St ?

Now Oude Kerk Volksmuseum

Exterior of Tulbagh Church.

Measured by (can't read), drawn J Fassler

Pearse 1933:49 (drawing on material from FM Glennie) writes:

The church in Tulbagh was begun in 1743 … we are told, took five years to build. … The date on the gable is 1796, which indicates that in the original building, as was usual, no gables were employed and that this gable was constructed at a time when many of the important country houses and public buildings were being embellished with the rich gables.

The church is cruciform in plan, with galleries at the west end and one over each of the transepts, but the original stair and floor are missing. The nave has an ordinary mud floor with an open thatch roof of interesting construction in indigenous timber, in sound condition. The walls, 2’ 6” thick are of brick laid in clay mortar and plastered. The original doors and windows remain, but most of the fittings are missing. …

It was owing to the efforts of Lady Beck that the church, which is now used as a museum, has been restored by Mr FM Glennie, from who the above description was obtained.

Not a great deal of difference, then and now!
The two-tier candelabrum is notable piece of brass-work of the period.
Compare the restoration with the
original building before the earthquake
Bassoon and Serpent used in church services
in the absence of an organ, no doubt supplanted
by the harmonium which is just visible beneath them.
Three different views of the pulpit
with its sounding board over.
It was only about 300 years ago when, after a land grant by the Dutch Colonial Government to a more or less equal number of Dutch and Huguenot settlers to settle the area, was the town of Tulbagh founded. The town developed slowly and over time and in the period many notable examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Edwardian houses and other buildings such as Die Oude Drosdy (the original colonial Magistrate's complex) were built in the valley. Many of these lovely buildings were destroyed in an earthquake in 1969 but quite a number did survive the catastrophe. Many notable examples of the Cape Architecture of the time still exist on farms throughout the valley although in some cases they have been altered or repaired and also modernized. The authentic buildings are sadly few. In the famous Church Street however, all the houses in the street were restored to almost original condition after the earthquake.

Church Street is now graced by the largest number of original Cape- Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian National Monuments in one street in South Africa and is a major tourist attraction of the town to the present day. To take a walk down Church Street is akin to walking through a page in history.

The above history was taken from Please visit this site for further details.

The Valley was first discovered in 1658 by Pieter Potter, Surveyor General to Jan van Riebeeck, the first Governor of the Cape. Fourteen farmers settled here in 1700, but the town was only developed in 1943, when the first church was built. Tulbagh became well known after the big earthquake, on the 29th of September 1969, when most damaged buildings in the present Church Street, were restored to their original form — all were declared National Monuments. There are 32 of these buildings, constituting the largest concentration of National Monuments in one street in South Africa. The old Church, presently the museum as well as an annex to the newer museum, is the focal point of interest to many visitors.

The above history was taken from





House Number 1: The Old Church Museum is the oldest cross-form church in South Africa and houses a wonderful collection of Cape furniture.

House Number 6: The Earthquake Museum explores the valley’s history and how Tulbagh was rebuilt after the devastating 1969 earthquake.

House 14: The Victorian exhibition has recently opened to give an insite into Victorian life in the Cape.
Tickets for the complex can only be bought from House 4

House Number 22: The 'Ou Volks Museum'. This Cape Dutch pioneer cottage has been recreated into a quaint home, reconstructing life as it was 200 years ago.

Open 7 days a week. Telephone (+27) 23 230 1041


Opening hours

Mon - Fri: 8h30 - 17h00



Sat: 10h00 - 15h00

Sun: 11h00 - 1500

Public Holidays: 10h00 - 15h00 



Sat: 09h00 - 15h00

Sun: 11h00 - 15h00

Public Holidays: 09h00 - 25h00

Please note that the Museum, during the Winter moths (from May to September) are only opened the last and first weekend of the month, and normal hours during the week.



Colour Pictures kindly supplied by Rachel Jordan

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
© July 2001 -