Sark was considered the last feudal state in Europe. The Seigneur of Sark was, before the constitutional reforms of 2008, the head of the feudal government of the Isle of Sark (in the case of a woman, the title was Dame). La Seigneurie in Sark was the official house of the Seigneur of Sark. It was the head of Sark in the Channel Islands. Many of the laws, particularly those related to inheritance and the rule of the Seigneur, had changed little since they were enacted in 1565 under Queen Elizabeth I. The Seigneur retained the sole right on the island to keep pigeons and was until 2008 the only person allowed to keep an unspayed dog. In 2008, the latter privilege was abolished (on the proposal of political opponents of the Barclay brothers) because it did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. "Seigneur" is the French word for "lord", and a female head of Sark is called the Dame of Sark, of which there have been three. The husband of a female ruler of Sark is not a consort but is jure uxoris ("by right of (his) wife"), a Seigneur himself. The Seigneur's office is hereditary, but with permission of the Crown it may be mortgaged or sold, as happened in 1849 when Pierre Carey le Pelley sold the fief to Marie Collings for £6,000. The Seigneur had a suspensive veto power and the right to appoint most of the island's officers. Many of the laws, particularly those related to inheritance and the rule of the Seigneur, had changed little since Queen Elizabeth I granted a fiefdom to Hellier de Carteret in 1565. The Seigneur was, before the constitutional reforms of 2008, the head of the feudal government of Sark, with the British monarch being the feudal overlord. The residents of Sark voted to introduce a fully elected legislature to replace the feudal government in 2006, and the law change was approved on April 9, 2008. The changes in the political system mostly applies to the parliament, the Chief Pleas, not to the Seigneur.
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