Fort Brown, Albany District





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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: This place was originally called Hermanus Kraal after a Hottentot freebooter, Hermanus Xogomesh. It had already acquired this name by 1804 when Commissioner de Mist visited the eastern frontier.
Lord Charles Somerset established one of his military posts for the protection of the boundary there in 1817, but in 1835 Sir Benjamin D’Urban converted it to one of the largest of the border forts as part of his fortifications along the Fish River. On the roof there was a cannon that could be swivelled round. Of this cannon Lieut. Montgomery Williams of the Royal Engineers wrote to Sir Benjamin D’Urban in 1835 that he had seen to it that a three- pounder mountain gun and its accessories had been left at the fort and that considerable progress has been made with the fort since Your Excellency visited it.
Sir George Napier succeeded Sir Benjamin D’Urban as governor in 1838. He was obliged to reduce expenditure on defence but the cost of Fort Brown nevertheless exceeded R8 000. The fort was garrisoned until 1861.
Visual Description: The road northwards to Fort Beaufort, Balfour and the Katberg follows the line of Andrew Geddes Bain’s Queens Road to Kaffirland. Fort Brown is reached just before the road crosses the Fish River some 27 kilometres from Grahamstown.

It consisted of a group of buildings surrounded by a high stone wall and provided ample accommodation for men and horses. At one corner there was a tower, about 3,5 metres square, for mounting a gun. It was reached by means of a stone stairway which led to a room with loopholes. Under the floor there was a powder magazine, and on the roof there was a cannon that could be swivelled round.

In the course of years it has fallen into disrepair so that only the gun tower and the adjoining walls are preserved.
Site Features:
Condition: FairA small amount of pointing is required. The vaulted ceiling inside the tower is in serious need of repair.
Construction Date: 1835
Catalogue: , No: , Significance Category:


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