The Hermanus History Society (HHS) will visit an historic site near Stanford on Monday, 18 February. This excursion to the farm of Danie and May de Villiers, named Goedvertrouw, is the first of several that will be undertaken this year by the HHS, which has more than 100 members.
The history of Goedvertrouw goes back almost 300 years, when the right to use the land for the grazing of cattle (“weiregte”) was given to Pieter Swart by the VOC authorities in 1729. At the time, this land was described as “over de Uijle Craals Rivier”. In the course of time Pieter Swart became the tenant of the loan farm with the same name. After the Swart family, there were six other tenants before the turn of the century. In this period the name “Goedvertrouwen” started to appear in the documentation that is available in the Cape Archives.
In 1810 an interesting person, with the name of Samson Dyers, became the tenant of the loan farm. Dyers was a Polynesian seaman who deserted from his ship when it called in Cape Town. He was hired by a Cape firm to harvest seals on the island off Kleinbaai, today called Dyer Island.
It is not clear when the first buildings that currently still exist on Goedvertrouw were constructed. It is however certain that a house existed before 1818 on the spot where the main farm house currently is located. A map dated 1818 was found in the Cape Archives, the year that the mapping of loan farms commenced, in preparation of them being granted to the occupiers. The map was drawn by Mr Hopley, the surveyor appointed by the new British government, located in Caledon at the time.
The main house was probably constructed between 1813 and 1818 by either Lucas Maree or Petrus Robert de Villiers, tenants during that period. The cottage adjacent to the main house was most likely built earlier. The building material used in the construction was lime stone and clay/lime as bonding material.
In 1842 the first Englishman, John Metcalf bought the farm for £500. He wrote to his father in England about the property that he purchased and included a drawing of the inside of the main house which clearly resembles the front part of the current house. He very interestingly discusses the surroundings and his neighbours who, at that stage, were all “boere”. These letters survived and are currently in the hands of his brother’s descendants, the current Metcalf family in South Africa.
From 1850 the farm was occupied by Jacob Isak de Villiers, known as Jacob Osboer. His descendants are the De Villiers’ current neighbours, who still own and farm on a part of the original Goedvertrouw.