Pieter van Breda, SV/PROG
|Also Known As:||"Pieter van Breda"|
|Birthplace:||Sas van Gent, Terneuzen, Zeeland, The Netherlands|
|Death:||Died in Western Cape, South Africa|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Pieter van Breda, SV/PROG
PIETER VAN BREDA was born in Sas-van-Gent in Zealand, part of Flanders in 1696. He arrived in SA in 1719 on the ship “Spieringh”. He was the son of Dirk van Breda and Maria Canarie, and a tailor by profession.
On 17 Aug 1721 he married 17 year old Catharina Smuts, daughter of Michiel Smuts the elder, also from Zealand. On 19 Dec 1731 Pieter acquired the Oranjezicht (“Orange View”) estate in Cape Town, which was to remain in his family for almost 2 centuries. Pieter died aged 60 at Oranjezigt on 12/11/1756, and Catharina died aged 77 in 1781.
Oranjezicht Estate Map (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
Oranjezicht, which is now an affluent residential suburb on the slopes of Table Mountain above the Molteno Reservoir, was probably so called either because it overlooked the Oranje bastion of the Castle, or due to the sight of abundant orange trees growing in Table Valley. It had an exquisite view of the of the sea in front and the Majestic Table Mountain behind the homestead, and was very noticeable. The house stood near the orchards, west of Orange Street, and was surrounded by fruit trees and several oval flower gardens.
Gradually enlarging their possessions was a policy the van Bredas continued to follow until the estate covered the largest part of Table Valley, 213 morgen in the 18th century.
The Gardens of Table Bay, 1820, Map prepared by Mr D Verschoyle, obtained from Surveys and Land Information, City of Cape Town Municipality (colour was added to some van Breda properties - Oranjezicht in yellow clearly the largest of all):
Some vines were cultivated but the main income was derived from the sale of fruit and vegetables. The gardens were laid out in terraces, separated by avenues lined with double rows of oaks.
A very large number of slaves are said to have worked on the farm. Their homes stood in long rows in the present Orange Street.
The van Bredas were known for their great hospitality and many important visitors to the Colony were entertained on the estate on a lavish scale. Pieter even had his own house orchestra of 30 flute and violin players, in uniform. They performed in one of the many gardens, on a raised bandstand with white-painted stone facing and low stone walls, surrounded by a circle of trees.
Oranjezicht Homestead and Outbuildings (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
View of Table Bay from behind Oranjezicht c1804. Drawing in the Koopmans de Wet museum. (Photo by Stewart Harris, posted on Flickr - Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/):
The Oranjezicht house was unique in that it was a double storey, with a wood-floor balcony in front supported on 6 columns. Inside were large cool rooms with large windows, superb furnishings and a graceful staircase. It was an antique collector’s paradise.
"De Kaap Stad of Tafel Valeij“ ca 1804 by unknown artist – showing the farm owners and depictions of their homes. Painting in Koopmans de Wet house museum. (Photo by Stewart Harris, posted on Flickr - Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/):
Close-up view of the Oranjezicht homestead as depicted in "De Kaap Stad of Tafel Valeij“ above (Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/):
This seems to be an accurate portrayal of Oranjezicht homestead. There was indeed such a striking approach avenue. The double storey house (later fronted by a lattice balcony) had exactly this relationship to the L shaped outbuildings. They are the slave quarters - demolished when Upper Orange Street was made. Interestingly, it seems as if Oranjezicht may once have had a flat roof and wavy parapet, if these details are depicted correctly.
Seven steps led from the paved pathway to the stoep entrance. Behind the house, tier after tier of terraced fields with stonework fronts stretched towards the mountain. Pathways were lined with pine trees. On the east side were several water springs. In front of the house was a large circular fishpond surrounded by a cobbled courtyard. A wide oak-lined avenue of trees formed the main entrance to the homestead.
Oranjezicht homestead (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
There were also 2 slave bells, the main one hanging suspended between two pillars. Sounded daily at set hours or in case of emergency, it could be heard from Signal Hill to Woodstock.
On sale days the bell sounded and a flag was hoisted, the signal for ship’s officers, burghers, and their wives and children to wend their way to the estate to wander through the spacious gardens and fill their carts with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Oranjezicht slave bell tower (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
Produce was brought to a tree in the cobbled yard where it was weighed on a scale (steelyard) hanging from an oak tree. With exotic flowers adding colour and kilometres of shady walks alongside burbling brooks, it was a pleasureable occasion for all.
Oranjezicht - steelyard hanging from an oak tree (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
Oranjezicht Archway (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
Oranjezicht Great Hall (Cape Town Archives, Elliot Collection):
Note the transparent ghostly figure of a man seemingly reading a book in the chair by the window. The photo was taken ca 1900 by photographer A Fuller on behalf of Mr Arthur Elliot (Elliot Collection). It appears someone must have entered the room during the photography session (lens had to be left open for a while), causing this ghostly image to be captured on the glass negative.
The demise of Oranjezicht started in 1877 when the estate was entailed, and the Purchase Act enabled the Municipality to buy more than 12 morgen on which to construct water reservoirs. Five years later another act released further portions of the estate and the municipality also acquired rights to impound the water from the many springs on the estate. Without water the farm became quite useless, and the owners were forced to pay urban rates and taxes too.
