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Farm Owners in South Africa

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Farms and the owners and history of the farm

The main object will also be to have the profiles of the owners of the farms on Geni.

contact_icons/icq.gifGroot Constantia contact_icons/icq.gif The History of Groot Constantia Wine Estate.

  1. Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived at the Cape supply station in 1679.
  2. Commissioner Rijckloff van Goens a former governor of Ceylon and Council Member of India, visited the Cape while recuperating from an illness. He recommended to the Chamber of Seventeen, the governing body of the VOC, that land should be granted to Simon Van der Stel. After a visit by High Commissioner # Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein, Van der Stel received title to 891 morgen (about 763 hectares) on 13th July 1685. The land stretched southwards to the neighbouring free burgher farms of Steenberg and Zwaanswyk and to the north it reached as far as the wooded area named The Hell
  • van der Stel named his farm Constantia
  • The original Manor house appears to have been designed in a late Dutch Renaissance style. The traveller Francois Valentijn (1666-1727) described it as a double-storey dwelling with two or three steps leading to a front room or voorhuis, paved with white marble and red stone. There was a big pentagon in the shape of the Castle of Good Hope tiled into the centre of the floor. On both sides of the voorhuis were grand rooms, also with white marble floors.
  • The most romantic theory came from the writer Hymen Picard who claimed the name commemorated the daughter, named Constantia, of Pieter Sterthemius, commander of the fleet with which Van der Stel sailed in 1659 from Batavia.
  • Simon van der Stel Simon van der Stel (1639-1712)
  1. Contemporary documents describe Simon van der Stel, the first owner of what is now Groot Constantia, as having been born in Mauritius. In fact, he was born at sea while his parents were on their way to Mauritius from Batavia in 1639. His father, who was in the employ of the Dutch East India Company (VOC, as contracted in Dutch), had been posted there, but was eventually transferred back to Batavia, were Simon remained until the age of 20, having by then lost both parents.
  • Frans van der Stel Planted the vineyards
  • Oloff Bergh and Anna de Koningh (1716-1734)
  • Anna de Coningh Oloff Bergh, who took possession of Constantia on 13 November 1716, was born in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1643 and joined the VOC in 1665. He spent a few years in Ceylon as a soldier and was a sergeant when he arrived at the Cape in 1676.

Carl Georg Wieser and Jacobus van der Spuij (1734 1778)

