Format Extent5 colour photographs
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Photographs and information on a bell on the Elsenburg Agricultural College premises outside Stellenbosch. Outside Stellenbosch lies Elsenburg, an old farm that was turned into an agricultural college. The farm has a very nice bell, well preserved and clean. Between two moulding wires on the shoulder one reads AMOR VINCIT OMNIA: BATAVIA * ANNO * 1729 ending with a double curl. Below this one finds a very fine leaf decoration like on VOC-bells. Three more moulding wires can be seen on the sound bow. The bell is about 40 cm in height and in diameter. The bell seems to serve as a reference for other bells in South Africa. For example, the owners of the Rustenberg Estate claim that the bell on their premises is a copy of the Elsenburg bell. Also Finch in his guide to the Cape Town area makes a similar remark about a bell tower in the Company Gardens. The name Batavia links South Africa to current Indonesia. At some time in the past, South Africa was ruled from Batavia. Also the Beiber bell in the Cape Town Castle refers to Batavia. We have found a reference to a beautiful bell that has been cast in Batavia in 1772 by Johannes Borchhard. The National Archive Building in Jakarta has a replica of the bell whose original is on display in the Werkspoor Museum (a former VOC-building) in Amsterdam. In the Andre Lehr archives one finds a number of Borchhardt’s founders in Enkhuizen in the Netherlands from the 18th century, in particular Johan Christiaan and Steven. The Batavian one might have been another family member using a slightly different name. Apart from that it would be worthwhile to further investigate the possible links between bell founding in Batavia and the fact that quite a few bells in South Africa carry symbols from that area. Perhaps, commercial routes between Batavia and the Cape were easier and shorter than between the Cape and the Netherlands.
- Stellenbosch