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Bishopscourt, originally Boschheuvel, later Protea
Bishopscourt, Cape Town, Western Cape

BAKER and KENDALL: Architect 1909
Date:c1690 : 1774 : c1830 : 1909


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33°59'21.48" S 18°26'30.45" E Alt: 93m

The estate, originally known as 'Bosch-Heuvel', was granted on loan to Jan van Riebeeck in 1658, and in freehold to Jacob van Rosendael in 1665. Van Riebeeck built a small house, but it burned down during the conflict with the indigenous KhoiSan in 1659, and was not rebuilt.

It was not until the early 1690s that a new house was built, by Guillaume Heems. "It is likely that some of the original walls were incorporated into later alterations to this house, making it the only privately-owned partially 17th-century house in the Cape that is still in use" (Kotze : 1992 : 9).

About eighty years later, in 1774, Johannes Roep renovated the house and built a cottage on either side.

A later owner, Honoratus Maynier, added an upper storey and replaced the thatched roof with Welsh slate c1830. He also changed the name of the property to 'Protea'.

Bishop Robert Gray rented Protea as his official residence in 1848, and renamed it 'Bishop's Court'. The Colonial (now 'Overseas') Bishoprics Fund bought the property in 1851, and still owns it. Archbishop William Carter had several alterations made in 1909, Baker and Kendall being the architects.

Most of the estate was sold in 1936, and later developed into the suburb of Bishopscourt. The house remains the archbishops' official residence.

(Arthur Radburn, October 2023)

Writings about this entry

Fairbridge, Dorothea. 1924. Gardens of South Africa : with some chapters on practical gardening under South African conditions and some notes on the cultivation of South African wild flowers. Cape Town: Maskew Millar . pg opp. 10, 60 + 97
Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pg 114-115
Gutsche, Thelma. 1970. The Bishop's Lady. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 137-141, 143, 152, 154, 162-165, 168-170, 172-179, 181-183, 185, 186, 188, 189, 192, 194-198, 203, 208-211, 213, 214
Kotze, Anne R . 1992. Bishopscourt and its residents. Cape Town: Creda Press. pg All
Warner, Brian. 2006. Cape landscapes : Sir John Herschel's sketches 1834-1838. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press. pg 29, 37