Founding Of Middelburg

Founding Of Middelburg

A site for Middelburg was chosen, as its name implies, in the very centre of a circle of other platteland towns – thus providing a hub for the secular and spiritual life of a pioneer farming community, which was, till then, very far from anywhere.

As far back as 1786 the nearby town of Graaff-Reinet was proclaimed. On the 6th of February 1837 the Cape government proclaimed the district of Colesberg with the field-cornettes of Middelveld, Upper-Sea Cow River, Lower-Sea Cow River, Nieu-Hantam and Agter-Suurberg.

The distance between Graaff-Reinet and Colesberg was 130 miles (200 km). Therefore it was decided to found a town in-between.

The Dutch Reformed Church of Colesberg gave permission for a new congregation to be seceded. Thus the Middelburg Dutch Reformed Church came to being on 19 May 1852, and according to the government Gazette of 19 June 1852, the Seat of Magistracy was announced for Middelburg.

Three farms, namely Kleinfontein, Grootfontein and Driefontein, were considered for the town. A commission consisting of Willem Smit and Henning Coetzee bought the farm Driefontein from Jan Coetzee for 40 000 riksdaalders (R6 000).

The farm was given the name Middelburg, for the farm lied in the middle of the surrounding towns. The first erven were sold on 12 and 13 August 1852.