church

Illness, sanitation and fashion in Colesberg in the mid-1850s

The immense heat of Karoo droughts brought problems for humans as well as animals. Thelma Gutsche writes, in The Microcosm, that the great heat of 1852 was accompanied by locusts and typhus fever. This affected the entire Colesberg district and absorbed all of the energies of the local medic, Dr Orpen. All races suffered and […]

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Karoo Captivates The Bishop

When Robert Grey, Bishop of Cape Town, set off for the northernmost reaches of the Colony, he was captivated by the Karoo. “There was no time for reading in the wagon,” writes Thelma Gutsche in The Bishop’s Lady. “The arid desert-like Karoo with its abrupt rocky kopjes, occasional mirages and stunted bushes sparsely mixed with […]

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Murraysburg organ still makes a joyful noise!

The first organ of the Murraysburg Dutch Reformed Church was inaugurated on July 7, 1871. The organist was W P de Villiers from Beaufort West, who regularly played until Miss J P Herholdt was appointed as organist in January 1872, at a salary of £25 a year. She held this position until she married B […]

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Nieu-Bethesda: Owls, Pilgrims and explorers

The attractive little town of Nieu-Bethesda, established in 1875, lies in the southern foothills of the Sneeuberg. Over it towers Compassberg, which at 2 502m is the highest peak of the range. This mountain was named by Governor Joachim van Plettenberg and Colonel Jacob Gordon in 1778 because from its summit they could “encompass a […]

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Rev Colin Fraser’s spirited leadership in Beaufort West

The early churches in South Africa were not free to appoint their ministers. These men were appointed by the State. There was also no free election of church councillors – names of men willing to serve had to be submitted to the magistrates of the little villages at the end of each year and these […]

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Rev Taylor and the rise and fall of the Cradock Congregational Church

As a result of a London Missionary Society outreach programme, a congregational church was started in Cradock in 1820.  Rev George Baker, who was born in Essex in 1789 and who had come to South Africa in 1815 to serve as a missionary with the LMS, moved to Cradock as the town’s first preacher in […]

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Robert Grey’s arduous travels in the Karoo: 1848

In 1848, Robert Grey, the first Bishop of Cape Town almost frightened his wife, Sophy, to death with tales of his travels “through the waterless Karoo.” In one of his letters he wrote: “there was in fact no “road”, not even a tract through the arid wilderness and, to save the exhausted horses we many […]

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The Dutch Reformed Church in Cradock

According to local lore the Dutch Reformed Church in Cradock is rooted in a love story. Legend has it that this beautiful church, a copy of St Martin’s-in-the-Field, in London, was created by the local dominee for his wife, the love of his life. Apparently she was English and pined for her homeland. He loved […]

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