History Preserved In Stone: Nieuwoudt since 1742

Nieuwoudtville lies on the Bokkeveld escarpment between Knersvlakte and the Hantam. The town’s story can be traced back to 1700 and the lovely loan farm, Groenrivier, which was granted to Michiel Heyns. A widow, Keesje Heufke, took the farm over from him in 1731, and Lieutenant Nicolaas Laubscher later lived on it 1742 to 1783. It was he who built the sand stone homestead. Its ruins are still visible on the farm. By November 1, 1828, Hermais Cornelis Nieuwoudt was registered at the owner and at that time many other Nieuwoudts, McGregors and Nels farmed nearby. All these families needed a church. Community leaders met on the farm Willemsrivier in 1892 and decided to buy Groenrivier. Negotiations were completed by 1897, and the purchase price of £2100 was paid. By June, surveyor E B Watermeyer began measuring up erven. He stayed in a tiny Karoo stone house which, according to an article by Andreas Bester, in Die Burger of August l9, 1995, still stands behind the old Standard Bank in Nieuwoudtville. Sadly, however, it has deteriorated in status and is now only used as a store. Nearby, says Andreas, is the beacon from which Watermeyer commenced his measurements. Nieuwoudtville is one of the few towns which still has its original beacon. In time, magnificent sandstone structures were built in this little town, but pride of place goes to the Dutch Reformed Church, which dates back to 1906, and which was declared a national monument. Even the pulpit in the Victorian interior is built of sandstone.


© Rose’s Roundup, vol. 2, no. 75, December 2009

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