Anglican Church - First
25°40'33.65" S 27°14'42.07" EAlt: 1179m
This is one of the oldest Anglican Churches to be built in the old ZAR. It was erected in 1871 and remained intact for 44 years after the new church had been built.
When in 1967 it was to make way for some new development and would have been demolished interested people banded together to preserve it. The building was dismantled and re-erected in the old Rustenburg cemetery.
In 1972 the church was accorded National Monument status. Sadly, some years ago the building burnt down. Probably through the neglect of some vagrants. Subsequently it was stripped of all that which could be turned into use or sold. The spot where the National Monuments plaque was ripped out of the wall can clearly be seen on one of the photos.
(Konrad Voges, July 2016)
It all started with an email from William MARTINSON, one of the regular contributors to Artefacts, after the first photos of the church were put onto the site, with a simple question "Does Konrad Voges know the original position of the church?". Konrad Voges, being an avid researcher of the buildings in the Rustenburg area set to work and, after a lot of effort, came up with the information contained in the two maps on the right.
Transcript of an article published in:-
STIGTING SIMON VAN DER STEL FOUNDATION
HISTORY OF AN OLD BUILDING IN RUSTENBURG
We have here in Rustenburg a little old building in tolerably good repair which has an interesting history. It was built in 1871 through the initiative and enterprise of John Pilkington Richardson, a young man who came here from Potchefstroom, where his father was the first Anglican Priest in charge of the first Anglican Church in the Transvaal.
John Richardson came as a school teacher and catechist, to the already well-established small community of Rustenburg, and so welcome was he, that he received many offers of help in his project to build a small school for the children.
It is mentioned in the archives of the Church that Mr. Schroder helped very practically with the finance, and with gifts of wood and paint, and Mr. Glatthaar put up the roof. The children of these men were among the first pupils, and their descendants live here to this day.
A very creditable little building was finally produced and finished about 1872, and when Bishop Wilkinson, who spent much time and great pains in visiting the various centres in the Transvaal, paid a visit in 1874, he was so pleased with the work done by John Richardson that he ordained him a deacon in charge of the parish of Rustenburg. Thereafter the building was used as a church as well as a school, the first Anglican Church in this area, and the second in the whole Transvaal.
The building has had many adventures since those days. Largely due to the good feeling which existed between all sections of the community it survived the two wars which affected this district. In 1899 when the Rev. C. Maber was the priest in charge, he was on such good terms with he Boer Forces that he was given a travelling pass by Gen. Joubert to visit any part of the Transvaal, and the Central Committee of the forces posted notices on the Church that neither the Church nor Parsonage were to be molested during hostilities.
Now times have changed again, and the Anglican Community have since 1922 occupied a new and bigger Church. The site on which the old Church stands was finally bought by a big Farming Co-operative Company who required the site for expansion. They intended to pull down the building but agreed to hold their hand until the Historic Monuments Commission had had a chance to investigate it. This was done, and the Commission recommended that the building should be declared a Historic Monument.
With the help of the Municipality, who were most co-operative when approached and with the help of the Magaliesberg Co-operative Company who were most sympathetic to the project, a new and very suitable site has been acquired, and the building is to be moved brick by brick and re-erected on the new site, when it will be declared the first Historic building in this area.
Those of us who are interested in this project feel very strongly that it is right that the present and future generations should preserve suitable memorials of the past, so that they may understand something of the conditions under which the founders of this community lived.
In these days when children accept as a matter of course the beautiful schools and grounds, the well stocked laboratories, the swimming baths and playing fields which they enjoy, it is right that their attention should be drawn to the little old building in which education first started in Rustenberg, and should realise the efforts made by their forefathers that their children should grow up under the guidence o£ the Church and with the benefits of education.
(Mrs.) E. McCregor.,
P.O. Box 138, Rustenhurg.
(Submitted by Konrad Voges, June 2017)
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