Should you have visited Trafalgar Square in London and noted the graceful lines of the St Martins-in-the-Fields church next to South Africa House, you will experience a sense of deja vu when travelling down J A Calata Street (formerly Stockenstroom Street) in Cradock and see the Dutch Reformed Moederkerk rising majestically above the buildings around it. This is because this church has been built to the same design.

This is the 200th anniversary of the Dutch Reformed community. The church has an interesting history, including the fact that President Paul Kruger was christened here by a Welsh pastor in 1826 and that it was occupied by British soldiers who occupied the town during the Anglo-Boer War. They apparently used it as a look-out post and kept watch on the inhabitants from the roof.

The interior is spacious, with seating for approximately 900 worshippers.

The stinkwood pulpit is impressive.

The windmill is an appropriate motif for this area.

The church contains an impressive organ.

And beautiful pews.

We were told of an interesting situation that occurred when a member of the congregation was working on repairing the roof in recent years. Looking down, he noticed two layabouts drinking alcohol on the pavement below. He rather mischievously bellowed down the drainpipe, I see you! The two layabouts got such a fright at hearing this disembodied voice right next to them that they fled in terror!

Sadly, the potential peace and tranquillity of the interior of the church is challenged by loud music blaring from the radios of vendors that crowd the pavement outside, selling anything from butternuts to cheap sandals.


  1. Magnificent. Just yesterday we were discussing the way that the role of churches, church officials and congregations has changed over the last few decades. I wonder how many people still turn up for the Sunday morning meeting in this majestic old building.


    • Apparently there are other NG Kerke in the town these days and there is some talk of turning this one into a museum. Nonetheless it was filled to the brim during the 200th anniversary celebrations. The organ is in perfect working order too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the story about the voice from the downspout so much that I copied that part, along with pictures and a reference to that curious, but no doubt all purpose, tree– and made a post out of it for myself. Unfortunately I kept trying to edit, so I hope you saw the final version. (By the way, what’s the protocol here; should I have asked for permission first? I haven’t done that before, but Im still learning.)


    • I am pleased this resonated with you: I thought it was a delightful story and I don’t mind you passing it on. Protocol-wise, thank you for providing the link to my post – I think that is an adequate acknowledgement.

      Liked by 1 person

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