SERENDIPITY – The Grand Old Drostdy

ARTISTIC IMPRESSION: A very stylised- hand painted picture of the Old Drostdy in Bathurst, done by the late Shirley Krissic

THE Old Drostdy in Bathurst is now a private residence.

On November 9 1820 the foundation stone was laid by Frances, wife of Colonel Henry Somerset, son of Lord Charles Somerset and officer commanding the Cape Mounted Rifles regiment.

It contained 14 rooms and an entrance hall.  In 1822 the magistracy moved to Grahamstown and the building for which it had been intended, was not used as a “Drostdy”. 1825, Rev Boardman opened a grammar school there and in 1829, the Rev Wright, chaplain for Bathurst, arrived to take up residence there.

In 1830 Rev Geoffrey Porter took over. He was a grand man who gave his salary to the building of St John’s church. Later that year, William Earle, the government schoolmaster, moved into the “parsonage” and looked after Rev Porter.

Porter was relieved by Rev James Barrow. In 1833 Thomas Biddulph bought the Drostdy and 11 acres for 255 pounds.  From this year to 1848 various accounts of history show the Drostdy being a part-goal, a hotel, and later a private residence.