1/8/2011 7:02 PM
A SHORT HISTORY OF ST. PETERS CHURCH KINKELBOSCH,
THE SURROUNDING AREA, AND THOSE WHO SERVED THERE.
At the dawn of the 20th. Century there was no church at Kinkelbosch. There was a building at Nanaga erected by the sons of Robert Newcombe junior and his brother Richard, this building was used as church by the travelling Missionaries who at times stopped there to hold services, administer Holy communion and to Baptize children. Weddings and Funerals were held there as well. Robert Newcombe senior, a settler, was a member of the Congregational Church when he came to South Africa in 1820, so this Church building was always referred to as the Congregational Church of Nanaga.
As time went by, the younger generations of Newcombe all became Anglicans, why, or for what reason I was never told, the only reason I can think of is this. The Newcombe who lived in Exeter were Congregationalists, and the Saunders family who lived in Sidmouth were Anglicans. Robert Newcombe, the Settler married Elizabeth Saunders, an Anglican, his son Richard (My grandfather) married Caroline Saunders, also an Anglican from Sidmouth, so I presume that is where to Anglican influence originated.
I have been fortunate to find an interesting item about Church Services starting in the outlying area around Alexandria to as far as Kinkelbosch. This item I came across in an old Scrap Book kept by my late wife, whenever Edna found something Interesting, be it of family or friends, or of any other interesting events or happenings in or around our district, whether it was early, late, or even ancient times, if it concerned our area, it would be cut out and it would be pasted in her scrap book. It was in this book that I found this item of information, as well as the dates concerning the dedication of St. Peters Church and the date of the opening of the hall.
This is what I found, "During the years 1891 to 1892 the Rev. Stumbles who was a deacon, resided in Alexandria, while the Rev. P.B. Simeon visited the District from Grahamstown three times a year to administer Holy Communion. Work gradually started to expand during this time. Mr. Stumbles taking the Services at, The Post, Thornhill, Niekerks Hope, Richmond, Graafwater, Oakhill, Kinkelbosch, and Hopehill. The last three incidentally constituting the first reference to work in the Kinkelbosch area."
(The Kinkelbosch) that I have underlined must surely have been my Grandfather's farm DEVONSHIRE PARK). The only other buildings at Kinkelbosch at that time was the Kinkelbosch Hotel, the Kinkelbosch Stage Coach Station and Sterleys Wagon Makers workshop, all of which would have been considered unsuitable, if there was a farm house at their disposal.
One only has to remember that there was an empty Church building at Nanaga, which was used by the travelling Missionaries, but the Anglican Parsons never used it when they came to preach at Kinkelbosch. WHY??? Was it because these Anglican Parsons were too bigoted to hold a service in a church of another denomination? And if so, I must again ask, why??? Something that I, during all my years could never understand. One only has to bear in mind that a Church, be it of whatever Denomination, is after all only an innocent building, a quantity of bricks, stones, and other materials arranged under a roof, so why make a big issue of it? But, thank goodness, times have changed and those old bigoted ideas are now a thing of the past, Anglicans now even take communion in the Methodist Churches and vice versa.
The first Church Services held at Kinkelbosch were conducted by the ministers of Christ Church Alexandria (Anglican) they came by cart and horses about once every two or three months. These Services were held in the dining room in my Grandfathers house on his farm Devonshire Park. All the Newcombes at Kinkelbosch and Nanaga used to attend these Services.
James Peck Newcombe, the son of Robert Newcombe junior, then went over to Scotland to study Theology (I do not know what year that took place). Before he went to Scotland he used to run a small general dealers shop at Islam, next to the old Nanaga Hotel and the Stage Coach Stables. A short time after he returned from Scotland, he went over to America to study further. When he eventually returned from America he was a fully ordained Methodist Parson. I never heard why, but the Reverend James Peck Newcombe as he was now known, never got a call from any Methodist Parish asking him to be their minister, so he just stayed on a Nanaga. I was told that he used to hold a Methodist Service in the old Congregational Church at odd times and he also conducted a few funeral Services as well, but he never got a call to have a church of his own to preach in. But what has always surprised me most was, why was the Nanaga Church never offered to him? So the Rev. J.P. Newcombe just sat around without a job. Which I am sure must have often made him think why. What he did however was to convert all the Nanaga Newcombes to Methodism.
It was at this time that the Anglicans at Kinkelbosch had built St Peters Church, and this must surely aroused something in the old Rev. James Peck, because he then started with the building of the Nanaga Methodist Church. Mr. W. Fowlds laid the foundation stone on the 16th. November 1909 four months after St. Peters Church was Dedicated. Old James Peck had the entire Nanaga Methodist Church built at this own expense, and, when it was completed he donated it to the Nanaga Methodists, free, gratis, and for nothing. This gift was soon to be followed by others, the next to come was the Hall, then the Manse for the Parson to live in, and lastly the schoolroom. These buildings were all built of brick and must have cost a fortune at that time. The hall was, and still is, a perfect building, it is fitted with a large stage, dressing rooms, a large kitchen and pantry. There are other large rooms off the passage, indoor toilets and gas lighting, the gas lights were eventually taken out and the whole building wired for electric lights, a generating plant was installed to provide the power.
The hall would have been a wonderful asset to the community but the conditions laid down by old Jim, just made as some said (a white elephant). The rules and conditions lay down by old Jim, whom had to be strictly adhered to were as follows. No dancing was to be allowed in the hall, nor on the stage, no alcohol was to be allowed in the building, if a wedding reception was to be held in the Hall, no Champagne would be allowed as Champagne was an alcoholic beverage. So this beautiful hall was only used for a few singing Concerts, a party at Christmas time with a Christmas tree for the children, to hold the Church Bazaars, and to serve tea after Church Services.
After the Rec. James Peck had given the Nanaga Methodists the Church, the Hall, the Manse, and the Schoolroom, they had no more use for the old Congregational Church anymore so it was taken over by the coloured and Hottentots. They held their services there every Sunday and the occasional party on a Saturday night. When the New Year came they held a party that eclipsed all the other parties, because to them the coming of they New Year was very special occasion and was to be regarded and celebrated as such. That meant it had to be celebrated throughout the night, from the Old Year into the New Year. For this occasion, some would brew gallons of honey beer, which they consumed in copious quantities without regard of the consequences, the result was serious fights often started, (honey beer has that effect on those who drink it, they become aggressive) and so it happened that at times blood was seen to flow. Cecil Newcombe told me that eventually these parties got so out of hand that the old Coloured Parson and his Church Elders came to his Dad (uncle Ben) and asked him if some White Bosses would please attend these parties to keep order, as they were afraid someone may get badly hurt or even killed in these fights. Uncle Ben told them he was prepared to go and keep order at their parties, provided he was allowed to take his old Hippopotamus Sjambok with him and have the right with their support, to punish anyone with it who stepped out of line and disrupted the party. This was accepted and the Parson and his Elders all agreed and promised to support him in every way, so uncle Ben became the official peace keeper at those parties for a number of years.
After having punished a few trouble makers, who were held down over a bench, while uncle Ben administered the required punishment with his trusty Sjambok, caused the usual troublemakers, who saw what could happen to them, to think twice before starting any further trouble. So peace and good behavior prevailed at the parties from there on, thanks to uncle Ben and his Sjambok.
