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Sibyl Hathaway
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    (January 13, 1884-July 14, 1974)
    Born in Guernsey, Channel Islands
    Birth name was Sibyl Collings
    Dame of Sark (1927-74)
    She said she found being a mother boring, but still had eight children.
    After she succeeded her father as ruler of Sark, she reinstated several feudal customs he had let lapse, such as the poulage (a tax of two chickens), about which she complained ‘They always gave me the skinniest and oldest chickens.’
    After she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, she called herself a ‘double dame.’
    If anyone complained that she was keeping the island from modernizing, she would respond, ‘What was good enough for William the Conqueror is good enough for us.’
    Her father threw her out of the house barefoot and wearing only a nightgown when she refused to stop seeing Dudley Beaumont, a painter her father considered effeminate because he would not go hunting.
    After she and Beaumont eloped, her father cut off all contact until the birth of her first child – when he sent a telegram of condolence because the child was female. (‘Sorry it was a vixen.’)
    When Beaumont died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, leaving her a pregnant widow with five children, neither her father nor her in-laws would provide any financial support.
    She taught herself German and went to work at a YMCA in Cologne.
    During the German occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II, her second husband, Robert Hathaway, was deported to Germany and held prisoner.
    When food ran low in the last months of the occupation, she organized a raid on the German grain stocks and fed several families with potatoes from her own stores.
    She outlived five of her children.
    She knew every inhabitant of Sark by name.

Credit: C. Fishel

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