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SELWYN, Charles Jasper, Major

Born: 1793
Died: 1847


Came to the Cape in about 1830, an officer in the ROYAL ENGINEERS. He was Commanding Officer on the Cape Frontier from 1834 to 1840 and was apparently responsible for the design of the Drostdy Gate, Grahamstown, built by Royal Engineers. Selwyn is also credited with the design of Selwyn's Castle, Grahamstown in Gothic Revival style (1835) and of the Settler's Memorial Methodist Church (1835). It on the basis of Selwyn's Castle that the design of the Church of St Patrick, Grahamstown (1839-1844) has been attributed to Selwyn.

(Greig 1971; Fransen 1982; Lewcock 1963; Reynolds & Reynolds 1974)

The following from RootsWeb: South Africa

The next owner [of Kariega farm] of whom we have any knowledge was Major Charles Jasper SELWYN, commander of the Royal Engineers and Architect and builder of many notable buildings such as Selwyn Castle and the Old Provost. In the Graham's Town Journal; for 1 August 1839 there appeared:

"Notice: All persons are hereby cautioned against outspanning, or trespassing on the Karriega Farm. The property of Major SELWYN, who in consequence of finding that large herds of cattle are daily sent there to graze, has given instructions to his steward, Mr. MATHERS, to send to the pound all cattle, sheep, goats or horses found thus trespassing". Quite a change from RETIEF's experience, to have extra cattle driven on to one's farm instead of having them stolen from it.

In 1842 there was another notice about the mischievous destruction of "the Notice Board at Clarissa Bridge, on the Kariga Farm", to which SELWYN offered a reward of 2 pounds for information leading to a conviction.

In the same year, SELWYN was transferred to England, and on 26 May J. NORDEN and Co., the auctioneers, advertised the sale of his cattle and goods. He was selling "150 well-bred cows, 150 draught, slaughter and other cattle, 100 young rams, bred by R. DANIELS, Esq. Of Sidbury, 12 rams and 24 ewes of Leicester Merino Breed, from the rams imported by Mr. TILDERSLY, 300 young Merino Ewes, 13 young do., ? 1 very valuable young Bull, 1 Pompey Mare, 2 Fillies, between two and three years old, 1 brown gelding, 14 pigs and a few goats; three wagons, ploughs, harrows, rollers, wheel barrows, farm furniture and every other article necessary for a farmers establishment.

[Submitted by William MARTINSON]

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Drostdy Gates - Arch: 1842. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Architect
Fort Selwyn: 1835. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Architect
Selwyn Castle: 1834. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Architect

Books citing SELWYN

Barnes, Pamela. 1979. Charles Jasper Selwyn 'Where duty leads' The Life of Colonel Jasper Selwyn, R.E.. [South Africa]: P Barnes. pp All

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 39, 122

Walters, Dennis. 2014. Bridging the Eastern Cape : the life and work of Joseph Newey. East London: Coral Tree Press. pp 73, 75