LOCATION: Ida’s Valley, near Stellenbosch
LEADER: André van Graan
We commenced our anniversary year of 2014 at Altydgedacht with Mrs. Jean Parker, one of the founder members of the Vernacs and today we continue the celebration of our fiftieth anniversary at the beautiful Cape Dutch manor house of Ida’s Valley.
This historical farmhouse is the home of Mrs. Fiona Erskine, the widow of the late Major Philip Erskine.
The Erskines were enthusiastic members of the Vernacs in the early days of the society. Philip Erskine was one of the team who measured up and recorded Coenradenberg, the subject of the August outing. He recorded all the furniture in the house at Coenradenberg during the 1975/76 recording.
A Cape Baroque masterpiece
The farm was originally granted in 1683 to François Villion, progenitor of the Viljoen family, who came to the Cape from France ahead of the Huguenots. His modest house still stands and is the present Jonkershuis.
In 1775 the farm was bought by Samuel Cats, son of a surgeon in the VOC, from his grandparent’s estate. In 1789 he constructed the present house. It is regarded as having, along with Morgenster and Hazendal, among the finest examples of Baroque gables in the Cape.
In 1909 the estate, much Victorianised, was bought by the Mallesons; Beatrice Malleson was the daughter of Fred Struben of gold mining fame. They set out the Edwardian garden which still forms the basis of the present garden layout.
In 1972 Ida’s Valley was bought by Major Philip Erskine and his wife Fiona. They set about restoring the house and outbuildings and the house remains today as a fitting tribute to their vision and determination.
Mrs. Erskine has kindly allowed us to picnic in the garden at Ida’s Valley. If it should rain we will take refuge in one of the outbuildings!
A selected Bibliography of information on Ida’s Valley:
Hans Fransen (2004) The Old Buildings of the Cape
Phillida Brooke Simons (2000) Cape Dutch Houses and other old favourites
James Walton (1989) Old Cape Farmsteads
Désirée Picton- Seymour (1989) Historical Buildings in South Africa
Graham Viney (1987) Colonial Houses of South Africa
Obholzer, Baraiser & Malherbe (1985) The Cape House & its Interior
Douglas Houston (1981) Valley of the Simonsberg
Francois Smuts (Ed) (1979) Stellenbosch Three Centuries
C. de Bosdari (1953) Cape Dutch Houses and Farms