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Lombard's Post, Bathurst District

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: Lombard's Post was originally granted to Pieter Lombard in 1790 as a loan farm. It served as a military fortification during the Fourth and Sixth Frontier Wars. During the second half of the nineteenth century the farm buildings were fortified by the then owner, Benjamin Keeton.

In 1790 Pieter Lombard was granted a Government Loan Farm, Twee Fontein, in the Albany district and this farm later became known as Lombard's Post. Pieter Lombard died in 1832 at the age of 68.
Before the arrival of the 1820 Settlers, the district of the Cape Colony near the Fish River boundary, later to be proclaimed as Albany, was garrisoned at various strategic points when occasion demanded it. In 1813 a part of the Cape Regiment under Captain George Fraser held Lombard’s Post as one of the Kowie Line of 9arrisoned forts established in the Fourth Frontier War (1811 - 1812). During the Settlement these forts reverted to farms and it was not until the Sixth Frontier War (1834 — 1835) that the idea of garrisoning, fortifying and defending the old posts was revived.
In the Fourth Frontier War, the homestead of Lombard’s Post which had in the meantime been abandoned, was occupied by Major. George Fraser, who established a military post there s part of the Kowie Line of Forts. It serves as headquarters in the mopping up operations in 1812. The fort commanded an excellent view of the surrounding countryside and was well watered. Lieutenants Gair and Laycock were stationed there in 1813. In 1814 the garrison under command of Captain A. Bogie, went on patrol and killed a few raiders in the Kowie Valley. In 1816 a bridle path was made to connect Lombard’s Post with the mission station at Theopolis. In March 1817 Major Fraser was granted the farm in recognition of his services but for a while the garrison remained. Fraser later became Commandant of the frontier and died in 1823. The farm thereafter was again abandoned and in 3uly 1935 it was offered for sale and was bought by a wealthy horse breeder Benjamin Keeton, who at the age of eighteen came with the 1820 Settlers in Carlton’s Party on board the vessel “Albury”. - Probably due to the depredations of the Sixth Frontier War Keeton decided to build a stronghold which could house a garrison for policing the area and at the same time protecting his valuable herds and stables.
On 26 March 1851, during the Eighth Frontier War, Lombard’s Post was heavily attacked and Benjamin Keeton had to send for assistance from Edward Dell at Barville Park. Thereafter 25 mounted soldiers and 30 Fingoes were kept as a garrison at Lombard’s Post along with 30 foot soldiers at Southwell. In May 1852 Captain Stubbs led the Albany Rangers from Lombard’s Post to search for rebel Hottentots. Combined forces from Barville Park and Lombard’s Post continued these forays under Field Cornet Cornelius Cock until the end of the Frontier Wars.
The farm has remained in the Keeton family and today is occupied by Saunders Keeton and his wife Nesta. Not only has the farm remained in the hands of the Keeton family for many years, but the house itself is a veritable museum of antiques and pictures of the whole family, from those of Benjamin Keeton and his wife, down to the presents occupiers. There are many items of yellowwood furniture and old four-poster beds, as well as kitchen and other utensils which today are much sought after antiques.
Visual Description: The fort was built on a polygonal plan with four main buildings linked by loopholed walls enclosing a central double storeyed barracks and barn and three double storeyed dwellings, all linked by high walls. Apart from the farmhouse there were the main barracks which could accommodate horse, men and fodder, and two cottages for officers and refugees. Horses could easily be led into the stables on either side of the inside door of the main barracks through the specially enlarged entrance. The roofing consisted of Welsh slate used in the old sailing vessels as ballast and sold at public auctions in Algoa Bay where skins and hides in turn were shipped. The slate proved very effective against flaming assegais often used by the raiders.
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