Showing posts from November, 2012


From Somerset East we drove about 50 km on the R63 to Pearston.We drove over the Bruintjieshoogte Pass (or Brown’s Height Pass) and saw some beautiful scenery. We arrived in Pearston at about 15:30.  This small town in the Eastern Cape was founded in 1859 when the church was started and was named after Rev John Pears, a Scottish Reverand who came to South Africa during the 1820's as reverend for the British Settlers.. Building of the beautiful Dutch Reformed Church started in 1865 but work was stopped due to an argument between different members of the church. The corner stone was eventually laid on 25 December 1886 and the church was consecrated in 1887. The tower was added in 1899.
After the quick stop in Pearston we drove the last 75 km to Graaff-Reinet on R63.We arranged to pick up the key to the room we booked at a shop at a petrol station.We picked up the key and bought some food before going to our room.It was a long day and we saw a lot of beautiful place.We relaxed for the r…

Somerset East

After visiting the All Saints Church in Somerset East we drove through the town one last time before continuing on to Graaff-Reinet.
First we went back to Nojoli Street.Along the way we passed the Voortrekker Hall and the house at nr 154 Nojoli Street. The house in 154 Nojoli Street was built in the 1830’s and was declared a National Monument in 1983. We stopped at the Reformed Church.This was originally the Methodist Church. Outside the church is a monument for Commandant William Charles Comley.He died from fever contracted during the Frontier wars of 1878.

We went to McCaughie’s Pharmacy. It was erected in 1876 and is still used as a pharmacy.
The last place we saw before leaving was the Langenhoven Library.In 1832 the “Somerset Reading Society” was started. The plot was bought in 1903 and the library was opened in 1905. Of all the towns we drove through from Grahamstown to Graaff-Reinet, Somerset East was my favourite.I hope

Somerset East : All Saints Anglican Church

We drove past this church while exploring Somerset East.I insisted that we stop because I wanted to take some photos.At first Husband did not even get out of the car.There were women busy cleaning the church and they let us look around. We talked a bit and only then learned that Sophy Gray designed this church.They also told us about a book called “The Bishop’s Churches” by Desmond Martin.The book is about the churches started by Bishop Robert Gray and designed by his wife Sophy from 1849 to 1880.(We have been visiting Sophy Gray Churches since Des 2011.You can read more about her on my Sophy Gray page) 

Bishop Gray’s application for a site for a church was approved in 1849.The church was consecrated in 1855 and the chancel and vestry were added in 1883. For the next 20 minutes we walk around and took pictures of the lovely interior of the All Saints Anglican Church.It is a small church with beautiful stained-glass windows and many memorials to members of the church who died in War…

Somerset East : Paulet Street

After our stops at the Dutch Reformed Churchand Delville Wood Memorialwe drove to the Tourism office to get a bit more information about the town.The tourism office is housed in the Walter Battiss Art Gallery in 45 Paulet Street.The building was built in 1818 and was used as an Officer’s Mess for the British troops.It is a National Monument.
We got a very handy booklet about the historical buildings in the town.Many of these buildings can be found in Paulet Street.This street was named after Lord Charles Somerset’s second wife, Lady Mary Paulet.

Opposite the Tourism office is The Hope Congregational Church.The parsonage and ground where the church was built was received from Dorothy Evans. She left her house and yard to the London Missionary Society.In 1844 a church was built on this property for the Coloured, Dutch-speaking Congregation. The London Missionary Society later became part of the Congregational Church. The historic dwelling house at 60 Paulet Street was built between 1825 an…

Somerset East : War Memorial

After visiting the Somerset East Dutch Reformed Church we drove down Nojoli Street to the Delville Wood Memorial.My husband loves history and specializes in military history and we always visit the war memorials in each town we visit. Somerset East has a beautiful monument originally erected to the memory of the brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War of 1914 – 1918.Later more names were added and now it is a memorial for Somersetters who died in the First and Second World Wars.

( I cannot find out why this monument is called the Delville Wood Memorial.I know that a lot of South African soldiers died during the Battle of Delville Wood but I can’t find any reference to link this memorial to the battle.If somebody knows more about this, please let me know the reason. )

Somerset East: Dutch Reformed Church

We arrived in Somerset East at about 13:00.It took us a little longer than planned to drive the 60 kilometers from Bedford due to an unexpected detour near Cookhouse.The village called Somerset was established in 1825.It was named Somerset after Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape.The name was changed to Somerset East in about 1857 to distinguish it from Somerset West in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Our first stop in the Somerset East was the Dutch Reformed Church.The corner stone was laid on 25 December 1830 and it was completed about 1833/1834.
Carl Otto Hager planned the extensions made in 1870 to enlarge the church.Only a few of the original walls remained and the new church was consecrated on 17 November 1871.The church was declared a National Heritage Site in 1979.

Slagtersnek monument

The next town on the R63 is Cookhouse.It is about 30 kilometers from Bedford.We decided not to stop here but we made a wrong turn and landed on the N10.This turned out to be a good mistake because the N10 road took us past the Slagtersnek Monument. To understand this monument I first need to give some history of the Slagtersnek Rebellion.
Frederik Bezuidenhout suspected his worker of theft and did not pay him.The worker complained at the magistrate and Frederik was summoned to appear in court.He did not appear and after a second summon went to hide in a cave.He was found and during the arrest he was shot and killed by a soldier.
Frederik’s brother Hans wanted revenge and together with other farmers started to plan an uprising against the British government. In November 1815 the rebel group met the British forces at Slagtersnek.The rebels were outnumbered and surrendered without a fight. Frederik’s brother was the only one that resisted and was killed.
On 20 Jan 1816 five of the rebels wer…