Sadly the old Congregational Church of Nanaga does not exist anymore. About ten years ago, I received a letter from Mrs. Ruth Miller who lives at Addo, asking me, if, by any chance, I had a photo of the old Church. She would like to have a picture of it, as her Mom and Dad had been married in it in 1906. Ruth's Mother was Frances Gertrude (Iny) Newcombe and her Father was Thomas Vivian Thomas, they used to live and farm at Essen Dene in Thornkloof. I did not have a Photo of the old Church, so one day I drove over to Nanaga to take a snap of the old building for Ruth, but what a shock I got, when I arrived there and saw what remained of the old Church. All the sheets of iron had been removed from one half of the roof, all the windows and the door had been chopped out of the walls, the benches were all gone, and the floor boards had all been ripped out with the floor joists. It was only an empty shell left with half a roof. I was disgusted. I went to the side where one could still see the part of the roof that was left, and I took a snap from there, which I sent to Ruth. That was ten years ago, so I do not think there is anything left of the old Church now. Its parts have now all been sold to those Blacks who built their shacks in the Squatter Camp of that Hell Hole called Motherwell.
I had been asked to write a short history of how St. Peters Church at Kinkelbosch was started and those who served there, but now you see what has happened. I simply get carried away with my thoughts and memories. I have now got to the stage, where memories play a big part in my life, time passes me by so quickly that I am left in the past with only my memories to keep me company, so I hope that those who read this will please forgive me.
I mentioned before that all the Newcombes used to worship at the Anglican Services held at Devonshire Park, which were conducted by the incumbent Ministers of Christ Church Alexandria.
I must also mention that all these events took place long before I was born, but I was fortunate to have had parents who often told us children about the events that took place before our time. I am therefore very grateful to them for having told us what they did, otherwise I would not have been able to write the story of how St. Peters Church came to be built.
I can well remember Mom and Dad telling us about the services which were held in the dining room at Devonshire Park. My sister Kathleen, who was eight years older than me, remembered some of those services too and so did Cecil Newcombe. Cecil once told me that he remembered very well going to services at Devonshire Park with his Mom and Dad by cart and horse. He also told me he remembered very well sitting on a cushion on the floor at his Mother's feet listening to the Parson preaching, but the only Parson he could remember was the Rev. Lional Artus.
In 1908 the Rev. Lional Herbert Artus came to Alexandria and was installed as rector of Christ Church. He came from St. Peters Church West Bank in East London, where he had been in office since 1906. St Peters Church West Bank was his first Church in South Africa after arriving here from England. When Mr. Artus became Rector of Christ Church, he started visiting Kinkelbosch once every month to hold a communion service at Devonshire Park. He made the journey up from Alexandria with his cart and horses. He always stayed at Devonshire Park, some times he would spend a whole week there, going out to visit members of the congregation on their farms in the Kinkelbosch and Nanaga areas. He used to do this horse and cart trip every month until the railway line was completed from Barkley Bridge to Alexandria. Mr. Artus then did the journey to Kinkelbosch by train; he came up on Saturday morning and returned home again on Monday afternoon, uncle John who farmed at Devonshire Park used to do the fetching a taking.
I have been fortunate to get some background on Mr. Artus from my cousin Hedley Newcombe who lives in East London. Mr. Artus was Hedley's Grand Father's brother. The Artus family lived in Plymouth in England. The Rev. Artus was educated at Oxford University. I was told that he was actually studying to become a Civil Engineer, and then one day, he said, he had a call telling him to stop studying to become an Engineer, but, rather to study Theology and become a minister of the Church and to go out to preach the Gospel to the people. He said this Call caused him to think very deeply, and in the end he decided to answer the Call, so he changed to Theology and became a Minister of Religion. After he had completed his studies he was ordained as a Minister of the Anglican Church, and what an excellent Minister he was.
After his Ordination he came out to South Africa. His first Church was St. Peters Church West Bank in East London, where he was installed as the Assistant Curate in 1906, he was later promoted to Curate, he was in office there for two years. He was then sent to Alexandria and there he was installed as Rector of Christ Church in 1908.
I mentioned before that when Mr. Artus became Rector of Christ Church, he started coming to Kinkelbosch every month and not every two or three month like the other Parsons did before. He also started going to the Smith's farm at Grootvlei, where he also held the Service in the house, they never built a church at Grootvlei. Rev. Artus served Christ Church, St. Peters, and Grootvlei, faithfully for nine years and it must indeed have been a sad day for all the Parishioners when he announced that he was leaving as he was being sent to Grahamstown to be the Rector of Christ Church in Speke Street. That was in the year 1917.
I was told that when he got to Speke Street he was very upset with the state of the grounds around the church. He said it was too drab and that it could be greatly improved by making gardens around the Church, so he got busy and started planting a rose garden. That rose garden I believe became a showpiece when the roses were in bloom. I was told recently that the rose garden is still there, it is well tended and is still as beautiful as ever. Just imagine, that garden was started 83 years ago.
I do not know how long Mr. Artus was Rector of Christ Church in Speke Street, as I have not been able to find the dates when he moved. I know his next move was to Fort Beaufort where he was installed as Rector of St. Johns Church. There he also served for a number of years. His last move was to Colesburg, as Rector of Christ Church. He was their Rector until he took ill and passed away some time during the 1940's. He suffered from Diabetes during his latter years, but I cannot say if it was the Diabetes that took him off in the end. Mr. Artus always said that he did not want anything marking his grave, no stone or epitaph had to mark where he was buried, his family granted him his wish. He is buried in the Colesburg cemetery, in an unmarked grave, he has his wish, no tombstone.
His wife, we all knew her as aunt Gertie died at Devonshire Park in 1956. She is buried in the cemetery at St. Peters Kinkelbosch. They had four children, Norman, Nancy, Kenneth, and Nigel. I believe they are also all dead now. I do not know where their children are.
At St. Peters Kinkelbosch Mr. Artus was a very popular Minister. He was well liked and very well respected by all, both young and old. He was a real down to earth man, someone you were always pleased to see, he always had something pleasant to say whenever you met him. He was not the long faced mournful faced Anglican Parson who made you feel guilty of some unknown sin whenever he looked at you. The younger members of St. Peters used to call him uncle Lional and he liked it.
He knew how to join in fun and play games with children, as well as have fun with adults, but there was a limit which was never overstepped, the Rev. Artus could then become very stern. At that time I remember young girls used to have small books called albums, in which people were asked to write something or to draw a little picture. Well, you often saw Mr. Artus with three or more young girls around him, with their little albums, and he would be writing a little verse in them, which he just made up in his head. He would also draw funny little pictures and then write little rhymes to go with them, he could do this without the least bit of effort. My sister Kathleen had one or two of these albums containing quite a number of pages with his drawings and verses or rhymes in them, I often wonder what became of those albums, I wish I knew.
Mr. Artus was also a very heavy pipe smoker. Goodness knows how many pipes he carried around in his pockets, as he always seemed to have a pipe ready for smoking in one of his pockets. All he did was put his hand into one of his pockets and, Hey Presto, as if by magic, it produced a pipe already stuffed, which he would just light up right away. I remember once going into his study, and there I saw the widest variety of pipes I had ever seen in my whole life. There they were all arranged on a tray on a round table in a corner of his study, there were crooked stem pipes, straight stem pipes, Graaf-Reinet pipes, calabash pies, pipes with faces carved on them. There were pipes that seemed to have been made of earthenware, with shiny yellow stems. Dad told me they were Meerschaum pipes and that the stems were made of a substance called amber (I have since read that Meerschaum is a type of clay only found in Turkey from which pipes are made). My Dad was also a heavy pipe smoker, and he also had a lot of pipes, but nothing compared to those I saw in Mr. Artus' study.