  • Carl Georg Wieser
  • Jacobus van der Spuy On 9 August 1734 Groot Constantia was acquired by Carl Georg Wieser. Wieser, a soldier in the service of the VOC who came from Heidelberg, Germany, arrived at the Cape in 1728. He was promoted to corporal in 1730 and two years later married Johanna Jacoba Colijn, sister of Johannes Colijn, then owner of Klein Constantia. In 1724 Johanna owned a farm at Camps Bay and evidently had some farming experience. Their only child, a boy, was born in 1732. In the following year Wieser resigned from the VOC to become a Free Burgher. Wieser bought Groot Constantia with borrowed money, some of which was provided by his brother in law Johannes Colijn. As he was then heavily in debt, he did not have the capital to develop the farm. Colijn on the other hand, was busily promoting the popularity of Constantia wine and for all practical purposes controlled both Groot and Klein Constantia. When Johanna died in 1737, however, Wieser inherited her entire estate and had enough capital to pay off all his bonds, thus freeing him from financial dependence on Colijn.
  1. In 1740 Wieser married Maria van der Poel (1694-1771), widow of Melt van der Spuij. She had eight children from her first marriage. None were born from the marriage to Wieser.
  • Jan Serrurier (1778) Jan (or Johan) Serrurier, the son of a minister, Louis (or Lodewyk) Serrurier, and Esther de Vis, came from Hanau in the Netherlands. In 1747 he married Catharina Kretzschmar, the widow of Jan van der Swyn, who from 1738 had owned and lived on the farm Alphen, not far from Groot Constantia. Two sons were born from this marriage. In 1755, after Catherina’s death, Serrurier married Geertruyda (baptised 1736), daughter of the wealthy farmer Jacob van Reenen (died 1764), owner of Witteboomen, also near Groot Constantia. They had seven children.
  1. Three years later Serrurier bought Alphen, consolidated the land around the homestead and farmed there for seven years. In 1765, when he became a member of the Civil Council, he sold the farm to the German Johan Frederik Kirsten (died 1784). On 15 January 1778, Serrurier became the new owner of Groot Constantia, having bought it from Van der Spuij for 53 000 guilders.
  2. Thus, only 11 months after he had bought it, the farm passed into the hands of Hendrik Cloete ‑ and a new era in the fortunes of Groot Constantia began.
  1. From 1778 to 1885 three generations of Cloetes owned Groot Constantia and five Cloete generations were responsible for its viticulture. Hendrik Cloete was born in 1725, the younger son of Jacobus Cloete (1699 1757/8) and Sibilla Pasman (1693 1778). Sibilla, who was previously married to Johannes Albertus Loubser (born 1686), was the daughter of Rudolph Pasman and Sophia van der Merwe (born 1670). In 1714 Sophia had bought the farm Nooitgedacht near Stellenbosch and given it to Sibilla. Her marriage to Jacobus in 1722 brought Nooitgedacht into the Cloete family, whose property it remained until 1836. Sophia Pasman, Sibilla’s daughter from her first marriage, was the wife of Petrus Michiel Eksteen (born 1728), the owner of Bergvliet (which, as previously mentioned, once formed part of Simon van der Stel’s Constantia).
  2. In 1753 Hendrik (later known as Hendrik senior to distinguish him from his eldest son, Hendrik) married Hester Anna Lourens (1734 1794), daughter of Pieter Lourens (1703 1748), landdrost of Stellenbosch. They had eleven children. The family lived at Nooitgedacht, from which base Hendrik became one of the Cape’s largest land owners. In the Stellenbosch district he owned, apart from Nooitgedacht, Dekker’s Vallei, Vryberg, Hardenberg, Weltevreden, Vogelenzang and De Berg Sinai. He also owned the farm Zandvliet near the present Faure and a cattle farm in the Overberg, as well as holding several on quitrent.
  1. Hendrik Cloete junior had a close association with the estate since 1778, the year that his father had bought it and had given him the job of farm manager, for which his remuneration was a share of the produce.
He married Anna Catharina Scheller (born 1 June 1769), the daughter of Sebastian Valentin Scheller (died 1780) and Gesina Franck (baptised 1729), on 9 July 1780. 
  1. During the night of 16 17 October 1788 news reached Groot Constantia of the stranding on the Cape coast of the French frigate La Penelope. Francois was still living with them in 1800.
  • Anna Catharina Scheller When Anna became the new owner of the farm its size was about 624 ha. Its size was diminished in February 1823, when her son Johan Gerhard bought part of the estate measuring nearly 376 ha - property that then adopted the earlier name of De Hoop op Constantia and became known as Klein Constantia.
  • Jacob Pieter Cloete
  • Catharina Cornelia van Reenen
  1. Groot Constantia On 3 December 1824 Jacob Pieter bought Groot Constantia from his mother. T The homestead was well kept and also painted white. Lady Jane Franklin (born 1791) described it in 1836 as ‘a respectable looking old mansion in the Dutch style’. She and the Dutch agriculturist and cattle breeder Martin Douwe Teenstra, who had visited Groot Constantia 11 years earlier, both gave their impressions of the interior. Both saw the stalactite described by Latrobe in 1815 in the south western corner of the entrance hall. The room to the right (now the drawing room) had 10 big mirrors hanging opposite each other. Lady Jane and the missionary James Backhouse, who went there in 1838, also saw a stuffed reclining leopard on a carpet in this room.
  • Henry Cloete Henry, Jacob and Frederick
  • Mary Catherine Duckitt Henry (1818-1888), Jacob’s eldest son, who had already gained an intimate knowledge of the farm under his father’s stewardship, acted as farm manager from 1871 to 1875. His wife was Maria Catharina Duckitt, daughter of Frederick Duckitt and Hillegonda Johanna Versfeld.

Grand old Place

Hildagonda Duckitt (1839/40-1905)

, Henry’s sister in law, who wrote about Groot Constantia round this time, regarded the homestead as a grand old place with an air of old world nobility about it. She said the house was entered by a hall not as large as in some other Cape houses.

  1. Government (1885 - 1993)
  2. Groot Constantia Trust (1993 till present) Epilogue: Groot Constantia Manor House and Wine Museum In 1885 Groot Constantia was sold to the Cape Government which used it as an experimental wine farm.
  3. The house and the collection were under control of the Public Works Department and a Board of Trustees. In 1969 this task became the responsibility of the South African Cultural History MuseumThe agricultural interests on the farm became the reponsibility of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services.
  4. In 1976 the newly established Groot Constantia Control Board took over these functions. In 1993 the Groot Constantia Trust, which at present controls the farm in its entirety, was established.
  5. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Books, magazines and newspapers

