HEAD’S UP
Talks happen on the third Tuesday of a month, at the Athenaeum in Newlands. All are welcome, free of charge
Outings happen on the last Saturday of a month (usually). Members only

(NOVEMBER) TALK NOW IN DECEMBER

This is NOT happening on the third Tuesday of the month of November, but WILL happen in December instead. Diarise the date. It’s the Year-end party too.

DATE: Tuesday 06 December
TIME: 20:00
SPEAKER: Mike Scurr (Rennie Scurr Adendorff Architects)
TOPIC: BOSCHENDAL – The Way Forward!

NOVEMBER  OUTING 

DATE: SATURDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2022
TIME: 11H00
TOPIC: HAWKESMOOR MANOR
MEET: See below

The final outing of the year will be to Hawksmoor Manor.
Hawksmoor started life as the farm Matjieskuil but is now a five-star guest house. It is owned by Simon Olding and Mark Borrie, who allowed us to invade their beautiful house, De Goede Hoop at Pniel, in November 2019. We have finally been able to take them up on their invitation to visit Hawksmoor.

After Simon has spoken about the house and shown us around (all the rooms are booked, so we won’t see them) we will have our picnic in the garden. Please bring chairs/blankets etc as I am not sure if any seating is available.

Meet at 11am at the turnoff to Hawksmoor – directions at the end of this notice.
Please let Pat Kramer know if you will be attending – numbers are not limited but we need to know how many Vernacs to expect. studio@iafrica.com

HANS FRANSEN  writes:
Matjieskuil, formerly Warburg.This farm was given out to Rev. Hercules van Loon, and was 60 morgen in extent. It probably takes its name not from the well-known declaration of Martin Luther, but from a town in southern Germany. Rev. Van Loon committed suicide in 1704. His grant had not been signed, but his widow got it signed, in his name, in order to sell the farm. This she did in the same year, together with Van Loon’s other farm, Hercules Pilaar.

Up to 1794 both farms belonged to the same owners. The Warburg alone became the property of Johan Gerhard Cloete (a son of Hendrik Cloete of Groote Contantia) and Jacobus Christiaan Faure (a brother of AA Faure, landdrost of Swellendam) in partnership.

Cloete was a rich man and certainly did not live on Warburg; but Faure probably did, and in 1801 he became the sole owner.  The following owner, Johannes Cornelis Hertz, built the front gable in the year he acquired the farm in 1810.  It is a late holbol gable, with simple strap mouldings like an end gable.  The date on the gable is 2.4.1810, though the transfer was only signed in June that year.

The house, however, is much older; how much is difficult to determine – the joint ownership with Hercules Pilaar obscures the story.  It has an early H-shape, with early straight-end gables. Its windows were once all casements but their ‘upper lights’ are imitations in plaster bas-relief painted to resemble true upper lights; a clever piece of ‘trompe-l’oeuil’! The other windows are in fact also ordinary side hung casements, but they have fixed upper lights with wooden mullions that are continuous of those between the casements; here we have cross-windows which are very frequent in the Netherlands, but extremely rare at the Cape. The reason for the mock upper lights of the single casements is obscure; possibly tall half-width frames were not available at the time. The whole arrangement smacks of mid-18th century: one is tempted to think of Jacob Cloete as their author, c1755. There is a fine gabled wall-cupboard.

From 1762-94 the farm belonged to Dirk de Vos, who lived at Kromme Rhee, followed by his widow.  Neither of them is likely to have built the house. Jacob Cloete of Nooigedacht (grandfather of JG Cloete) owner from 1723 until his death c1761, perhaps built a house for a relative, tenant or manager, or, more likely, repaired and improved the original house built c1700. This he my have done in c1755, when the house was due for its second rethatching.  If so, the gable was built at the time of the fourth rethatching, 1810.

