Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 00:00

If you are interested in following the progress of this project please join the Facebook group (click here).

The research is based on a wide variety of literature and an empirical section which entails having interviews with a broad spectrum of people representing the different economic and social events of the appropriate period.

The project entails the history and heritage of the former hamlet and the 22 surrounding farms commonly known as Bailey. The period under scrutiny is from early 1850 till the current century. The contents of the envisaged book would cover all the different economic and social activities of the derelict hamlet. Interesting, that the tennis court of the former hamlet had a title deed.

As the research and reading continued since May 2021, it became apparent that while gathering information about the surrounding farms, it made sense to compile a genealogical register of the different farms and their current owners, including Thomas Bailey after whom the hamlet was named. The genealogical record of the Bailey family meant that a clear distinction had to be made between the nine different spelling forms of the surname Bailey. Several of the current owners of farms can be traced back to an original family that settled in the area.

The hamlet developed on a farm, consisting of no less than 31 portions. It has since largely been consolidated, with one or two owners. The different parts represented all the economic and other activities that made the Bayleton community a happy and social hamlet. The religious influence of the three church denominations serving the community’s spiritual needs, the agricultural, commercial, and industrial sectors, government and social components impacted the hamlet community. The hamlet’s resurrection as a model using the latest technology is envisaged with the help of a land surveyor.

The history and heritage of this area is intertwined with the growth and development of the Eastern Frontier. The Eastern Frontier became home to what is commonly referred to as the British Settlers, of whom a good number had experienced the Napoleonic War. Cognisance must be taken that these groups comprised citizens from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. According to prof Jeff Peires "people generally referred to as “Xhosa” consist of a number of different “tribes,” each one of which has its own royal family, such as Gcaleka, Thembu, Mpondo etc. Bailey was situated in western Thembuland, the King of which resided in Mthatha district. So-called “Fingoes” or Mfengu are not a single “tribe” but a name given to refugees who fled from Zululand during Shaka’s wars (about 1820-1828). Many arrived at “Lesseyton”, close to Bailey, a Methodist mission station known in the Xhosa language as “Ndlovukazi.”"

Adding to this cauldron were citizens from the Netherlands, France, and Germany. The last three are also known as the Dutch, Huguenots, and German Settlers. Included in these groups were the members of the Khoi-San and coloured people. Huguenot descendants would have been aware of their ancestors’ striving during the Religious Wars in France and the German immigrants had their military background. A fundamental difference between these groups was that the British Settlers predominantly comprised a specific section of a community from where they came. In contrast, the Dutch, Huguenots, and Germans derived from different backgrounds. The same can be said of the Xhosas, who did not represent a group moulded necessarily from the same background.

The farming aspect of the Bailey area was mainly extensive, although the area is self-sufficient as far as natural water is concerned.

Markers that influenced Bailey in the past would be: the development of Queenstown, the nine Frontier Wars, British Kaffraria, the building of the Great Northern and Burghersdorp roads, Kaffrarian Rifles, Anglo-Boer War, the diamond rush to Kimberley, the extension of South African railway lines, the increase in the export wool market, the discovery of coal in three neighbouring districts and the Great Trek.

Bailey would experience the passing through of the Royal Family in 1947 by train while visiting South Africa, and a descendant of Thomas Bailey would later marry a descendant of Sir Winston Churchill.

Three neighbouring areas that closely knit with Bayleton’s development were Swartwater, Lesseyton and Zetland.

In conclusion, the research project will entail cultural, historical, heritage, agricultural, commercial, industrial, several government departments, social components, and the religious influence on the former Bayleton hamlet and the surrounding farms.

Once again, anyone interested in this project can join the Facebook group (click here).

Dr Marthinus J.S. Jordaan | navorsing@mjsjordaan.co.za

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 12:33

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