We were very excited to visit the two churches designed by Sohpy Gray in Swellendam.(Read more about Sohpy Gray Churches here) I did some reading about these churches and found that the one was demolished soon after it was build.It is disappointing but luckily there was another church to visit.
Bishop Robert Gray visited Swellendam a few times during his time in South Africa. His first visit in 1848 was to help the English community with a church.In 1849 a site was found and his wife, Sophy, discussed the plans for the church.The first reverend also arrived in the town.
The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1852 while the Gray’s were in England.When they visited three years later they found a pretty English style stone church but the work was not good quality. The west side was not built correctly and was taken down and rebuilt.The church was consecrated in 1855.
Unfortunately the poor building work led to an early end for the church.Within 10 years, in 1865, the church needed repairs and soon showed signs of decay.In 1910 the buildings was declared unsafe and was demolished. The present stone church was built in 1911 on the foundations of the original church.
St Luke's Mission Church
On a visit in 1865 Bishop Gray opened a mission school.This school was also used for church services.On a visit in 1869 the Grays noticed that the coloured congregation still did not have a chapel for services.Bishop Gray made his final visit to Swellendam in 1872 (after his wife Sophy’s death) and finalized the contract for the building of a chapel.
The St Luke’s Mission Church was completed in 1874.The Old Apostolic Church now uses this beautiful church. The outside of the building is in a good condition but we could not visit the inside.