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM THE HAWKSMOOR WEBSITE and includes more up-to-date information.
According to the original document on display at Hawksmoor House, the land was deeded in 1692 by Simon van der Stel, one of the first governors at the Cape who established a new settlement outside the Cape (Cape Town) calling it Stellenbosch after himself.  However, research into the archives shows a recorded date of 28 June 1701 signed by Willem Adriaan van der Stel.
The farm Waarburg, named after Wartburg Castle, Eisenach in Germany, where Martin Luther was brought to be isolated, belonged first to Reverend Hercules van Loon. He was related to the Here XVIII (directors of the VOC) and as such was given his posting and farms as a result of nepotism, although he was not really suited to it at all. He was allegedly so unhappy that he rather spectacularly committed suicide in front of his servants by slitting his throat with a pen knife on horseback, whilst returning to Stellenbosch from his farms Waarburg and Hercules Pilaar across the road, which he also owned. This seems to have happened near the present Kromme Rhee road.

After his death the land was bequeathed to his widow and there followed various owners (25 in total) over a period of 310 years. In 1812 the farm belonged briefly to possibly its most notable owner, Pieter Retief, the well- respected leader of the Voortrekkers, who was later murdered by the Zulu leader Dingaan.

The name Matjeskuil (the Afrikaans version now being Matjieskuil) first appeared in 1826 and ten years later the farm was also called The Hope. Of the various speculative farmers who used it for cattle and cereal crops (as we do today), some were very successful, and some not.  Tobacco farming at its peak was amazingly profitable, creating huge wealth, which is another reason for the bitter feud that rages still.

In more recent times the farm belonged to Philippus Albertus Briers (jr) who upon his death in 1965 created a huge dilemma for his heirs (5 daughters) when he divided the farm into five areas, however not indicating these divisions in any way. Finally in 1971 the transfer of one fifth each of the 477 ha property went to Johanna Beatrix van der Bijl, Beatrix Maria Loftus, Phyllis Anne Danks, Hester Anna Maria Briers and Helene Emilie Raymonde Louw. Cornelius Johannes Louw, spouse of Helene Briers inherited one fifth as one of the daughters, Hester Anna Maria had already died at the time of transfer as well as the one fifth owned by his wife at her death in 1981. After his death in 1992 the two fifths were bequeathed to his son Philippus Albertus Briers Louw (named after his grandfather). PAB Louw gradually also obtained the other divisions of the farm (never previously legally divided or surveyed) and left the farm in testamentary trust to his son Cornelius Johannes (Neil) before he stood to inherit it.

In 2003 the original 477 ha was again divided into two parts of approximately 240 and 237 ha each.
The division indicated as “remainder” containing the manor house and outbuildings (237 ha) was sold to Mark Borrie in 2004. The section still belonging to Neil Louw is the only part of Matjieskuil that contains a small part of the original grant of 1704.
In summary the Briers family had possession of the farm for the longest period, namely 123 years from 1881 – 2004.

The present owners, Mark Borrie and Simon Olding, named the farm Hawksmoor House on Matjieskuil Farm. Simon was intent on keeping the Dutch name whereas Mark Borrie preferred a name that was pronounceable by European visitors.
Having lived near Christchurch near Spitalfields (Saint Alfège, the most famous church by 17th century architect Nicholas Hawksmoor is a few miles away), Simon registered the name for his antiques business and when he and Mark could not agree on a name for the guest house they compromised and also used the name Hawksmoor.
Nicholas Hawksmoor had also assisted Sir Christopher Wren with the design of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Hawksmoor on Matjieskuil wines are therefore named after characters and relevant names of his life, eg Edward Goudge, Algernon Stitch and Saint Alfège.

The first building on the farm to be renovated by the present owners was the manor house which now houses 5 bedrooms, offering guests a rare opportunity to stay in a 17 century home. Thereafter followed the renovations to the ‘slawehuisie’ (slave cottages), the sheds and finally the dairy, now providing a total of 16 guest rooms. All buildings were erected on original footprints of the existing farm buildings or outhouses.

Over the centuries the property saw varied types of produce ranging from tobacco to sheep to wine.
The still fully operational farm is now producing oats, hay, lucerne, and more recently butternut squash and green beans. It is also home to approximately 90 head of red Angus cattle. There are 28 ha under grape with some vines being 29 years old. The grapes grown at Matjieskuil are used exclusively to make a selection of prize winning wines, mainly Chenin, Pinotage, Mourvèdre, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc under the Hawksmoor at Matjieskuil label.