Members of the family continued to live there well into the 20th century, but gradually more and more land was sold until ultimately there was little left except the double-storey house in Sidmouth Ave. Its interior was a veritable museum, since the van Bredas brought lovely furniture, silverware and art treasures from Europe to their home. The house was eventually also purchased by the City Council in 1947, supposedly to be turned into a civic museum. However in Aug 1947, 287 antiques were auctioned and on I April 1955 the homestead was demolished to make way for a sports club and lawns. Now only the name of the suburb remains of the proud van Breda possessions. A community organisation Oranjezicht Cty Farm operates on a small part of the original van Breda estate: http://www.ozcf.co.za/
Pieter and Catharina only had two children, a daughter Maria born in 1724 who married Arend de Waal. and only one son to propagate the surname, Michiel, baptised on 17 May 1722. He inherited the family farm Oranjezicht. Aged 24, he married Wilhelmina de Kock, whose family also originated from Zealand, on 23 Oct 1746. Michiel died at Oranjezicht aged 55 in 1777, and his wife 2 years earlier. They were the parents of 8 children :
- Susanna,born 1747,married to HO Loubser.
- Pieter, born 1750 (baptised 1/3/1750), Captain of the Citizen Force in Cape Town. He played a leading role in the Patriotten Movement against Company Officials. He married Catharina Sophia Myburgh on 27 Nov 1774, and after her death he married Hilletje Smuts, widow of Willem Versveld and owner of Nooitgedacht, on 30 Aug 1802. Pieter inherited the family farm Oranjezicht in 1777, but also owned 6 houses in Cape Town and was a partner in the farm Bakkelysplaats near Swellendam. He had 4 children, including 2 sons Michiel (1775) and Johannes Albertus (1777). Pieter died on 3/6/1804.
- Servaas, born 1752, Lieutenant in the Citizen Force, married Johanna lsabella Hurter on 20 Oct 1782. He had 6 children.
- CatharIna Comella, bom 1754, married to N Acker.
- Alexander, born 1755, married Johanna de Wet on 30 Sept 1781 and remarried Helena Hendrika Michiels on 5 July 1795. He also supported the patriotten Movement. He was the owner of Rheezigt, currently (1995) the ministerial residence of minister Roelf Meyer, and later of Boshof, currently (1995) owned by plastic surgeon Dr. WD Francois Malherbe. Alexander had 14 children, 6 from his first marriage and 8 from the second, including 3 sons Johan Adam Michiel (1801), Servaas Francois (1803), and Gerrit Hendrik (1806).
- Maria Geertruida, born 1758, married to JJ Hamman.
- Arend, born 1760.
- Arend Josias, born 1762, married Catharina Agatha Volsteedt on 18 Feb 1787, and remarried Elisabeth Petronella Ehlers on 14 April 1793. He had 8 children.
- Genealogy info from Pama & Heese/Lombard
- Vintage Cape Town – Historic Table Valley by C. Pama, 1973
- The Farm that Died by Ralph Pentecost, 1992
- Schetsen uit het Kaapse Leven by JH Verduyn den Boer, 1929
- The Home of the van Bredas, Cape Times 31 March1923
- Romance of Oudekraal and Oranjezicht - Cape Argus 28 May1932
- Ou Kaapse Families, by Mrs A Kannemeyer
(Copies of many of the above references are attached in "Sources" section)
Compiled by Martina Louw, néé van Breda [Em Lo]
(Descendant of Pieter's grandson Alexander)
Photos of Oranjezicht taken in 1996 by myself (Em Lo)
View of Table Bay from behond Oranjezicht, 1996:
Remains of Oranjezicht garden terraces, a children’s playpark in 1996, with an old outbuilding and the slave bell-tower in the background:
Remains of Oranjezicht springs, 1996:
Old cobblestone service entrance to the Oranjezicht estate, 1996:
Bronze slave bell from the oranjezicht estate’s bell tower, as displayed in 1996 at the Koopmans de Wet House:
Remaining outbuilding of Oranjezicht estate, 1996:
In the centre of the area where the original Oranjezicht family vault stood, on the premises of Mr Granelli at 8 Montrose Ave (1996), stands a granite obelisk on a plinth with 4 panels, inscribed with the names of the most prominent van Bredas buried here:
1.Hier liggen begraven de afstammelingen van Pieter van Breda [van Sas van Gent] die naar Zuid Afrika kwam in het jaar 1720 en vestigde zich te Oranje Zigt. Geb 1696 Gest 1757:
[NOTE: according to Pieter’s VOC “soldyrekening” he died on 12/11/1756 (Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Nederland : VOC 1.04.02 inv. nr. 5724 folio 223)]
2. Michiel van Breda (Burgerraad) Geb 1722 Gest 17.7.1777; De manhafte Pieter van Breda Geb 1750 Gest 3.6.1804; Servaas van Breda (Koornhoop) Geb 1752 Gest 17.5.1825:
3.Arend Josias van Breda (Rheezight) Geb 1762 Gest 6.6.1825; de edele Michiel van Breda, President Burger-senaat, eerste burgermeester van Kaapstad, L.W.R. Geb 25.9.1775 Gest 12.8.1847:
4.Johannes Albertus van Breda (de Hoop) Geb 1777 Gest 30.4.1839; de edele Dirk Gysbert van Reenen van Breda, L.W.R. Geb 5.5.1803 Gest 14.11.1876.
Pieter van Breda, SV/PROG's Timeline
Sas van Gent, Terneuzen, Zeeland, The Netherlands
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Western Cape, South Africa