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29463

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Methodist Church complex, Clumber, Bathurst District

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Anonymous

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: On this site the Nottingham party of British Settlers held a service of thanksgiving on their arrival in 1820 and built the first church in 1825. The second church, which replaced it in 1837, served as a defence station in 1846 during the hostilities. The present church was opened in 1867. The school was founded in 1837 and served as a provincial farm school until 1977. The graveyard dates from the eighteen-twenties.

Farm churches are an interesting feature of the land of the Settlers (1820). Some kilometres to the north of Bathurst in the woody Torrens River Valley stands a small Methodist church on top of a little hill. It is not as old as the Salem or the Glen Thorn or the Glen Lynden church, but the congregation treats it with just as much reverence.
One of the groups of British Settlers who landed at Port Elizabeth in 1820 was a party of 115 from Notting ham under the leadership of Dr. T. Calton. While they were awaiting transport Calton died and Thomas Draper took his place. After a long, exhausting journey the party at last reached its destination in the Torrens Valley. At the foot of the bill on which the little church now stands, the party outspanned and against the slope they held a service and thanked the Almighty for his protection and mercy. Thus the hill was later named Mount Mercy.
In 1825 the Settlers built themselves a little church on the hill, but during the Sixth Xhosa War in 1836 it was damaged to such an extent that they had to build a second church which was consecrated only a year later. During the hostilities with the Xhosa in 1845 this little church served as a fortress, but its construction must have left much to be desired because in 1867 a third church, the present one, was built. A pulpit, which was allegedly made by a British Settler, was then bought from the Wesley Chapel in Grahamstown for £25 (R50) and placed in the little church.
In 1967 the church had been in use for a century and it was neatly renovated. The walls were white-washed; the paint was removed from the teak windows and the door; the yellow-wood floors were sandpapered and the pews, also made of yellow-wood, were cleaned and polished. By a stroke of luck two old chandeliers were dug up and installed again.
The little cemetery around the church against the slopes of Mount Mercy has been used since 1825 and many of the first Settlers lie buried there.
Bronze Plaque 1967"
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Construction Date: 1825;1846;1867
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