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Methodist Church
Somerset West, Western Cape

Date:1861
Type:Methodist Church
Style:Gothic Revival
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
34°05'04.53" S 18°51'04.66" E

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Two photos above show the Methodist Church with storm damaged west (entrance) gable. The other two show the church after restoration.

The façade of the church collapsed after storm damage in June 2010. It was rebuilt and taken into use again in 2014.

The Chapel was formally opened for Worship on the 29th August 1861 with over 1000 people in attendance.

The beginnings of this church is closely linked to that of the Emancipation of the Slaves in South Africa in 1834, Barnabas Shaw purchased a parcel of land to accommodate the freed slaves of the Somerset West District. The only building available was an Old Wine Cellar, which was very soon converted into a Chapel in 1834. Under the supervision of Barnabas Shaw the freed slaves built dwellings for themselves which are still the homes of their descendants. By 1860 the wine cellar, now a chapel, became to small for the growing congregation and as further enlargement was not feasible, it was resolved to erect of a new one. Records of this time show that:

This was certainly a bold project when viewed in connection with the comparative poverty of the people, the lack of skilled artisans and other difficulties. It was however undertaken in faith, prosecuted with energy and zeal and the effort crowned with success. The Rev Ridgill undertook the superintendence of the work and by means of the local freed slaves, thus skillfully directed, the neatest and most commodious Wesleyan Chapel in the Western Province was erected, as a lasting monument of the genius, zeal and liberality of the Missionary, the people and friends who had so nobly united their efforts in it's erection.

For more information visit their website.


Writings about this entry

Heap, Peggy. 1970. The Story of Hottentots Holland : Social history of Somerset West, The Strand Gordon's Bay and Sir Lowry Pass over the centuries . Cape Town: Balkema. pg 168-171