As Dad and Mr. Artus were both heavy pipe smokers, they used to get on very well together. It would not be long after they got together when they would start comparing all the different brands of tobacco, and then discuss new methods of blending the weed. Listening to their discussion about blending the different kinds of tobacco, made one think that there was an art in it, which one only gained from experience? Later tobacco pouches would be swopped, and then each stuffed his pipe from the other pouch, the pipes were lit and some heavy puffs followed producing clouds of smoke and through the haze of smoke you would see heads nodding in approval.
I mentioned in the beginning that the first Anglican Services were held at Devonshire Park. Uncle Robert Newcombe, who was then a young man farming at Nanaga was the Chapel warden. The previous Ministers just left everything to him, he used to manage the entire business of the Church all on his own, including all the Church's finances as well, there was never a query nor a meeting held. Shortly after Mr. Artus came to Kinkelbosch, he announced after the service one Sunday that at the next Service he wanted to have an Easter Vestry meeting and that he would like the Church's financial statements brought up to date, as he had not seen one yet.
The following month came and after the Service was over, Mr. Artus called the Vestry meeting to Order. After the opening prayers was said he called for the minutes of the previous meeting to be read, only to be told that there had never been a previous meeting, so there were no Minutes. This gave Mr. Artus quite a shock, to hear no Vestry Meeting had ever been held before. But, he said as collections are regularly taken at every Service and that an amount was regularly paid to Christ Church towards the Parsons Stipend, there surely had to be books kept which could produce a statement of the Finances, and that is what he would like to hear. After that remark uncle Robert put his hand into his pocket, took out his packet of cigarettes and proceeded to read off the amounts he had written on the back of the cigarette box. Mr. Artus nearly had a fit when this took place, he said do you realize I am supposed to sign documents such as Minute and Financial Statements after they have been read to the meeting, now please tell me how can I sign something written on the back of a cigarette box? Therefore I am now canceling this meeting and disregarding it entirely, I am now announcing that there will be an Easter Vestry Meeting after Service next month, and I hope that there will be proper book that I will be able to sign, when the necessary item have been read. Mom and Dad were at that meeting, they told me the story.
Mr. Artus had been preaching at Devonshire Park for some time now, and then in his sermon on Sunday, he mentioned how wonderful it would be if they had a small chapel in which to have the monthly services at Kinkelbosch. He said he was sure the Parishioners should do it quite easily with just a little effort. This suggestion of his really touched by Mom. Dad, being deaf, of course did not hear it, so, after Mom and Dad got back home to Dundonald, Mom told Dad what Mr. Artus had said. Mom then said to Dad how nice it would be if they donated a plot of ground for a Church to be built on Dundonald, somewhere near the shop. Dad agreed and thought it was brilliant idea. So the next day Mom and Dad went down to Devonshire Park before Mr. Artus returned to Alexandria and told him what they intended to do. Mr. Artus was thrilled when he heard their news. The next move was, Dad and Mr. Artus went to Grahamstown where they saw an attorney who drew up the papers for the Title Deeds and to transfer one morgen of ground from the farm Dundonald to the Anglican Church.
When the news got around that Dad had donated the plot of ground for the Church to be built on, it started off quite a lot of enthusiasm among the Church members. Everybody now started thinking of ways and means of raising funds with which to build the long needed Church. The Ladies started organizing Bazaars and permission was obtained to use the new School Room, which had recently been built at Kinkelbosch in which to hold the Bazaars. Some of the ladies even started having a tea stall at the station, selling tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits, and sandwiches to the passengers on the train. All this was being done to raise funds for the new church. It is surprising how those old people rallied and did their utmost to raise the money for a good cause.
Collecting lists were written out in which people were asked to donate anything in cash or kind towards the building fund for the new Church. Some of the Church members were given a list and was asked to go and collect. My Dad also got one of those lists. People gave whatever they could, some gave money, others gave a few sheep, some gave bags of mealies, barley or oats. There were even a few tollies and heifers donated, Dad said he even had three young pigs on his list.
These things were all put for auction on the day that the Bazaar was held. The Ladies excelled with their share of the proceedings for the Bazaar with cakes, loaves of fresh home made bread, biscuits and home made sweets, bottles of ginger beer, toys, and needle work. They even served hot home cooked lunches as well. I believe the busiest stall of all was the tea and coffee stall where you got a cup of tea or coffee and sandwich for sixpence (5 cents). Compare that with to day’s prices at a restaurant.
After the lunch was over the Auction Sale was held. Uncle Robert always acted as auctioneer, and he did the job very well. He always seemed to be able to wangle money out of people which I am sure they never really intended to pay for an object they, perhaps, did not even need at all. He just laughed when people moaned to him and he would just say, it is all for a good cause. The Bazaar with the collection lists and the Auction Sale brought in more money than was expected, and, as wood and iron buildings were cheaper to construct, it was decided to erect a wood and iron Church, as there were now sufficient funds for it.
Mr. Christiaan Grassman was approached by some of the Congregation and he was offered the job of building the new Church, he accepted the offer. Mr. Grassman was a farmer in the Kinkelbosch area, and he as a man of many talents, he was a carpenter, a bricklayer, a blacksmith, and wagon maker. There were many farmers whose houses and he built outbuildings, and there were a number of people who were buried in coffins made by him as well.
Mr. Grassman calculated the amount of material he would require for the building of the Church, after he had drawn his plan, he then went to Port Elizabeth with his wagon and oxen, (the Railway line to Alexandria had not yet been completed). He got all the timer and iron etc. etc. needed for the building, loaded it all onto his wagon, brought it out to the building site and proceeded with the building. I was told that it only took him three weeks and the Church was completed, paint and all. I never heard when the Church was actually completed, but I do know for sure that St. Peters Church was dedicated on the 18th. July1909. I have since read that the dedication was performed by the Rev. Reginald J. Jelly (assistant at St. Pauls). Because St. Peters Church was built of wood and iron it was never consecrated, but the ground on which it was built was consecrated. St. Peters Church Kinkelbosch has now become a reality. The Congregation of St. Peters Church were very thankful and happy and so was the Rev. Lional Artus. The old wood and iron building served the people of Kinkelbosch for Thirty-One years until it was rebuilt of brick in 1940.
The Devonshire Park Newcombe children had the Pews made and donated them to St. Peters in memory of their Father Richard Newcombe. There is a brass plate fixed to the wall stating that the Pews were given in his memory. Auntie Anne gave her organ to the Church, that organ was a Birthday Gift from her Father on her Twenty First Birthday in 1890. Auntie Anne was the first Organist of St. Peters Church; she played the organ at all the Services and functions held at St. Peters until she developed Parkinson's disease in 1921. My mother then became the Organist until 1933, then my sister Kathleen took over and was Organist for 47 years of unbroken service. Kathleen was very sad when she was forced to give up before completing her Fifty Years as organist.
St. Peters did not have a Pulpit so the parson used to stand at the Lectern and preach his Sermon from there. My Grand Mother died on the 22nd. December 1914. Her children then clubbed together once more and had the Pulpit made and donated it to St. Peters in memory of the Mother Caroline Hayman Newcombe. These entire donation coming from one family seemed to upset certain members of St. Peters. The Devonshire Park family had donated the Pews, the Organ, My Dad who was also from Devonshire Park had given the plot of land on which the Church was built, and were now donating the Pulpit, and so it wasn't long before some as the Devonshire Park affair was eluding to St. Peters. It is strange to me, how certain individuals react to other people’s acts of benevolence. Now is there anyone in this world of ours who can explain to me why this so often happens? Because this is something which I during all my years on this Planet just could never fathom out.
