Cradock

A Narrow Escape: Robert Pringle and the stock thieves

Robert Pringle narrowly escaped death when a stock thief fired at him.  Bullets hit him in the face, arm and shoulder.  According to a report in The Graaff-Reinet Herald on Saturday, November 7, 1851, rascals one night stole some sheep from Thomas Pringle’s kraal. When this was discovered a commando of 14 men – including […]

.

A Picnic in Cradock, 1850

The Somerset East/Cradock area was a dangerous place in the mid-1850s ,yet this did not put locals off. They often set off to enjoy a day picnicking in the veld. And so it was that on one Saturday in February, 1853, a group of 50 youngsters accompanied by “ten gentlemen” gambolled off into the veld […]

.

Darlington: A Damn Fine Story

Small places are often guardians of wonderful tales. Darlington, a tiny hamlet, which ended in a dam, is a case in point. It was officially founded in 1905 by a hawker and Eastern Cape farmer, P.W.F. Weyers, who harboured a life-long grudge against the Boers because they shot and killed two of his cows on […]

.

Dorothy Tongue: Exploring The World Of The San

At the turn of the last century, a Cradock school teacher made a breakthrough in techniques used to record San rock art.  She was Helen Tongue and she taught at Rockland Girls’ High School in Cradock, from the late 1890s to early 1900s. It was there that she met Dorothea Bleek, daughter of famous San […]

.

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 […]

.

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 […]

.

Rock art in the Karoo: The work of Dorothea Bleek

Dorothea was the fifth daughter of Dr Wilhelm Bleek, the man who did great work capturing the San language. She followed in her father’s footsteps.  She was born in Mowbray, Cape Town, in 1873, but at the age of 11 moved to Germany with her family. There she completed her schooling and trained as a teacher. The […]

.

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 […]

.