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St John's of Gowrie Church
Nottingham Road, KwaZulu-Natal

Date:1884
Type:Church
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
29°21'14.63" S 29°59'48.56" E Alt: 1396m

Transcription of information board:

THE ORIGINAL
"ST. JOHN'S GOWRIE CHURCH"
1885

This was the first church building to be erected in the parish of Upper Umgeni (Howick to Mooi River). The land on which it stands was a portion of the farm "Gowrie" donated by James King and, as well as being the site of the church, it was also the location of the local cemetery.

Construction of the wood and iron church started in November 1884 and it was opened for worship in February 1885. The total cost is recorded as £232. In 1917 additions were done, but essentially the exterior of the building is as it was in 1885.

The church was made available to other denominations and was used by the Anglican community until they built "All Saints Church" which is on the Loteni road.

On the walls inside the building are three memorial tablets inscribed with the names of the men of the district who died during the Anglo Boer War of 1889-1902 and the Great War of 1914-1918.

The oldest grave in the churchyard is that of Bessie Stanley, who died in May of 1885, followed by Mary Fly who died in childbirth on 9 June 1888 aged 26. There are headstones in the cemetery which give tragic accounts of the difficulties of the early settlers, such as the multiple infant deaths in the Jaffray family or the fatal riding accident of five-year-old Gwenllian Robinson who was killed on 8 January 1907 when the pony she was riding bolted, dragging her along with her foot caught in the stirrup. She lies beside her father, Dr. Frederick Robinson, who ran a nursing home for soldiers from the Anglo Boer at what is now King's School.

Declared a National Monument during its centenary year in 1985, the building now houses the children's church.

It is now a Provincial Heritage Site.

See eGGSA to see all the graves in the church yard.


Writings about this entry

Menache, Philippe & David, Darryl Earl. 2012. A Platteland Pilgrimage : 102 country churches of South Africa . South Africa: Booktown Richmond Press. pg 53