contact_icons/icq.gif Groenvlei contact_icons/icq.gif Paarl

  1. Pieter de Villiers

Notas: 1.Theodorus is die stamvader van die Swellemdam vertakking van die Krielfamilie. 2. Stukkies grond van 2 morg eld is uitgegee aan ambagslui (1753-1817) 3. Die idee hiervan was om ‘n selfstandige gemeenskappie d.m.v.die Toevoeging van nog erfpaggrond selfstandige landboueenhede te word. 4. Die plaas Groenvlei van 2 morg, geleë te Noorder-Paarl, is gedurende 1759 deur Willem Ferdinand Hooyer geneesheer in Stellenbosch, aan Pieter de Villiers verkoop. 5. Toe met Theodorus Kriel trou boer hulle 1764-1768 te Groenvlei. Sy bly in besit van die grond tot 1769. 6. In 1793 verkoop Booy Booysen aan Pieter de Villiers (1757-1799) wat op Wittenberg geboer het. 7. Groenvlei was geleë in die huidige Paarl tussen Breda – en Bergrivierstraat in die omgewing van Lady Greystraat

contact_icons/icq.gif Korannafontein - Lichtenburg contact_icons/icq.gif

  • Korannafontein is waar die dorp ottosdal tans is.
  1. Die 1st eienaar was J C J v Vuuren.
  2. Toe 'n Skot, Adrian Brill wat moontlik saam met die Potgieter-trek gekom en ca 1840 op die plaas kom woon het.
  • Verskeie Kriel familielede trek ca 1871 uit die Swellendam omgewing noordwaarts.
  • Sommige vestig hulle in die Oos-vrystaat, ander in Transvaal.
  1. Hermanus Jacobus Kriel

contact_icons/icq.gif Rietfontein Bloemhof Transvaal contact_icons/icq.gif

  1. The farm Rietfontein was developed on the banks of the Vaal Rivier on the Transvaal side, in the Western Transvaal.
  2. During 1968 the farm made way for development to build the New Bloemhof Dam, fishers paradise in South Africa.
  3. The World Angling Championships was held there in the early 21 st century.
  4. All family graves on the banks of the river were reburied in Bloemhof in a cemetery called Bloemhof Reburial Site.
  5. Only a few of the original owners graves are still on the farm.

contact_icons/icq.gif Vergelegen contact_icons/icq.gif

  • Vergelegen – no ordinary Estate.
  1. Founded on 1 February 1700, Vergelegen (meaning "situated far away"), has been under the ownership of some of the world's great explorers and visionaries, each of whom, in their own way, have helped shape Vergelegen to what it is today: a world-class Estate.
  3. Boasting a proud history extending over 300 years, Vergelegen has carefully

conserved the items of heritage that has formed the foundation of Cape Culture in >South Africa, based on the layered historicism of links to the Netherlands, Far East, >England and France.

  1. Over the centuries, the owners of Vergelegen have contributed to the preservation >of the unique facets of the Estate, ranging from the ancient Camphor trees,

believed to have been planted by van der Stel in 1700, the "Royal Oak" grown from >an acorn taken from Blenheim Palace in 1928, through to sensitively revamped
hospitality facilities that blend seamlessly into the centuries old landscape.


“Joachim Sax (often spelled Sachs) — an immigrant from Egeln, Germany — was granted land from the VOC under the conditions applicable to freemen. Among these rules were: A burgher (freeman) could receive as much land as he could develop in three years; no tobacco was to be cultivated; Indigenous plants and trees were protected and felled trees had to be replaced by planting another” [1].

Joachim Sachs arrived in 1691 with his wife and four children in the Cape and settled on the farm Sachsenburg near Kuils River. However, this farm was only awarded to Joachim Sachs in 1693 by Governor Simon van der Stel [2]. The first T-shaped farmhouse, later demolished, was presumably built in 1701 [1]. In 1705 Oloff Albertus Bergh became the next owner of this farm known as Saxenburg today and which is a well-known wine estate [2].

On May 1, 1712 Maria Sibella Sachs, the widow of Jan Christoffel Haak and the daughter of Joachim Sachs of Egeln near Magdeburg in Germany and Susanna Holswig of Haszleben in Turinge, Germany, was married in Stellenbosch to Pieter Jansz Swanepoel [2]. Swanepoel himself had no links with Saxenburg, but was the progenitor of the Swanepoel-family in South Africa and Maria therefore the SM.

“In 1701 the Saxenburg homestead was built and had uncommon features for the time. The stoep (veranda) covered only one-third of the façade, with a high flight of stairs leading up to it. The front door did not boast a fanlight, which was a common feature at the time and the gable was considered unique with its flowing, understated outline” [1].