To continue my story, I must now repeat what I have already said before. I was born in 1911, two years after St. Peters Church was built, so what I have written thus far took place before I was born. But as I have said, I was lucky to have had parents who used to talk to their children and tell them of events that took place before their time, otherwise I could never have written what I have so far. I am therefore very grateful to them for having told me what they did, and also very glad to have my memory still fresh enough to remember it.
From the time I can remember, I remember that on Church Sunday we were always dressed in our Sunday best with our hair neatly brushed and combed. Dad was always very particular about neatly combed hair. When everyone was ready we all got into the old Gig pulled by old Tom, and off we went to Church. Old Tom was a dark brown horse with a white star between his eyes, he also had four white feet. I eventually learnt to ride old Tom. The pine trees growing along Mr. William Muscott had planted the fence around the Church. They were now about five years old, and big enough to cast quite a nice shade. Dad would drive up to the shady side of one of them and tie old Tom to the fence, so that he stood in the shade while we were in Church. Mom and Dad always sat in the very front pew on the right hand side of the aisle. Mom would look at each one of us in turn when she told Kathleen, Hector and I, to remember that we were in Church and that we were to behave ourselves, and, believe me, we did. Mom was very strict about behaviour in Church; we were told that we were sitting in the front so we had to be an example to those children sitting behind us. Moms training was so ingrained in me that even today at my age, I cannot accept the behaviour of some children in Church, who are allowed by their Parents to run up and down the aisle and talking while the Service is still on. I do know that this is the modern trend. Psychologists say that small children should always have utter freedom, and I agree to a certain extent, but with that freedom there should be a limit, to which a certain degree of discipline must be applied. That is, respectful behaviour in Church which they can so easily be taught by their Parents. I know, there are many who will say, that I am just a grumpy old man complaining about something I do not understand. But they would be quite wrong, I love children, I love to hear them laugh and shout while having fun playing games with their little friends, but in Church it is not acceptable. It is both disturbing and distracting to say the least, and for that I do not blame the children at all, I blame their Parents.
Mr. Artus had been the Rector of Christ Church for nine years, so he had been our Parson for nine years as well. Therefore it was a very sad day when he announced in Church, the time had come for him to say farewell to his Parishioners, as he was now being sent to Grahamstown to take over as Rector of Christ Church in Speke Street. He then told us that we would be getting a new Parson; he was the Rev. Morgan who was coming from Wales.
The Reverend Robert Voyle Morgan eventually arrived with his wife, Mrs. Frances Lucy Morgan. Mrs. Morgan was a very sweet old lady, very Motherly, although she had never had children of her own. But Mr. Morgan!!! What a difference!!! This was not the jovial Mr. Artus who always had something pleasant whenever he greeted someone. Mr. Morgan was the real serious type of Anglican Priest. I am sure there are some who will know exactly what I mean. Mr. Morgan was a tall man and he always seemed to be looking at you from a height. There were times he looked at you, made you wonder straight away, which of the Ten Commandments you had broken.
Mr. Morgan was different from Mr. Artus in every respect, and I do not mean to say this in a disrespectful way. Mr. Morgan was a very good man and a very good Minister, but he just could not be compared with Mr. Artus.
Mr. Artus would go into the Pulpit, open the Bible and read the text, close the Bible and then give his Sermon. He seemed to talk to each one in Church, he would even include the children by talking to them as well. People always said that his sermons were so interesting that you just wanted to hear more, and he did this without any notes at all. He just stood there in the Pulpit and talked to the people in Church.
Mr. Morgan was different. When he went into the Pulpit he always had a whole handful of notes and he would read those notes from the first to the last page, with a lot of talking in between. Those sermons often lasted over an hour. Many in Church often yawned, poor uncle Will often dropped off to sleep and would get a jab in the ribs from Auntie Annie’s elbow when he let out a loud snore, this snore often ended in a snort, as a result of the jab. Many of the older folk used to say, that in spite of Mr. Morgan's long sermons, there was never any message in them. I was only a little boy of seven when Mr. Morgan came to Kinkelbosch and I had to sit with Mom and Dad at every service in Church and listen to those long sermons, but I never knew what the old man was talking about.
If ever there was anyone who really had his share of Mr. Morgan, then surely that one had to be me. When I turned fifteen Mr. Morgan said that the time had come for me to be prepared for Confirmation, so I had to meet him at the Church on the Saturday afternoon before Kinkelbosch’s Church Sunday. I was the only candidate for Confirmation at Kinkelbosch, so he had me alone for preparation, and prepare me he did, I can assure you. He sometimes kept me there for over two hours, as he said to me when he started, remember you are only getting lessons once a month, so we have to make up for lost time. Well he made up for lost time all right, believe me. By the time I was, according to him, ready for Confirmation, I could just about recite the whole of the Communion Service, the Morning and Evening Services, the Creed and the Ten Commandments, all by heart, as well as the Catechism. I had the four Gospels drummed into me as well. I had to learn all this because the next time he would question me about it all. I have often thought that the brain washing I got from Mr. Morgan during those months of preparation for Confirmation, is the reason why I have always loved the old Common Prayer Book Service so much. Since the New Liturgy came into the Anglican Church I have always felt lost. I always feel this New Liturgy has taken all the Beauty and Reverence away from the old Common Prayer Book Communion Service. Even the Lords Prayer is not the Lords Prayer that my Parents taught me as a child. To me the Holy Communion Service is just not the same any more. What has happened, to those beautiful old Hymns we used to sing? "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord" "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,” "The King of love my Shepherd is" "We love the place, O God" "Lead us heavenly Father, lead us", to name but a few. Instead of those beautiful Hymns, we now have to sing Sunday school ditties, at times accompanied by the waving of hands and arms and often the strumming of guitar as well. To me this appears more like a Pagan Ritual, than a Christian Church Service.
To me the worst part of this New Liturgy Communion Service is the walk about they have in Church during the service, the shaking of hands, and the kissing, which takes place while wishing one another, "THE PEACE OF THE LORD". To me it is out of time and out of place. Why does it have to happen in the middle of the Communion Service when Communicants are just about to kneel to partake the Sacraments, which figuratively represents the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not have the Peace of the Lord in you heart at this part of the Communion Service, then why are you there at all? I know there will be many Anglicans who disagree, but that is how I feel about it.
The Rev. Morgan who prepared me for Confirmation told me in quite a number of his lessons, and he stressed this in no uncertain manner. He said if you feel you are not at peace with everyone, and only your conscience can answer that, then you do not take Communion, you only take Communion when your whole being is entirely at peace. I therefore feel if there has to be walk about in Church, kissing and shaking hands while wishing one another THE PEACE OF THE LORD, then let it be when the Congregation enters the Church and not when the Communicants are about to kneel at the Chancel rails ready in their hearts to receive the Holy Communion. To my way of thinking, this walk about is indeed out of time and out of place.
The next project the members of St. Peters started talking about (mostly the ladies) was the building of a Hall in which to have functions, such as dances, wedding receptions, and birthday parties, for which a fee could be charged for the use of the hall. This money could then be set aside and added to by having other functions such as dances for which tickets could be sold. It would also make it so much easier for the ladies, as the Bazaars could then be held in the hall.
