Helderberg, Somerset West, Vergelegen
Format Extent7 colour photographs
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Photographs and information on the bell of the Vergelegen wine estate in the Helderberg area. The estate Vergelegen has a very interesting bell hanging in a yellow tower from 1958. The wine estate Vergelegen dates from the beginning of the 18th century when Willem Adriaan van der Stel, governor of the Cape, made the farm his property. Willem Adriaan was the son of Simon van der Stel, founder of Constantia. A few years later already half a million vines were planted. After a long period of decline, the Phillips couple bought the property and restored the farm to its earlier splendour. The farm houses a renowned restaurant with world class wines from the estate. In the horseshoe construction the bell from 1783 hangs on a beautifully carved wooden bracket. The bell is very mutilated but - given its age – has been worth further investigation. One can easily see that the bell has suffered a lot from hanging outside. In between two moulding wires we find the following text that runs around the bell + A + BREST + 1783 + where + stands for a fleur de lis, a typically French heraldic symbol. On the front side and below the ring figures the seal of the French king. The weapon itself consists of three fleur de lis, 2 above 1. On the other side of the bell and just above 5 moulding wires above the sound bow appears the founder’s seal. Again two more moulding wires and two moulding wires on the lip finish the decorations. Brest is a major city in Little Brittany, the most western department of France, Finestère. The founder belongs to a family of founders with two brothers Jean and Jean-François as the best known. In documents the family name Le Beurrier is often spelled in an alternative fashion like Le Beurier or even (Le) Beurrier de la Rivière. The two brothers have been qualified as fondeurs du Roy, royal founders. This explains the appearance of the weapon of the French king on the front side. The founder’s seal is a circular text LE BEURRIER MA FAIT meaning Le Beurrier made me. This text is comparable to the me fecit text that often appears on bells with Latin decorations. Given the date on the bell, the founder is a further descendant Julien Le Beurrier but more information on him is unknown. Within the circle one finds a bell on top of two bars whose meaning is unknown to us. Outside the Finestère region, there are not many bells known from the founders’ family. It is interesting to find a French bell of this age in the Somerset West area.
- Helderberg 
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