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 her so much that he persuaded his church council to have Sir Christopher Wren’s design copied for the local church. At last it was finished and indeed it was a beautiful edifice with Corinthean portico, Gothic steeple and a good clock. The towns people were well satisfied, but came the day for the grand opening in September 1868, the builder would not hand over the keys. Dignitaries began to arrive, but still he stood his ground. He had not been paid in full, he said, and only when his full fee was forthcoming, would he hand over the keys, he said. The church council was red-faced with indignation and so was the building committee. A full hour filled with heated words went by and still he would not relent. Then some leading citizens pledged the outstanding sum – there was a bit more debate took place. When the builder was persuaded that he could trust these leaders of the community, he released with the keys.
© Rose’s Roundup, vol. 2, no. 75, December 2009
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