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North of Barville Park lies Lombard's Post which is rather different from the fortified farmhouses to the south and east. Part of its unusual character is due to its history. Lombard's Post was originally granted to Pieter Lombard in 1790 as a loan farm. Lombard's Post was first established as a military garrison in 1812 on a site a few hundred meters below the surviving buildings. In 1817 the land was granted to Major George Sackville Fraser of Grahamstown, after whom Fraser's Camp Signal Tower was named, as a farm in reward for his service to the government but for a time the garrison appears to have remained there. Fraser lived there from his retirement until he died on 19 October 1823.
After the 1835 war [Sixth Frontier War] new buildings were erected on the present site. The farm passed into the hands of a wealthy horse-breeder. Benjamin Keeton and the unusual character of the group may be due to his desire to provide a strong point with accommodation for men and horses at which a garrison might be stationed in time of trouble to police the surrounding district - incidentally protecting his valuable herds. It is certain that during the war of 1850-51 25 men, 25 horses and 30 'Fingoes' were stationed at Lombard's Post. The surviving group of buildings comprises the barracks, or barn, accommodation for horses, men and fodder, and separate houses, which on occasion possibly accommodated officers, in addition to Keaton's own house. The four main buildings were arranged in a roughly polygonal plan, with linking walls taking the shortest distance between them, enclosing a central mustering yard which was reasonably defensible. Presumably in times of danger the outward-facing windows of the houses were heavily shuttered and boarded.
The yard contains a water cistern and water collected from the surfaces of roof and quadrangle stored there.
The main building is loopholed over two levels with gangplanks at the upper level for access when being defended. This level is reached by a door some way up the façade, accessed by ladder in times of attack.
All other buildings are loopholed for defense, as was the custom in that time of unrest on the Eastern Cape frontier.
Extracted and expanded from LEWCOCK, Ronald. 1963. Early nineteenth century architecture in South Africa - a study of the interaction of two cultures 1795 – 1837. Cape Town: Balkema. p.182.
These notes were last edited on 2021 06 04
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