In the beginning there was quite a bit of opposition to this idea of a hall being built, as there were others who wanted a new brick Church to be built, as the bees were becoming quite a problem. The bees had made their hives in every wall of the old wood and iron Church and on a hot day, the bees came into the Church and started stinging the people. So as can be imagined opposing forces quite often clashed at the meeting and at times feelings ran quite high, as there were those who maintained that the new brick Church should get priority, as the Schoolroom still served very well in which to hold the Church Bazaars. But there were three or four ladies who strongly opposed that idea (they were the ladies who used to prepare the Schoolroom for the Bazaars and had to clean up when the Bazaar was over). They said, yes, the Schoolroom was very convenient, and that it served very well when everything has been prepared for them just to walk in and place their things on the trestle tables, that had been prepared for them by others. Those who used the Schoolroom after it had been prepared never gave a thought about the cleaning up after the Bazaar was over. Feelings ran very high at that meeting, I know because I was there. The Rev. Morgan who was the Chairman and Mr. Reuben Hill who was the Church Warden had to use quite a lot of diplomacy to get order back into the meeting again. In the end, it was the few ladies who fought so hard for the Hall won the day and it was decided to proceed with the building of the Hall first.
The Congregation of St Peters started off once more thinking of ways and means of raising the money for the new Hall. Money was very scarce as this was now the depression years. Butter was being sold on the Port Elizabeth market for sixpence a pound, eggs were sixpence a dozen. Some ladies started their stalls at Kinkelbosch, but they soon gave up as there were very few people using the train. Kinkelbosch wasn't even a Station anymore, it was only a siding now with a Post Mistress who also worked the telephone exchange as well.
It was then that Mr. Reuben Hill, who was the Church Warden, came up with the idea of having some collection lists typed out, so that the Church members could take them and collect wherever they could get funds for this new Hall. I was handed one of those lists and I was told to go and collect in the Sand Flats area, as it was then known. I was only eighteen years old then and I was not very happy with the idea. I was a very shy young chap at that time, and for me to go from farm to farm collecting money from total strangers was, to me, a very embarrassing affair, I had never done anything like this before. I had only recently been made a Sidesman at St. Peters so I said, well this is the job and it is my duty as a Sidesman to do it, I was not collecting money for myself, it was for the Church.
I did not have car, so I saddled my horse (Rascal) early one morning and set off for Sand Flats.
Most people treated me very well, I suppose they could see that I was only a boy, but I am sorry to say that there were a few did make me feel very awkward. Remember I was only a young boy of eighteen and at that time, eighteen-year-old boys were not as brazen or sophisticated as they are today. I was in a strange area among strange people that I had never seen in my whole life before, nor did they know me.
I found the Afrikaans people much more friendly and they were the easiest to collect from. They did not give huge amounts, but they gave what they could and they gave it without a moan. Strangely enough the Afrikaans people made me feel more comfortable than a lot of English people did. There were some of the English farmers who did not even take me into their houses. I would be given some money or a cheque and the list was signed outside on the veranda. I was not even offered a glass of water. I have since thought if I had asked for a glass of water, would I have got it in a mug?
With the Afrikaans people it was quite different, when I came to Afrikaans home and had shaken hands, the first words were "JA Boet, en wie se seun is jy?" (Yes boy, and whose son are you?) And I replied, "ek is dowe Robbie Newcombe se seun Oom" I used the word "Oom" only if he was an old man as a sign of respect. (I am deaf Robby Newcombe's son, Uncle). Most of the older people knew who deaf Robby Newcombe was, those who weren’t sure then asked, "Is dit die dowe Robbie wat met Bella Pienaar getroud is?"(Is that the deaf Robby who is married to Bella Pienaar?) Then I just said "ja Oom" (yes Uncle). That was enough; I was then taken into the house and treated like a member of the family. I would have to stay for a meal, and one of the sons would be told to take my horse and give him a bundle of forage. It was then that I realised how well my parent were known and how highly they were thought of. It was then too that I realised how lucky I was to have inherited through them a legacy of friendship from complete strangers, just because I was their son. That trip to collect at Sand Flats took me two days, I spent the night with the Maritz family well inside the Zuurberg Mountains, Old Oom Hendrik Maritz knew my Grand Father (Oupa Pienaar).
The next day I made my way home still collecting on the way, I think poor old Rascal was as glad as I was when we eventually got home that evening after being in the saddle for two days.
Mr. Reuben Hills idea of having those collecting lists typed out was a brilliant one, as the money brought in by those lists combined with the money made at other functions, was sufficient for the building of the Hall. The Hall was also built of wood and iron as that was the cheapest method of building and we had to work according to the money we had.
The job was advertised and Mr. Joseph Shephard's tender was accepted (Joe Shephard was Kathleen Broadbent's sister Eileen's husband). Joe did not do the building himself, he had a Mr. Ungerer who did the building for him.
The building of the Kinkelbosch Hall was completed within a few weeks, and how proud everybody was of their new Hall, something the people of Kinkelbosch never had. The Hall was opened with a Grand Ball on the 4th. November 1931. It was indeed a Gala Occasion, and a huge crowd attended the opening that night.
The Rev. Morgan, who had been Rector of St. Peters since 1918, had now gone to live in Grahamstown (semi retired) in 1930. The Rev. Albert Monks was now our Rector at St. Peters, and he suggested that the Rev. Morgan should be invited to the opening of the Hall. He had been involved in all the arrangements of the building of the Hall right from the start, as he had been chairman at all the numerous meeting in connection with the building thereof. Unfortunately about a week before the opening night we received a message to say that Mr. Morgan had been taken ill and was confined to his be, so he would not be able to come to the opening of the Hall.
The opening night came and the people started to arrive in hordes. Some said it was a pity that tickets weren't sold for the opening, because the ladies would then have been well paid for all their work and the lovely refreshments they supplied.
Mr. Monks got the drummer to give a few loud bangs on his drum to get a bit of silence. Then Mr. Monks started with his address to open the Hall. In his address he mentioned Mr. Morgan quite a number of times, how sorry he was that the Rev. Morgan could not be there that evening to have done the opening of the Hall, as that was really his privilege. In his address, Mr. Hill thanked all the Ladies and Gentlemen who had worked very hard for a number of years to achieve their dream of having a Hall in which to hold all the functions for the benefit of the Church. When the speeches were over, they, the Orchestra started up and soon the dance floor was full of swaying dancers at the first dance to be held in the new Kinkelbosch Hall.
When everything was at its jelliest and everybody was now really enjoying themselves, the message came through that Mr. Morgan had passed away that evening. What happens now? Was the question on everybody's lips? Some of the older people, when they heard the news suggested that the dance should be stopped, and that everybody be asked to go home. But there were others, who said that could not be done as so many people had come very long distances to the dance, and most of them did not even know Mr. Morgan. So they could not just be told that the dance has to be stopped and that every body had to please go home. Mr. Monks then came forward and said, don't worry just leave it all to me. He then stopped to music and made the announcement. He told everyone in the Hall who had known the Rev. Morgan, who had been the Minister at Kinkelbosch for a number of years, and who was supposed to open the Hall that evening had just passed away. So if there was anyone who wanted to stop celebrating and go home may do so, but that the dance would continue for the rest of the people, but only until Twelve O'clock. Some of the older people did go home, but the dance continued. Mr. Monk’s announcement did seem to put a damper on the celebrations for a while, but eventually it passed over and everything seemed to return to normal again after a while. Mr. Monks, who was a man of his word, saw to it that the dance did stop sharply at Twelve O'clock.
After the Hall was opened, quite a number of functions were held in it to raise funds for St. Peters Church. I remember many a pleasant evening spent in the New Hall. There were a number of Black Tie dances arranged and an expensive orchestra from Port Elizabeth would be hired and tickets for the dance would be sold. These black tie dances brought in the most money, after the orchestra and other incidental expenses were paid, the Ladies often cleared amounts of up to sixty pounds, which, at that time, was considered quite a lot on money for a dance.
