The Victorian era designed Dutch Reformed Church of Jansenville

Each Karoo town has a different charm and atmosphere just like each one has an unique historic Dutch Reformed Church. The town of Jansenville is in no way any different. The Dutch Reformed Church in Jansenville is unusual in that the bell tower is separate from the church. The church is of typical Victorian-era design, complete with decorative plaster quoins on the corners of the exterior walls. The building was designed by prolific ecclesiastical architect Carl Otto Hager, whose plans…

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The All Saints United Church in Somerset East

In 1848, during his travels through the Eastern Cape, Bishop Gray of Cape Town paid a visit to the young town of Somerset. He was struck by the scarcity of clergyman having only seen one in 900 miles of travel from Cape Town. He undertook to arrange for some 20 Anglican ministers to emigrate from England, and because he believed that there were sufficient English settlers and others to support an Anglican Church, he promised to provide the area with…

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From a pear tree to a beautiful church – the story of the Pearston Dutch Reformed Church

I get disappointed if I visit a small town and find that there isn't a historic church somewhere to visit and photograph. One of the towns that didn't disappoint was Pearston. Located on a very flat landscape the church is easily spotted in the town's very limited skyline. The village of Pearston is located 48km west of Somerset East in the Eastern Cape's Karoo Heartland. Like so many of the small towns and villages of the Karoo, the village had…

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Steynsburg, the small town with a big church

The town of Steynsburg in the Eastern Cape's Karoo Heartland developed around the Reformed Church which was established in 1872 and was administered by a village management board controlled by the church.  Steynsburg is named after Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn, grandfather of President Paul Kruger. The members of the Dutch Reformed Church from the district had to travel long distances (64km) to Burgersdorp by horse, horse cart and ox wagon to go to church and there was a need for their…

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The Moederkerk in the heart of Cradock

The first Dutch Reformed congregation (and also the first church) in Cradock was established back in 1824, 10 years after the town received its name.  The present Dutch Reformed Mother Church building, situated on the upper end of Church Street, was completed on the original site as the first church in 1868 at an apparent cost of some £24,500.  The building’s design was based on St. Martins-in-the-Field on Trafalgar Square in London.   At the opening ceremony, the builder refused to hand over the door…

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Nieu-Bethesda’s historic NG Kerk

Whenever I visit Nieu-Bethesda I just seem to be attracted to the historic Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk or NG Kerk). There is just something to this beautiful building in this tiny village that has me going back to it time and time again. Also, the fact that there are so many different angles to look at it and then add to it the time of day and different weather conditions. I did a post on the church last…

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Nieu-Bethesda’s historic Dutch Reformed Church

The historic Dutch Reformed Church is probably the biggest landmark in Nieu-Bethesda. It's perhaps not as famous as the Owl House or interesting as the Kitching Fossil Centre, but if it comes to landmarks, it stands out in town. I'm always in awe of the fact that such a magnificent building was constructed in such a small place and like to pop around when visiting the village. The village of Nieu Bethesda was established in 1875 on the farm Uitkijk…

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St Mary’s front and back

On Tuesday I posted a picture of St Mary's Cathedral in the Port Elizabeth city centre.  I realised that although people may know what the cathedral looks like from the outside, that not many may have been inside the cathedral yet.  So today I'm posting two pictures taken inside the building, one looking to the front...... and one looking back at the pews.


The Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin

Before the arrival of the British Settlers in 1820 the needs of the British garrison in Algoa Bay were served by chaplains in passing ships. By 1825 the town of Port Elizabeth had grown to about 500 people and Revd Francis McClelland was appointed Colonial Chaplain.  The foundation stone for the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin was also laid that year.  The church was finally opened for worship in 1832.