BACKGROUND ON THE
BOSCHENDAL FOUNDERS ESTATE
Boschendal Founders Estate
National Heritage Site declaration: 13 February 2009
This farm was originally granted to the Huguenot Jean le Long in 1685, Afterwards the property became the home of Jacques de Villiers and his wife Marguerite Gardiol. Their grandson, Paul, built the historic manor- house in 1812. The farm remained in the possession of the De Villiers family until 1879. The H-shaped manor-house, together with the out- buildings and ring-wall, form a unique and important Cape Dutch architectural group.
The layout of the werf is unique with outbuildings forming two long parallel rows behind the homestead. It is highly representative of the Cape Winelands Cultural Landscape in terms of the visual dominance of a productive agricultural landscape, dramatic mountain-valley setting, its collection of historical farm werfs, cottages and villages, and pattern of historical tree alignments. It reflects a pattern of early colonial settlement and expansion during the late 17th and 18th centuries with an emphasis on agricultural production concentrated in the well watered fertile valleys. It has a concentration of highly important heritage places with Boschendal and Rhone and their landscape settings providing a pivotal set piece within the valley system. Its rich architectural and settlement history reflects the evolution of the Cape farm werf tradition from the 18th century, the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the work of one of South Africa’s foremost architects, Herbert Baker. It also reflects a range of built form and settlement typologies, e.g. farm werfs, managerial residences, farm cottages, planned labourers’ village (Lanquedoc) and mission settlement (Pniel).
It reflects the history of farm labour, i.e. slavery, indentured labour, wage labour, migrant labour, and related shifts from a feudal to a corporate to a democratic order. Its community has worked and inhabited the landscape for generations resulting in strong linkages between place and identity.