According to official records, the farm Saxenburg changed ownership 37 times between 1701 and 1989. Between September 1980 and June 1989, Peninsula Quarries Limited owned the farm for the purpose of mining. Fortunately mining rights were never granted, but the vineyards were neglected and the manor house fell into disrepair. [1]

The Bührer family from Switzerland purchased Saxenburg in 1989 and redeveloped it to its present state. The family themselves live in the manor house, but there is also visitor accommodation. [1]


1. The estate. Available online: Viewed on 21/01/18.

2. Swanepoel, Christiaan Hendrik. 2003. 'n Tak van die Swanepoel-familie in Suid-Afrika, 1699 tot 1999: 'n genealogiese en kultuurhistoriese studie. MA tesis, Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Available online: Viewed on 21/01/18.


Pieter Jansz Swanepoel, SV/Prog named his loan farm in the Land of Waveren, that he occupied since 1709, Nieuwmunster after his birth town in West Flanders, Belgium. Before 1714 a livestock farmer paid nothing for grazing rights on a certain piece of land, but in July 1714, governor Maurits Pasques de Chavonnes and The Political Council decided that a charge of 6 Rix Dollars for six months and 12 Rds for twelve months would apply. The rights on such a farm included hereditary possession. Swanepoel received Nieuwmunster as property on 5 May 1716. The words, in Dutch are “ te bezaaij en beplanten, bepooten, betimmeren en erfelijk te bezitten“ [1]. CH Swanepoel cites only 2 secondary sources, but such wording probably appeared on the deed of transfer (grondbrief).

In contrast with this, Conradie [2] believes that Swanepoel still had Nieuwmunster as a loan farm. He actually had access to that grondbrief, signed by de Chavonnes and base his opinion on the fact that the words "Altoosdurende Erfpag" does not appear on it. We will return to this.

Land surveyor BJ Slotsboo was responsible for the marking out of several farms. Nieuwmunster is situated closely south east of the present Wolseley [1].

It is difficult to determine exactly when Pieter Jansz Swanepoel and Maria Sibella Sachs moved to Nieuwmunster. The first settlers erected primitive homes, but after receiving their land in property, most of them built more permanent structures. Building materials were easily accessible in the area [1].

Nieuwmunster was on 26 October 1747 transferred to his son-in-law, Johannes Hendrik Conradie, who married Rosa Swanepoel on July 19, 1737 (KAB: J 195). [1]. It is not clear whether the archival reference refers to the transfer or marriage. “ 'n Verdere bewys vir Pieter Jansz Swanepoel se aftrede in 1747, is die feit dat sy plaas Nieuwmunster op 26 Oktober 1747 oorgedra is aan sy skoonseun, Johannes Hendrik Conradie, wat op 19 Julie 1737 met Rosa Swanepoel getroud is (KAB: J 195).”

Conradie, however believes Nieuwmunster only came into Conradie possession in 1818. On another grondbrief: "Door zyn Excellentie, den Hoog Ed. Geb. Generaal Lord Charles Henry Somerset ...." (nog 'n boel titels) ".... word door dezen in altoosdurende erfpaght gegeven aan de Wed Petr. Coenradie zeker stuk land, gelegen in het Distrikt van Tulbaght, groot in zyn grond 474 mor. 510 vk. rd., strekkende - aan de Lenings Eigendom Plaats van I. Moller - naar de Breede Rivier, aan het verzogte lyfpachtland van P. du Plessis aan de Mosterdshoek". [2]. According to him the loan farm system was abolished by the English government in 1813.

Whatever the case, the farm was owned by the end of the twentieth century by same Conradie family with Mr HF Conradie as owner. By 2002 the latter's only daughter Retha and her husband Hennie Kriel were the owners of Nieuwmunster [1]. This was when the thesis was completed and whether descendants of the Conradies, by whatever surname, still farms there, awaits further investigation.

Both families can consider Nieuwmunster their founder farm, but the Conradies have a far longer history of ownership even if 1818 is the correct date. In fact, the Swanepoels occupied it only for 38 years.


1. Swanepoel, Christiaan Hendrik. 2003. 'n Tak van die Swanepoel-familie in Suid-Afrika, 1699 tot 1999: 'n genealogiese en kultuurhistoriese studie. MA tesis, Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Available online: Viewed on 21/01/18.

2. Conradie, Daniel Jacobus. Familieplase: 'n Bespreking van sommige Conradie-Familieplase in die Westelike Provinsie se Grondbriewe. Available online: Viewed on 22-01-2018.