We also had a few of the ordinary old Farm Dances when we just hired a local Concertina and Guitar band, and you just paid a few shillings at the door for a ticket. Those were nice dances, jolly and friendly and everyone enjoyed themselves, Dress was casual, flannel pants and men wore open necked shirt. The ladies just wore ordinary party frocks. We also had some free get together parties sometimes, when everyone brought their own refreshments. Melville Estment played his concertina and auntie Toekie Potgieter also played hers and then some also played the piano, what fun we had doing the "Palais Glide" and the "Lambeth Walk", remember? (Hands, knees, boomps a daisy), and the other old tunes such as the Tennessee Waltz and Suiker Bossie, and many others, the names of which I have now forgotten, but Oh!!! What fun we had. I don't suppose the modern Teenager would have appreciated what we called fun; to them it would have been too boring. As it was a free party we had to clean up the Hall when the party was over and leave it in the state in which we found it, but no one complained as it was worth every minute of it.
About a week before Christmas there was always a big dance held. It eventually got the name of the Christmas Ball. It was real Black Tie affair and tickets sold like hot cakes. A posh orchestra was hired from Port Elizabeth, which always made these Christmas Dances into a huge success. We did not have a New Years Eve dance as the Paterson people had been having a New Year Ball ever since they built the Hall at Paterson and what lovely dances they were too.
The dances and other functions that were held in the Hall for which charges were made, together with the Bazaars that were now comfortably held in the Hall had increased St Peters Church's finances quite considerably. So when a few more people had been stung in Church by the bees, the Congregation started talking about the new brick Church once more.
St. Peters Church had served all those who worshipped there very well during the past thirty years, but had been built of wood and iron. Bees had built their hives in the gap between the sheets of iron on the outside and the wooden boards on the inside. On a hot day they would fly into the Church and sting people. They were particularly bad when a funeral was being held. I suppose it was the scent of the flowers that attracted them. It must be remembered, at that time not many people owned motorcars, most people still went to Church by cart and horses. The horses were tied in the shade of the pine trees that were planted along the fence around the Church. Then the bees started attacking the horses as well. One Sunday, the bees stung one of uncle Reg Newcombe's horses to death while we were all in Church. This incident caused quite a stir among the people.
Writing about the people who went to Church by cart and horses, makes me think of old uncle Charley and Aunt Sally Saunders. They used to go to Church by wagon and oxen, a distance of about five miles from their farm Rose Mount. I can still well remember seeing the two old people sitting side by side in two huge Madeira cane chairs which were tied together on the wagon, which was drawn by eight oxen. Uncle Charlie always wore a cap with his dark suit starched collar and black tie. Aunt Sally always had on a black dress with a lacy white collar which seemed to go halfway up her neck. She wore a black hat with black ostrich feather sticking up in front and black veil, which seemed to be attached to the brim of the hat and covered her face. They always sat with their backs to the oxen. They had a set of steps built like a small staircase, which the driver would put up at the back of the wagon for them to climb down on. Uncle Charley and Aunt Sally always got a very big welcome when they arrived which I am sure they rightly deserved. There are very few people who would have taken all the trouble to get to church, but their action surely proves what staunch believers they were.
But let me get back to the bees again. After the incident of uncle Reg's horse being stung to death, talk started again about having the brick Church built. This time the congregation were even more determined, they were positively adamant. So meetings were arranged and held after service was over, but with the same result as usually happened at these meetings, no finality could be reached. Thinking back to those meetings, I now realise why they always ended up the way they did, nothing was ever agreed to or achieved because there were too many people with too many ideas and that always leads to confusion. That is how these meetings always ended, in confusion, and the meeting had to be postponed to a later date. What should have been, was, a building committee should have been formed of only four or five people to deal with the building and less confusion would have been the result.
I remember those meetings very well as I attended them all. I was the one who had to take the notes for the minutes, a job that nearly drove me mad at times. The reason for all the confusion was, some suggested that the new Church should be built on another site, so that the old Church could be used to hold the services in while the new Church was being built. This idea was welcomed by those who wanted the new Church to be built entirely of new material, otherwise how could it be called a new Church if parts of the old Church was used in its construction. Some even suggested that the old Church be left standing where it was until it was sold, then those who bought it had to break it down themselves. The reason for this was never discussed. It was a stupid suggestion in any case like most of the others.
My brother Hector was the Church Warden at the time and he maintained that all the ideas suggested were all wrong. He told the meeting that the old Church had never been consecrated because it had been built of wood and iron, it had only been dedicated, but the ground on which it was built was consecrated. So the new Church should be built on the same site. He also said that the wood and iron with which the old Church was built was still in very good condition and could still be used to extend the roof of the new Church and thereby make it a longer building. He was then promptly asked where the services were to be held if he was to break down the old Church before the new one was built? Hector replied saying that while the building was being done, the Pews, the Organ and all the rest of the Church furniture would be stored in the hall and it could be arranged in such a way as to form a Chapel, and the services could be held there. Then that senior uncle stood up and said, most defiantly, you cannot have Church services in a dance hall. Hector then said, I am surprised to hear you say that, because, before St. Peters was built, the Church services were held in the dining room at Devonshire Park. You must have attended those services as well as the dances that were held in that same dining room, so why are you against it now? Some of the people started to laugh and the uncle hung his head, but nothing further was said because it was the truth. That meeting ended like all the others, without producing any sensible ideas that one could use positively. These meetings were actually a waste of time.
Hector said he was now sick and tired of all these meetings that always ended in confusion. After all the meetings held so far, nothing had yet been objectively decided, the meetings all ended in a jumble of conflicting ideas, which lead nowhere. So he decided to take the responsibility on himself and proceed on his own with the building of the new Church and, within a few days Mr. Joseph Fourie delivered the first load of bricks from Coega.
Hector then asked Frank Hill and me if we would take on the job of building the new Church, after first breaking down the old one, and then building the new Church where the old one was standing. We both jumped at the offer and asked when we could start. Hector said as soon as possible. That answer was good enough for us. Frank and I each got a boy and we started the very next day to dismantle the old St. Peters Church.
We started by first removing the sheets of iron wherever we saw bees. We then removed all the honeycombs with the honey and the young bees. We left all the places open and within a couple of days, the bees had all left to go and find new hives elsewhere. We then measured up the old Church and I drew a diagram and a plan for the new Church to be as near as possible to the dimensions of the old Church as I could. We then proceeded to dismantle the old Church entirely, which only took a few days, so it wasn't long before the old Church was gone and only the floor remained with the Pulpit standing where it had been standing for the last twenty-four years.
We had removed all the Church furniture down to the Hall where we arranged it to form a Chapel, which could be used while we were building the new Church. The reason for not removing the Pulpit was because it was too big. It would have been impossible to get it into the new Church once it have been built, so we left it where it had always been standing, and built the new Church with it inside. Frank and I had the walls of the new Church built up by nearly window level before the next service.
On the Saturday afternoon before Church Sunday at St. Peters, the Rev. Monks, our Parson, arrived at the shop on his way up from Port Elizabeth with his pal Jack Hill. Jack had been Mr. Monk’s batman when they were in the army. Mr. Monks had been an Army Chaplain right through the first world was (1914-1918) and they had kept together ever since. Jack still did everything for Mr. Monks like he had done when they were in the army.
