The First Two Churches 1820 - 1866

The first 100 seater Church was built and opened on 29 September 1825, a mere 5 years after the arrival of the Nottingham Party at Clumber. William Pike , a framework knitter in Nottingham, assumed the role of lay pastor for the Nottingham Party on board the Vessel Albury on their journey from England to South Africa. He continued his spiritual guidance once the Party settled at Clumber and was the driving force in establishing the first Church. 

As a backdrop to the location of this Church in the Eastern Cape at this time it was recorded in April 1826 that the congregation was disturbed by a herd of 40 elephants as they moved past the Church to their feeding grounds.

The Church and the Settler homes had to be abandoned in 1834 during the Sixth Frontier War and by the end of 1835 residents started to return. The Church was plundered and in a dilapidated state.

So a second , 200 seater Church was planned to be sited on the crown of Mount Mercy slightly higher than the first building. By 1837 a day school was in operation in the new Church which apparently had the appearance of a fortification rather than a place of worship.

Peace did not last long and in March 1846 the Seventh Frontier War or "War of the Axe" began. In April the Church became the Clumber Command Station with Thomas Cockroft as Commandant so rather than evacuating the surrounding farms the Church became the refuge for women and children while the men were on reconnaissance duties.

Four years later in 1850 the Eighth Frontier War began and during this time the base camp was established on Edward Timm's farm , Prospect, as it was situated on a more open site and was easier to defend than the Church. By January most Clumber people were in the camp , living in wagons or hastily erected wattle and daub huts.

After such heavy usage it became apparent that a third Church was needed and in July 1860 with Rev Purdon Smailes in the chair, it was passed that a church of 45 feet by 20 feet should be built. In July 1866 the foundation stone was finally laid by Mr George Wood MLC and prayers offered by Rev George Green. And so the building of the third church commenced. In August 1866 it was decided to incorporate a ten foot by six foot porch and a steeple.


Clumber Church and Graveyard
Created by Courteney Bradfield