Approximately 230 kilometres from Cape Town, lying peacefully at the foot of the Cederberg Mountains is one of South Africas 10 oldest towns, Clanwilliam. Originally known as Jan Disselsvalleij, the town was founded shortly after the arrival of the Settlers in Southern Africa in 1652. It was only in 1814 that Sir John Cradock renamed the town Clanwilliam after his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam.
One of the historic building in the town is the old Dutch Reformed Church building which since 1971 has been the home to the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show which has drawn thousands of people through the historical doors over the years. But the churches history dates much further back than that.
The building was used for regular church services for one hundred years after it was designed by Carl Otto Hager and completed in 1864. The neo-Gothic style is similar to other Hager churches, such as the Moederkerk and the Lutheran church in Stellenbosch. The pulpit, designed by Hager, is made of pine, but the doors to the vestry are made of cedar wood. Although the building itself was only built in 1864, some of the burial sites in the graveyard predate that and some 1820 Settlers and other well-known personalities lie buried there. The church courtyard is graced by the presence of a memorial Obelisk which was erected in 1926 in memory of the Rev CF Leipoldt, a former minister of the church and father of the poet, C Louis Leipoldt.
After services were discontinued in the old building, the church board held a meeting on 24 July 1965 and decided to donate the building to the Clanwilliam Nature Conservation Society for preservation and maintenance. In 1971 The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Association was established under the leadership of Mrs Kay Bergh and the following year the Dutch Reformed Church was renovated at a cost of R5000 and became the home of the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show, which is where the name Blomkerk (Flower Church) came from. Today the building belongs to the Clanwilliam Heritage Trust and was declared a National Historical Monument in 1978. The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Association strives to collect and make funds available for the restoration of this church building as well as for the support of the Ramskop Wild Flower Garden.
For more information on the Blomkerk, the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show and future show dates please contact:
Sue Bergh (chairman)
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clanwilliam Information Office
Or email: email@example.com
Clanwilliam can be found by travelling north along the N7 for approximately 230 kilometres from Cape Town, towards Namibia.