They used to go to Port Elizabeth every month to do their shopping, and Jack would take the furs he had made to Pudneys, the fur shop in Port Elizabeth. Jack was furrier by trade before he had joined the army and he now did a lot of work for Pudneys, making Silver Fox furs, Boas and Stoles, for ladies, which was quite the fashion during that time. I once shot a jackal. It had the most beautiful fur as I had shot it in the winter. When Jack saw the skin he said I must let him have it and he would cure it and make my Mom a jackal fur stole. So I did and Jack made Mom a beautiful jackal fur stole, I still have a photo of Mom wearing that stole.
When Mr. Monks and Jack arrived at the shop that afternoon where they always stayed with Edna and Hector. Hector closed the shop door as there were no customers at the time and we all went inside as Edna had already made the tea. After we had our tea, and had a bit of a chat, Mr. Monks got up and said we had to excuse him for a while, as he was going up to the Church to put out the things he would be needing for the next mornings Service. It was then that Hector said, padre don't get a fright when you go up there, because there is no Church any more, you will be holding Service in the Hall tomorrow morning. Mr. Monks' face just seemed to go blank and Jack burst out laughing. Mr. Monks seemed to recover and he looked at Hector and said, what do you mean there is no Church? So Hector said Padre, the old Church is gone, it has been broken down and we are now busy building the new Brick Church. Mr. Monks' voice seemed to reach quite a high pitch when he said, do you mean to tell me the old Church is razed to the ground? Hector said yes and the new Church's walls are nearly up to window level already.
By this time Mr. Monks was almost speechless, he seemed to be on the verge of having a seizure, I never realised someone could get so upset over breaking down an old Church building, when it was being replaced by a new one. He looked at Hector again and, in a slightly lower voice, said what, may I ask, have you done with the Altar? So Hector said, it was too big to get it through the door, so we had to take it apart. But we nailed it together again and put it up in the Hall where it will be used until the New Brick Church is completed.
Mr. Monks was still looking at Hector and, he said, you do not have the vaguest idea of what you have done, you have stepped roughshod over all the Canons of the Anglican Church. Anglican Church property cannot just be broken and rebuilt, nor can it even be altered without the written permission of the Bishop, which is called a Faculty. You have to have a Faculty even if you are doing something to improve a Church's appearance; you even have to have a Faculty to put a small Plaque on a Church wall in memory of someone. So how do you think I am going to explain to the Bishop that a Church has been broken down and that a new Church has already been built nearly half way and all this has been done without a Faculty?
Hector then said to him, Padre, you have been the Chairman at all the meetings we have been having about the building of this new Brick Church and you know how they have all ended. I am sick and tired of attending meetings that never come to a point where people agree to reasonable suggestions. So I have taken the responsibility on myself and carried on to get the job done. I am sorry if I have upset you but I knew nothing about a Faculty, as it has never been mentioned at any of our meetings. So please let me know what day you will be going to Grahamstown to explain to the Bishop what I have done. I will meet you there and we can see the Bishop together seeing that I am to blame for all this. But Mr. Monks just said it would not be necessary, as he would do all the explaining himself.
Mr. Monks then went up to the Hall and did whatever it was that had to be done for the next day's service. After that we saw him walking around the building site. I would love to know what thoughts were going through his mind just then. When he returned to the shop he was in a much better frame of mind. It seemed as if he had forgotten about the Faculty, as he mentioned that he was very impressed with the work that had already been done and he was very pleased to see the Church was being made longer.
Mr. Monks as a strange man, by that I do not mean that he was odd or peculiar. I just mean that he was an individual who truly and honestly had real feelings of goodwill for his fellow men. This was something he must have acquired while he as an army Chaplin, where he had to deal with so many different types of men, and, I dare say under the most appalling conditions and circumstances, that we civilians would never be able to understand nor appreciate. Rev. Monks did not need his calling as a Priest to get near to his people. To him it was just something natural, he was a very good listener and one felt you could unburden yourself to him quite easily, and get the very best advice from him. You seldom saw Rev. Monks dressed like a minister, with a Clerical collar. He was always casually dressed in grey flannel pants, a blazer and white open neck shirt. Once when he was asked why? He replied, I only wear my dog Collar when I am on official duty. He maintained that people were more relaxed in his presence when he was casually dressed. That was the sort of man Rev. Alfred Monks was, he was a man who understood people and their feelings and needs always got priority, a man whose company was appreciated by everybody.
It was a known fact that if Mr. Monks saw a drunk man staggering along the street on his way home, Mr. Monks would stop, get him into his car, find out where he lived and then drive him home. These good deeds of his quite often got him into trouble with the wives of the men he had helped, but that did not deter him. He would do the same for the next inebriate he found struggling to get home.
Mr. Monks’ pal Jack Hill was also a very decent chap, a real friend always willing to help wherever he could. He was a true cockney (Born within the sound of the Bow Bells) he always wanted to say. Jack could get up to all sorts of tricks and pranks if he wanted to. There was an occasion when their cake and biscuit tins were all empty, so Jack started a rumour in Alexandria that Mr. Monks was having a birthday and soon some of the church ladies were turning up with tins of home made cakes and biscuits and Good Wishes for a Happy Birthday and in no time the pantry was full of cakes, biscuits and other goodies. Mr. Monks was naturally embarrassed and upset with all this, as his birthday was still some months away, but he soon twigged who the culprit was behind all this, so he confronted Jack and found out the truth. He then made Jack go around and apologise to the different ladies who had presented any of the goodies. Everybody accepted it as the best joke that ever happened in the quiet little village of Alexandria.
Jack and Mr. Monks were excellent entertainers. Mr. Monks was an excellent Pianist and Jack could sing very well. We spent many a pleasant musical evening with them at the shop. Jack seemed to know the words of all the old Music Hall songs that used to be so popular once upon a time. He also knew all the songs the soldiers used to sing. Sometimes when Jack was singing he would drop into his real and proper Cockney accent and dialect and he would then have everyone in fits of laughter. Yes, those were the pleasant times and now I often sit and reminisce. I have some tapes of those old songs the soldiers sang during the first World War, which I sometimes play and when I hear “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag” “Keep the home fires burning till the lads come home” “There’s a long long trail a winding into the land of my dreams” and “Tipperary” I always remember Mr. Monks and Jack Hill and those evening we spent at the shop.
The New St. Peters Church now built of brick was soon completed without any further trouble or bother, and everybody was happy and satisfied with the work that was done and nobody had complained about having the Services in the Dance Hall, while the new church was being built. The new St. Peters Church was Consecrated and Dedicated on the 12th. May 1940 by Bishop A. H. Cullen Bishop of Grahamstown.
The Ladies of St. Peters really excelled that day, they turned it into a real Gala Day with the excellent lunch which they had prepared for the occasion. The lunch was served in the Hall. There were crowds of people who had come from all over, Grahamstown, Alexandria, Paterson, and Port Elizabeth to be at the dedication. There were so many people that we had to take chairs from the Hall up to the Church for the people to have seats and even then many had to stand. There is always joy experienced on occasions like this when old friends who have not seen each other for years meet again and it is also on occasions like this that new friends are made.
Mr. Monks was our parson at St. Peters for seventeen years he preached in the new ST. peters for seven years and it was indeed a very sad Sunday when he announced in Church that he would be leaving us, as he was now being sent to take over the Church of St. James at Southwell. There it was said, after twelve years of devoted service that he had given the people of Southwell, his reluctant Parishioners had to see him depart for St. Johns Church at Bathurst, where, after a few years of service to the members of St. Johns Church, he suddenly had a heart attack one morning and passed away. I only saw Jack once after Mr. Monks’ death. I met him in Grahamstown one day and what a shock I got when I saw him. It was not the Jack I used to know, he had aged terribly and he seemed to have lost all interest in life. I think Mr. Monk’s death had broken his spirit completely; he could not even speak to me about Mr. Monks. The next I head was that Jack had also passed away. Jack is buried next to Mr. Monks in St. Johns Church cemetery right near the Church door. I went and saw their graves a few years ago when I was in Bathurst.