Note: The above information was provided by Simon Olding and also extracted from a cultural historical report compiled by Dr Matilda Burden in May 2011.

DIRECTIONS
From Cape Town
-Get onto the N1
-Take exit 39 after the Engen One-Stop fuel station and at the T-Junction turn left onto the R304 direction Klipheuwel.
-Pass the first left turn to Joostenberg Vlakte and approximately 500 metres further at the crest of the first rise you will see a black signboard on your left ‘Hawksmoor House on Matjieskuil Farm’.
-Turn left and travel down our farm road for a further 1km.

From Paarl
-Head towards Cape Town on the N1.
-Take Exit 39 offramp ( hairpin bend ) and at T-Junction turn left onto R304 direction Klipheuwel.
-Pass the first left turn to Joostenberg Vlakte and approximately 500 metres further at the crest of the first rise you will see a black signboard on your left ‘Hawksmoor House on Matjieskuil Farm’.
-Turn left and travel down our farm road for a further 1km.

From Stellenbosch
-Head towards the N1 on the R304.
-Once you have crossed over the N1 pass the first left turn to Joostenberg Vlakte and approximately 500 metres further at the crest of the first rise you will see a black signboard on your left ‘Hawksmoor House on Matjieskuil Farm’.
-Turn left and travel down our farm road for a further 1km.

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A GENTLE REMINDER … VASSA’S RULES!
VASSA outings usually take us onto private properties, even into private homes.
This is a special privilege which we must respect. This list of rules may seem onerous, but it is necessary when dealing with a large group of people that everyone is aware of what is acceptable and what not.
GENERAL
Only paid up members may attend the outings. (Visitors to pay the annual price of membership to attend the outing.) Strictly no children and no pets. Wear Vassa name badges with correct colour tag.
ON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
Sign the register on arrival.
On arrival stay close to the leader so that the host can be introduced.  Do not wander off before the introduction.
On departure, gather around the leader to thank the host.  Do not leave before this.
If you have to leave before the end of the outing, inform the outing leader so that they do not wait or look for you.
ON THE PROPERTY
Do not engage the host in private conversations and recollections while everyone else is milling around.
Before taking interior photographs, check with the outing leader that this is okay. Do not post photographs of the interior on Facebook – this is a security risk.
Do not touch anything – do not pick of porcelain to check maker’s mark, do not take books out of bookcases, etc.
Do not open closed doors.
Do not sit on the furniture.
Do not use the toilet without asking the host’s permission.
Do not take plant slips from the garden.
Switch off cell phones or at least put them on ‘silent’.
Do not use the privilege of an outing to organise private business arrangements or return visits with the host.
Do not voice negative – or personal – comments to other members while on site.
LIMITING NUMBERS
Vassa outings are usually open for all members to attend. However, certain outings may not be able to accommodate a large group of people, in which case numbers will be limited to a first come first served basis.  A contact email address is always provided in the newsletter.
If you cannot attend, let the organiser know so that someone on the waiting list can attend.

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2022 SUBSCRIPTION FEES

VASSA’s year starts in March 2022
Rates are being held at previous years’ fees.
Single member R250
Family membership R400
SACAP accreditation membership R500

Click here for HOW TO JOIN / PAY

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NEWSLETTERS
Editors Pat Kramer and Antonia Malan produce informative missives – see below.
They are always on the look out for items for the newsletter …
So if you have been anywhere, are aware of any newsworthy item or have photographs or anything to share, please do so. Send your contributions to:studio@iafrica.com.

TO READ IN FULL & SEE THE PICTURES, just click:

VASSA NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER JULY 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER JUNE 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER MAY 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER APRIL 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER MARCH 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2022
VASSA NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2021 – A BUMPER EDITION
VASSA NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER JULY 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER JUNE 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER APRIL& MAY 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER JANUARY& FEBRUARY 2021
VASSA NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2020
VASSA NEWSLETTER JULY 2020  
 

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