Bathurst: a fresh slice of England since 1820

Yesterday we took a quick day trip to Grahamstown not far from where we are staying. This town, which is home to Rhodes University and many top schools, was founded in 1812 and still boasts many gorgeous old buildings. It seems as if there is a church on every second corner, which includes the imposing St Michael and St George Cathedral in Church Street, at the town’s centre. If you were hoping to see photos, I’m afraid there are none – it was so windy and dusty that, for the sake of my lungs, I wasn’t willing to venture out.

On our way home we drove through the 1820 Settler hamlet of Bathurst, towards Port Alfred. The little village retains much of its original English feel, and many of the earliest buildings have been preserved. This includes the Pig and Whistle Inn, which was built in 1821, and is still serving beer and delicious pub meals almost 200 years later.


I love visiting old churches, and Bathurst’s duo have both seen their fair share of history. The Wesleyan Church was built in 1832 and apparently still holds services every Sunday. I chuckled at the sign on the front gate: “Close Gate on Account of Cattle.”


According to Wikipedia, the Church of St. John is the oldest unaltered Anglican church in South Africa. Although established in 1832, the first official service was held only in 1838 apparently. It too, is in amazing condition considering its age (even with the bit of greenery growing out of its clock tower). I also love walking through graveyards, imagining the stories of all those buried there. This time, unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked.



Our final stop was at The Corner Gallery, artist Tori Stowe’s outlet for her Stowe & so range. Not only does she sell her own drawings and art prints, but Stowe & so draws together a group of artists and artisans, each dedicated to different crafts including drawing, sewing, ceramics and fabric printing. Screen printing of fabrics designed by Stowe is done on site. I absolutely loved the creativity of her art pieces made from maps. (Click on individual images to see larger versions.)