space for a new home called Fort Brecqhou, which was developed under the name Project 95.

Great secrecy surrounded the construction of the new building: more than 100 contractors worked on it, many living on site, but all had been asked to sign a secrecy agreement before work started. It was built using white granite, shipped from Spain.

Once the gardens were finished, the brothers opened the castle to visitors. However, certain conditions were placed on those who wanted to come across. They would have to be staying in a Barclay-owned hotel on Sark, have passed a security screening and not take any pictures while on the island.

There has been some dispute over who legally rules Brecqhou. The Barclays have claimed that Brecqhou was never part of the fief of Sark. However, a background briefing document from the British Government (PDF) states that “The island of Brecqhou is part of Sark”.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged ,

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