Drakenstein, Paarl, Strooidak Church
De Grave, Jan Albert
Format Extent7 colour photographs
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Photographs and information on the bell of the historical Strooidak Church, Paarl. The Paarl Strooidak Church is one of the main landmarks of the region. The church belongs to the third oldest congregation in South Africa and is the oldest church building in the country. The congregation was started by the Huguenots in 1691. To the left of the church is a bell-tower, designed by Louis-Michel Thibault and constructed in 1811. In the tower hangs one of the most important bells from South Africa. Below the shoulder we find a first band with floral decorations. On the inscription band there is a text that runs all along the bell and which reads as follows: + CLAES NOORDEN ET IAN ALBERT DE GRAVE ME FECERUNT ASTELODAMI . A MDCCXIIII. Below it one finds a broader band with leaf decorations followed by the following text: H:W:G:B: HEERE GEORG MATTIAS, HEERE TER FENNESTANGEETE ALBERTUS MEEMOULDING WIRE PASTOOR.GERHARD ALYNCK VOOGHT ROBBERT ALYNK ALBERT KONINK . IOHAN LUIEKEN.KERKRADEN. The decoration continues with 5 moulding wires on the sound bow and another 3 on the lip. There is a reference to the bell in the Gedenkboek of the church that has been published at the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the congregation in 1941. On page 269 it is mentioned that in 1717 the church council inquired about the maximal weight that the then wooden bell-tower could carry. In 1720 the amount of £14 14s.9d was paid for the bell. The text continues with the complete inscriptions on the bell. (There is an L missing in AMSTELODAMI). It seems highly improbable that the bell should have been made for the Paarl church. At the time of founding, the church did not have a pastor but rather a deacon. More likely the bell was made for a parish in the Netherlands but was later discarded and sent to South Africa. The bell has been well preserved and sounds very good. There are no cracks and hardly any mutilations for a bell of that age. Noorden used to be working in the foundry of François Hemony in Amsterdam. After the death of Claude Fremy, the founder of the bell in the Cape Town Castle, around 1700, his widow married Ian Albert De Grave and as such started the intense collaboration between Noorden and De Grave of which this bell is a fine example. When Noorden died in 1716, de Grave continued under his own name. We find an excellent example in the Groote Kerk in Cape Town with a bell from 1726.
- Drakenstein 
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