History of Modderpoort

 

The first Bishop of the Diocese, Edwin Twells, purchased the farms Modderpoort & Modderpoort Spruit in 1865 as a base for missionary work in the Eastern Free State. The farms were first occupied in 1869 by Canon Henry Beckett, the Superior of the Society of St Augustine and four brothers who lived in the now famous cave which is currently a consecrated Anglican Church.

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In 1902 the Society of the Sacred Mission took over the missionary work from the Society of St Augustine who had very few active members left. By 1928, the SSM had established a Training College for black teachers as well as a High School. Both the Training College and High School were closed in 1955 due to the restrictions introduced by the Bantu Education Act of 1953 and the Apartheid government. Past students include a former Premier of the Free State, Mme Winkie Direko, politicians, a doctor, Anglican and non Anglican clergy.

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For many years since its closure, St Augustine's has been operating as a Conference Centre with Bed & Breakfast facilities. Fr Charles Lange was appointed Warden by Bishop Patrick Glover in 1999 and following his vision the Diocese began to upgrade the now dilapidated facilities.

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The legend of Mantsopa has resulted in the farm becoming a main tourist attraction for the Free State. Anna Makhetha Mantsopa was born in 1795 in the Eastern Free State area. In 1851, Mantsopa prophesized that the Basotho would win a battle against troops led by a major Warden. Mantsopa became instantly renowned as a prophetess and became a legend. Her memory is preserved and she is still revered by many today. She died on the 11th November 1906 and is buried in the cemetery alongside the Priory Chapel at Modderpoort.

 

The Priory and Chapel originally built by the Society of St Augustine are also tourist attractions.

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