The next work to be done at St. Peters Church was the extension of the Chancel so that there would be a longer Altar Rail for the communicants to kneel at for communion. Naturally this work was done with a Faculty from the Bishop. The Chancel was extended to where it is today. It was done in memory of my aunt, Anne Elizabeth Newcombe and my sister, Una Gwynneth Newcombe. Aunt Anne had left money in her will for the extension to be done after her death. The blessing of the new Chancel was also done by Bishop A. H. Cullen on the 15th. March 1956.
The years came and went, as did the Priests of St. Peters. After Rev. Monks we had the Rev. A.H. White, he was only with us for two years, he came in 1947 and left in 1949. Then we had the Venerable C. A. Hewitt who took the services at St. Peters for only a year. Then the Rev. S.N. Gurney came in 1950, we only had him for a few years, and then he left in 1953. Then we got the Rev. E. T. Richards, another good man. Mr. Richards was a Welshman who came here straight from Wales He was a bachelor when he came here and after a few years alone at Alexandria, he married a very nice lady who lived in Port Elizabeth, Mrs. Elaine Macloud, a widow with two children. I cannot remember the sons name, he went to England to further his studies and he never returned to South Africa. The daughters name was Angela she was a very pretty girl, she married a Mr. Rupert Pringle who farmed at Adelaide
The years rolled by and soon the year 1959 was approaching and then St. Peters Church members realised that soon we would be celebrating St. Peters’ 50th. Anniversary
In July. It was then decided to enlarge the Vestry so that it could be Dedicated on the day of the Anniversary together with the round stained glass window in the end wall of the Chancel. The window was in memory of uncle Robert and aunt Alice Newcombe of Spring Mount. The new Altar given by Eliza Ann Newcombe in memory of her husband William Samuel Newcombe would be dedicated then too. The Golden Jubilee celebration lasted for two days from the 17th. To the 19th, July 1959.
What I am about to tell you now is just to show what kind of man the Rev.Edwin Richards was. In December 1960¸my brother Hector was seriously ill in Hospital in Port Elizabeth, he had an aneurysm of the aorta, on the evening of the 13th. Dr. Stirton who had been his doctor for a number of years told us Hector would only be with us for a few more hours as the aneurysm was on the point of bursting and when that happened, all would be over.
Mr. Richards had been going to see Hector very often in hospital so I thought it was only right to tell him what Dr. Stirton had told us, so I phone and told him. About two hours later Mr. Richards walked into the hospital and said he had come to administer the last rites to Hector before the end. Hector was already unconscious, those of us who were there stood around the bed while Mr. Richards performed the last rites. In less than half an hour Hector passed away. That was the kind of man, or should we say Minister, that Mr. Richards was, always ready to do his duty, and to serve his people.
Mr. Richards stayed with us for a few more years. He married Edna and me in 1962. When he left us he went to Argentina in South America where he preached to the English speaking Anglicans in an Anglican Cathedral in Buenos Aires. They were there only for a few years and then returned to South Africa, as they could not bear the strain of living in a country ravaged by the civil war taking place there at that time.
I was shocked when I met him in Port Elizabeth one day shortly after they had returned to South Africa. Mr. Richards was not the same man anymore, he had always been a very calm and collected man, but now he appeared to be all on edge. He told me his nerves were finished and that he was now living on pills and that he who had never touched a cigarette in his life was now a chain smoker. What he told me about the conditions over there was just too terrible and I did not blame him for having come back to South Africa so soon. I lost touch with Mr. and Mrs. Richards after their daughter Angela got married, Mrs. Richards went to England to visit her son, I now remember his name “Gavin”. She took ill over there and died. The last I heard from him was that he had been preaching at various Churches and had finally landed at St. Johns Church in Fort Beaufort, whether he is still there or not I don’t know.
Some years ago St. Peters Church was added to once more. It was extended at the back to take more pews and the entrance was moved to the side. The extra Pews were made by Mr. Frank Simmons, he made them to the very same pattern as the original one. I know Mr. Cecil Webb paid for one and presented it to St. Peters in Memory of his Parents, Mr. Oliver and Mrs. Maud Webb. Cecil had a small silver plate inscribed with their names and screwed to the Pew. I have an idea that Jimmy Hoole did the same for his parents Mr. And Mrs. Dennis Hoole. I do not remember anyone else doing the same.
The Cemetery was started on the North side of the Church in November 1934. The first to be buried there was my sister Una Gwynneth Newcombe. She was killed in a motor accident in Grahamstown. There are now forty-six graves on that side of the Church. There are actually forty-seven graves in St. Peters Church yard. Mr. Timothy Butt was the first to be buried at St. Peters shortly after the Church was built in 1909. He is buried on the other side of the Church Yard in the corner above the Hall. That is where the cemetery was to be laid out, but, when my sister was killed, my Mom said she did not want Gwynneth buried so far away. She wanted her buried near the Church, and actually indicated where the grave had to be, and that is how that cemetery was started.
When the Church was extended to take more Pews, the floor was raised in one corner at the back of the Church on which the font which was donated to the Church by auntie Maude Newcombe was placed.
My brother Hector gave the gates and I built the gateway and I cemented the pathway leading up to the Church entrance. Frank Simmons did the path going from the Hall up to the Church and the one going around to the outside door of the vestry.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF ST. PETERS CHURCH KINKELBOSCH
16th. July 1909 St. Peters Church Dedicated (Rev. L.H. Artus)
4th. November 1931 Opening of the Church Hall (Rev. A. Monks)
12th.May 1940 Dedication of New St. Peters
Church by Bishop A. H. Cullen (Rev. A. Monks)
15th. March 1956. Blessing of new Chancel
By Bishop A.H. Cullen (Rev. E.T. Richards)
17th. To 19th March 1959 Golden Jubilee of St. Peters (Rev. E.T. Richards)
1 comment(s) so far...
Re: THE STORY OF ST. PETERS CHURCH. KINKELBOSCH. HOW IT STARTED AND THOSE WHO SERVED THERE BY AUBREY ROBERT CLARENCE NEWCOMBE
Wonderful story,I happen to be born at Lidney ( Mr Rueben Hill's farm)after his passing in the seventies his son Raymond brother to Brian took over,Raymond had the following children-Steven,Virginia,Allen and Roger I wonder if you have any records of the African population that lived at Nanaga from the early 1900's who had an outstandiong contribution to the developmentand of the area and the sorrounding areas like Woodford,Platrug,Congoskraal,Springmount I know the farm owners had a register of farm workers employed at a particular time,
Re: THE STORY OF ST. PETERS CHURCH. KINKELBOSCH. HOW IT STARTED AND THOSE WHO SERVED THERE BY AUBREY ROBERT CLARENCE NEWCOMBE
Wonderful story,I happen to be born at Lidney ( Mr Rueben Hill's farm)after his passing in the seventies his son Raymond brother to Brian took over,Raymond had the following children-Steven,Virginia,Allen and Roger I wonder if you have any records of the African population that lived at Nanaga from the early 1900's who had an outstandiong contribution to the developmentand of the area and the sorrounding areas like Woodford,Platrug,Congoskraal,Springmount I know the farm owners had a register of farm workers employed at a particular time,
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