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.