History

In Beaufort West The farmers that first settled in this dusty area were tough, able to deal with predators and regular raids on their stock. But they were also welcoming people who offered food and shelter to passing hunters, adventurers, explorers, missionaries and pedlars who brought welcome news form neighbours and the faraway cape.

Among the first farmers was father and son, of the Huguenot ancestry, they came to the area in 1760. Abraham and Jacob Le Clercq (later called De Klerk) were granted a farm which they named Hooyvlakte, the tall, waving grass on the plains reminded them of wheat fields. Soon they cleared the area of predators and developed one of the prize farms of outskirts. The farm Hooyvlakte caught the eye of magistrates sent to find a viable spot for a town.

Local Farmers were excited. A magistrate and Church would better their circumstances. For too long they had to read their bibles in isolation and travel for day to marry or have their children baptised. A town represented authority, education, religious instructions. Among them were farmers who did not welcome the approach of civilisation.

The town was established in 1818 on the farm Hooyvlakte at the request of lord Charles Somerset, then governor at the Cape. The town were given its name by Lord Charles Somerset in honour of his father Henry Somerset the 5th Duke of Beaufort.

The British liked towns to have churches and official buildings at their core. So A church was built. Initially it was a unpretentious grass roof place of worship, later the present breath taking Neo-Gothic edifice, which has pride of lacein the main street, was build. Its peak can be seen for miles around. This was all keeping with Lord Charles Somerset’s ideas.

Beaufort West became the first municipality in South Africa of 3 February 1837 and had the country's first town hall.

One of Queen Victoria's bodyguards, Avon Bruce Brand, designed the town dam in 1879.

Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats was born in Beaufort West.

in 1849, Sir Fraser observed and famously documented a herd of Springbok that took three days to pass the town.

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