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Bathurst, Eastern Cape

Charles (Colonel) TRAPPES: Architect

The design is attributed to the provisional magistrate, Captain Charles TRAPPES in 1820 at a time when it was intended that Bathurst be the administrative centre of the Albany district for the recently arrived English Settlers. The foundation stone was laid on 1820 11 09. The contractor then was one Mandy. The costs of the project soared, probably due to Trappes' extravagant plan for his residence, but for which Mandy bore the brunt and was dismissed. Thomas MAHONEY was appointed to the project in his place. Work continued at a leisurely pace, in Mahoney's words, 'getting on nicely' but by the time Lord Charles Somerset summarily suspended Bathurst as seat of the magistracy on 1822 02 08 and moved it to Grahamstown the Drostdy was left half completed. It was determined that it would serve as a school but Mahoney's procrastinations exasperated the authorities. When Herman SCHUTTE did tour of inspection in 1824 the works were found to have fallen into a bad state of repair, the local quarried and hewn roof slate having soon degraded. When finally completed and after the death of the resident schoolmaster it became home to the Government Chaplain, grander than the pastorie. 'Indeed there was certainly not a house to equal it in the eastern part of the colony, either for comfort or for fashionable elegance' (LEWCOCK, 1963: 239). It was originally a 14 room building constructed of locally burnt brick and slate cut from local quarries. In 1827 the roof was rebuilt and covered in imported Welsh slate, the first such use of this material in South Africa. Only a wing survives, incorporated into a private residence.

(Picton-Seymour, D. 1989. Historical Buildings in south Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof)

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

Writings about this entry

Lewcock, Ronald. 1963. Early Nineteenth Century Architecture in South Africa : a study of the interaction of two cultures, 1795-1837. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 72, 86n, 127n, 146, 155-157, 160, 191, 375-376, 380, 384n, 406
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 109
Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1971. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 89
Anon Drostdy: in Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1971. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For: pp 89