The Clumber Community Continues with Enhancing the Facilities of the Restored Heritage Buildings

Clumber Church and Clumber School atop Mount Mercy


Standing atop a knoll in the vale of Clumber, named Mount Mercy by the Nottingham Party of the British Settlers to South Africa in 1820, is the Clumber Church, the third Church the 1820 Settlers  and their descendants built at this spot, and opened on 10 November 1867.
Still in use today with a Service held on the fourth Sunday of the month at 11h00, the Clumber Church faces difficult times due to the depopulation of the countryside. Once a thriving social gathering place, it boasted a school, teachers home, manse, a hall used for social occasions as well as Sunday School teaching, a cricket field, tennis courts and clubhouse. Now all that remains is the Church opened in 1867, and the school building; dating from 1905. Both the School and the Church were declared National Monuments on 23 November 1980.

GPS Coordinates:
S 33 deg 27'04.299
E 26 deg 51'08.965

From Port Alfred travel on the R67 to Bathurst. Continue from Bathurst for 3km on the R67 to Grahamstown. Clumber Church road signs will direct you where to turn right onto the Shaw Park Road. Continue for 2 KM and turn left to Martindale, again the Clumber Church directional road sign will guide you. 1 KM from this turn off, at the bottom of the hill, lies Clumber Church, on the right. 

 Mount Mercy

Mount Mercy is a small hill situated in a valley between Bathurst and Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.This knoll has been central to the Nottingham Party of 1820 Settlers and the subsequent Clumber Community as a place of gathering, schooling and worship. And it was here, at the foot of Mount Mercy, on July 25 1820, that the Nottingham Party offloaded their belongings from the wagons and carts that had transported them on their journey from Algoa Bay. The last leg of their long journey which had seen them leave Nottingham and board the vessel Albury in Liverpool in mid January 1820. Their final destination in a land which for them meant new beginnings. 

The Clumber Church is situated on the crown of Mount Mercy, so called by the Nottingham Party of 1820 Settlers because of their safe arrival after a journey which started in Nottingham in England to their final destination here of over 6 months. They held a Service of Thanksgiving on Mount Mercy on the day of their arrival on July 25 1820. Services were then held under the trees at John Bradfield's home close by, as well as the home of William Pike in inclement weather until the first Clumber Church was built at Mount Mercy and opened on September 28 1825. When the entire Nottingham Party at Clumber had to abandon the area during the 6th Frontier War, the first Clumber Church, being abandoned, was entered by the invaders. So, it was decided that a second Church be built, also on Mount Mercy. This second Clumber Church was operational by 1837. After seeing through the 7th Frontier War, or War of the Axe, in 1846 and the 8th Frontier War of 1850, and being in a poor state, it was decided to build a third Clumber Church, the current, also on Mount Mercy. This third Clumber Church was opened in 1867.  So, whilst the Clumber Church celebrated its 150th year in 2017, the Word of God has been proclaimed here at Mount Mercy from July 25 1820.

