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Elizabeth Shepstone's Grave
Peddie district, Eastern Cape

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Date:c1900 : 1950s
Type:Grave
Status:Extant


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33°14'01,80" S 27°14'34,23" E Alt: 128m
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On the western bank of the Begha river, a short distance from the original site of the village of Wooldridge on the north eastern boundary of the farm Woolwich (Pato's Kraal) and in close proximity to the old wagon road, is a substantial memorial marking the grave of possibly the first white woman to die in the Peddie district. Her death was caused by child birth.

The memorial comprises a substantial plastered obelisk on a square plastered plinth with a rectangular sandstone grave stone inset on the north face of the plinth. A narrow brick lined grave is sited a short distance to the north. The memorial was probably constructed circa 1900 and was restored in the late 1950's under the direction of Mr. T. B Bowker M.P. It was presumably at this stage that the grave stone was protected with a woven metal screen.

The finely incised inscription on the grave stone reads:

SACRED
TO THE
MEMORY OF

Elizabeth wife of Rev. William
Shepstone Wesleyan Missionary
Who departed this life the 19th day
of July 1833. Aged 40 years she
died at this place in the house of
Mr Daniel Roberts While on a
Journey from her residence at
Wesleyville to Grahams Town,
After an illness of 14 days. She
had been engaged in the Caffre
Mission from it's commencement
and after enduring hardship as a
good soldier of Christ 10 years
She died in peace relying on the
blood of Christ for acceptance of God.

"What e'er we do whatsoever
we're travelling to the grave"

Unfortunately the memorial and grave have recently (c 2016) been damaged by persons unknown - probably looking for historical artefacts. One corner of the pylon has been removed and the slab over the grave has been broken up and the grave chamber opened. Attempts have been made to remove the mesh screen over the grave stone. The natural growth of indigenous vegetation has also encroached substantially onto the memorial site.

Acknowledgement: Thanks are due to Carl Vernon and Colin Levey for their expertise and assistance in locating the memorial.

William A. MARTINSON
April 2017

The first phase of the restoration of the damage to this memorial has been completed, with brickwork infill and the insertion of a large corner block that had remained intact.

William Martinson, Viv Mostert, Colin Levey (September 2017)


Writings about this entry

Donald, J M, Kirby, Percival Robson & et al. 1961. Peddie - settlers' outpost. Grahamstown: Grocott and Sherry. pg

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