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Fort Selwyn
Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape

Charles Jasper, Major SELWYN: Architect

Street:Gunfire Hill


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33°19'06.98" S 26°31'06.38" E Alt: 637m

Fort Selwyn stands on Gunfire Hill behind Rhodes University, on land that once belonged to the drostdy. When Sir Benjamin D'Urban had the drostdy site converted into fortified barracks in 1835, it was a part of this defence plan to build forts on the hill to the south of Grahamstown to protect the barracks. The Selwyn Battery, also known as Fort Selwyn, was one of these forts and was named after Capt. C. J. SELWYN R.E., who commanded the ROYAL ENGINEERS in Grahamstown from 1835 to 1841. The construction of the battery was started in the time of D'Urban and completed under Sir George Napier. When the new Lieutenant-Governor of the Eastern Districts, Andries Stockenstrom, arrived in Grahamstown in 1836, a salute of 17 guns was fired from the Selwyn Battery in his honour.

The fort was transferred to the Artillery in 1841 and served as the artillery barracks until 1868 when it became a magazine and guardhouse. It ceased to be used in 1870 and is now maintained as a monument by the City Council of Grahamstown.

Books that reference Fort Selwyn

Alberts, Paul. 1992. South African military buildings photographed : an historical heritage. Cape Town: The Gallery Press. pg 54
Oberholster, JJ. 1972. The historical monuments of South Africa. Cape Town: Rembrandt Van Rijn Foundation for Culture at the request of the National Monuments Council. pg 145-146
Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1971. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 656