Mount Mercy Resounded with Music during the 

150th Anniversary Celebrations

October 20,21,22 2017

The Magnificent Original Yellowood Pews during Restoration

 Planning of The Third Church Opened in 1867

Because of the increase in congregation numbers in the mid 1800's, and it being impossible to expand an already dilapidated Church, the erection of a new Church, the third, had to be considered. In July 1860, with the Rev Purdon Smailes in the Chair, Thomas Cockroft moved and Joseph Kidson seconded that a new Church, 45 ft by 20 ft, be built.
Plans and preparations for the new Church in the years that followed culminated at a Service officiated by Rev George Green on July 11 1866, when George Wood, M.L.C., laid the foundation stone for this Church. Plans and specifications for the building were offered voluntarily by George Jarvis, a draughtsman from Port Alfred. The Church was to have three windows on each side, stone walls of 14 feet high and a slate roof. In August 1866 it was resolved that a Porch of 10ft by 6 ft be included in the plan, and that the joists be of sneezewood. In September 1866 the wall height was increased to 16 ft and a Steeple was to be incorporated in the plans. Brislin & Mack tendered £162-15-0 for the masonry, plastering and materials and an extra £2-5-0 for the increased height of the walls. Charles Poulton junior tendered £90, including materials,for carpentry of the roof, floor, ceiling, doors and windows on August 8 1866. In November 1866 Charles Poulton's tender of 2s/6d each for the making of the yellowwood pews was accepted. The style was to be copied from those of St Bartholomew's Church in Grahamstown. The 4500 "Countess Style" roofing slates were purchased from A. Stewart of Port Elizabeth, at £10 per thousand. 
In July 1867 a Pulpit made by a Settler and formerly used in the Grahamstown Wesley Chapel was purchased for £25. In August 1867 the builders had completed the masonry with the stone quarried by William Whittaker. At an October meeting it was agreed that four paraffin lamps with reflectors and two for the Pulpit were to be used for lighting and these were supplied by Mr Parker of Grahamstown the following month. The Church,which cost £800, and built by Charles Brislin,was  officially opened on November 5 1867.
In June 1916 there were plans to extend the Church and £350 was offered by Henry Staples to meet the cost of erecting a Vestry. 
J. Benyon's tender of £320 for this work was accepted in September 1916.
Approximate locations for the Settler Parties 1820 - 1835 with Clumber Boxed
Work Commences on the Exterior Walls

Repair Funding Appeal - The Clumber Precinct 

An appeal is made for funding for ongoing repairs to this precinct, consisting of two buildings, the Church and the School. We have tackled many projects in 2016 and in  2017 relating to the Church. We are now faced with attending to the School in 2018.

For the Church our projects are:

  • Ongoing Repairs to the graves and graveyard
  • Attending to the teak window frames
  • Attending to the fencing to keep cattle and goats out of the graveyard
  • Installing an electrical system for lighting and plug points

For the School our projects will be :

  • Installing electrical wiring for electrical points and lighting
  • Building of at least two flush sanitation units
  • Erection of water tanks to supply water for flush sanitation and wash basins
  • Installing a kitchenette 

The Clumber Church reaches out to the general public requesting financial assistance in undertaking these repairs and additions as they are not able to bear the financial burden on their own. We also appeal to those 1820 Settler families whose roots emanates from this region to consider assistance. All assistance, both great and small, will be hugely appreciated.

We also ask that you kindly spread this Funding Request through your own individual Social Networks to distribute this Appeal worldwide. Without this form of assistance we most certainly will not be able to meet our commitment to maintain this historical building to the level which it so rightly deserves.

This website has been originated to put on display the rich history not only of these buildings, but of those British Settler families who made this corner of South Africa their new home. And how this Church and the School were inextricably interwoven in the fabric of their lives. We acknowledge their stoic determination, from humble beginnings, to leave a lasting legacy for the future generations.

Should you wish to donate and are capable of doing an "Electronic Fund Transfer", or EFT, we ask you to submit to the "Clumber Church Building Fund". This is a separate, secure account,  which has been opened to meet the expected repair and restoration costs. The banking details are recorded on a separate page listed as "Contact and Banking" on the tabs on the left of this page.We really do value your support and ask that you communicate with us at once you have processed your donation so that we can communicate with you and pen a note of thanks.  

Should you require an alternate method for processing your donation, then utilise the "Donate" button on the left, which will enable you to process your donation through PayPal. This provides you with a safe and secure payment method. Again, we would ask you to contact us at once you have processed your donation, so that we can communicate with you and pen a note of thanks.

We will use this website and our Facebook Page "Clumber Church" to post progress. Click here to visit ourFacebook page.

 Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to all who have donated to our restoration and repair projects. We acknowledge that these projects would never have been completed without this support. Quite simply our small congregation would never have been able to meet these costs on their own.
We feel confident now that the work which has been done, and that which we have earmarked as still needs to be done will secure these beautiful and historical buildings for the future generations to come.


 Heritage Buildings of the Clumber Precinct 

The Clumber Church and Clumber School on the Clumber Precinct were proclaimed National Monuments on 23 November 1980. The South African Heritage Resource Agency which has superseded this organization has granted this Complex Heritage status. SAHRA Site Identification:29463 SAHRA Identifier Number : 9/2/009/0014
Re-assembling the Steeple 2016
Created by Courteney George Bradfield