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Watch Tower
Peddie, Eastern Cape


Type:Watch Tower


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33°11'39.13" S 27°07'27.31" E

The Watch Tower, Peddie was listed by the Commission for the Preservation of Natural and Historical Monuments, Relics and Antiques, as Monument No 42.

Fort Peddie, some forty-two miles (67.59km) from Grahamstown was the largest post on a line of fortified positions that ran from Fort Beaufort to Peddie. When the War of the Axe broke out all the towers on this line had been completed and equipped with semaphore masts. The idea had been that warnings of hostile activity could be signalled rapidly along the line. The towers carried signal masts fitted with a device that allowed the masts to rotate as well as slide up and down, with arms that could be set in nearly 200 combinations based on seven fixed positions. But the system was a failure. It was difficult to read the signals unless the towers were set against the skyline, and the telescopes supplied were too weak to cover the distances between the posts, practically all of which were abandoned within a month of the outbreak of the war.

[William MARTINSON. Paraphrased from: Mostert, N. Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa's creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa people. Pimilico, London, 1993.]

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.