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Cawood's Post

"Cawood's Post was a fortified farmhouse in the Trappes Valley, a few miles to the S.E. of Grahamstown. When I passed that way a few years ago, the derelict building was still visible from the road."
William Jervois, April 2000.

William Cawood's Obituary


The unsparing hand of Time is gradually removing from our midst the brave adventurous band, who in 1820 settled in Lower Albany, and laid the foundation of the prosperous Eastern Province and the country beyond, as we find it today.

Few, however, of those whose demise has been recorded of late years took so prominent a part in the early history of South African Colonization as did the brothers Cawood, the elder of whom, James Cawood, died in February of last year.

In our issue of 3rd instant, it was our melancholy duty to record the death at Cradock, on the 1st instant, of the next eldest brother of that distinguished family: William Cawood.

He was the second son of Mr. David Cawood, who in 1820, left his ancestral home, Way Bank Hall, Yorkshire (where the Hon. S. Cawood, the junior of the well known tri-partnership of Cawood Brothers, was born) for South Africa.

The family then consisted of six sons and three daughters.

It now numbers, all told, over 370 members.

They settled at Kafir Drift (Known since the death of the head of the family as "Cawoods Post").

Each of the Brothers bore the stamp of the true Yorkshire breed, and each singularly, retained the twang of his native county.

They were associated with the early settlers in their neighbourhood in most of the stirring scenes and contests with Kafirs that were incidental to the settlement of Lower Albany.

The rough border life of these times, was a fitting prelude to the after career of the three brothers: James, William, and Samuel, who in 1832 and 1833 made extensive hunting trips into the almost unexplored territory of the ferocious Zulu Chieftain Dingaan.

These expeditions extended very frequently far beyond the Vaal into the unknown regions beyond.

Such a life, though congenial to the tastes of these adventurous Albany youths, was nevertheless fraught with perils and dangers of no ordinary description which were however bravely met, and though losses from various causes were often their lot, they succeeded in accumulating sufficient from their profits to give them a start in that career in which they have been so successful.

Previous to taking up his permanent residence at Cradock, Mr. William Cawood lived for a few years at Somerset East, from whence he removed in 1849, remaining in Cradock for about a year.

In 1853, however, he took up his abode permanently in that town, from which time to the date of his death, 24 years, he lived in Cradock.

The experience and knowledge his life and character have given to a large circle of friends in that town and district, is well expressed by a private correspondent whose letter reached us by Sunday's post, viz., "that a more upright and honourable man never lived."

He was always the same: if he said a thing you could depend upon him.

Naturally of a retiring disposition, it is really wonderful how he exercised so much influence; and there is no doubt that the influence he had gained in the Cradock and surrounding districts, was as deservedly acknowledged by all, as it was wide spread and genuine.

In public matters he kept aloof, except that he was a Municipal Councillor for 20 years, and only retired last year on account of his failing health, and with a well earned resolution of the Board, thanking him for his long and valuable services.

Although not caring to mix much in politics, he never hesitated in giving his opinion, and was a staunch and uncompromising Eastern Province man.

His worth as a Colonist was recognised by Governor Barkly, who conferred upon him, much against his inclination, and against his express wish to be relieved of such duties as the office would entail upon him a commission as Justice of the Peace.

Like all British settlers of 1820, Mr. Cawood was as loyal a subject of the British Throne as ever breathed, and like his brother in Grahamstown, never lost an occasion of showing it. Only last Queen's Birthday, Mr. Cawood, with his own hands, hoisted his splendid collection of flags in honour of Her Majesty and this was an act of loyalty he regularly performed every 24th May.

It would have been better for the colony, if a constant stream of immigrants comprising men of the same stamina had continued to pour into it from that time to the present, or indeed, if even now a similar class of men were being introduced to cultivate our comparatively unutilised coast land, and to colonise the immense tracts of fertile country that have just been added to the British Possessions north of the Vaal.

One has not far to go to see the great esteem in which the late Mr. Cawood was held.

During his brief illness, anxious inquiries were received by his family as to his health from all parts of the colony as well as the Free State.

His funeral was the largest ever seen in Cradock; at least 200 people following his remains to the grave, including English, Dutch and coloured people, whilst at the Cemetery there must have been, we are informed, at least between 300 and 400 people.

He lived to a good old age, nearly seventy seven.

There are not a few young men in Cradock who have grown up from boyhood to manhood in daily contact with Mr. Cawood, who are indebted to him for kindly advice, given in a quiet, thoughtful and gentlemanly way, that they felt it impossible to go away without being impressed with his worth.

He is a man who will be missed more so from a small community such as Cradock, than in a large place.

(Taken from a newspaper of August 18th 1877).

Obituary of John Landless





The death, announced in last week's "Leader", of Mr. John Landless, of Ormerod Road, Burnley, at the ripe old age of 82 years, whose remains were interred at St. Paul's Churchyard, Little Marsden, on Saturday, has stirred up recollections in the minds of old Brierfield people. There are many who still remember the time when the Marsden pit was in full swing, and can point to the place where the Coal Pit House stood; where the numerous, and, we might say, accomplished Landless family lived. The pit mouth was situated where stands what was known, until recently, as the "new end" or "plain shed" at the Brierfield Mills; and the Landless' dwelling stood close by. In those days what is now Bridge-street was Coalpit-road, and the railway was spanned by a wooden bridge, and the steps, instead of turning at right angles to the bridge as at present, continued straight down into the roadway, now Coalpit-road. After descending these steps, in order to reach the pit or the house, people had to pass under an overhead trolley-way on which the "jinny" trucks passed to and fro between the pit and the railway and the "stay", where coals could be purchased at 1/- per load of 3 cwt.

Mr. Ralph Landless was the manager and knew his work thoroughly; and the person to whom we are indebted for this glimpse into old times described Mrs. Landless as a "grand woman!" and "a pattern to all the women in the village." There were 13 children of the family, of whom the late Mr. John Landless was next to the eldest. The oldest was William, who founded the firm of Wm. Landless & Sons, cotton manufacturers [of] Clowbridge. The came in order John, James, George, Thomas (our present esteemed Councillor), and Richard. Another boy, who bore his father's name, Ralph, died young from an attack of croup. The daughters were:- Sarah (who became Mrs. Brotherton and migrated to South Africa); Helen, who still resides in Brierfield and is a member of the Education Committee; and Elizabeth, who became Mrs. Dugdale, the mother of Mrs. John Bates and Messrs. Vernon and George Dugdale, so well known amongst us. Hannah died in her maidenhood; Isabella became Mrs. Baldwin, - she, too, is dead, and the numerous members of the family, who attended our day school, and whom some of used to play with, have all left us and would not be recognised in Brierfield now. Ralph Baldwin made his mark as a baritone singer, and we believe he is at the present time entertaining the soldiers as a member of a troupe called "The Follies," and from all accounts they are big favourites. The other daughter was Margaret, who became Mrs. John Eastwood.

Previous to leaving Brierfield, Mr. John Landless resided at Lily Cottage, beside the bridge, where most of his bereaved family were born, and the same house to which - after the Landless family had removed [from] Burnley - Dr. Bird brought his newly-married bride and resided until the time of his leaving Brierfield. Mr. John Landless was owner [of] that block of houses from Lily Cottage [to] Mr. Ellis's, whose place of business was converted into a shop in 1882, and was first occupied by two of Mr. Landless's daughters as milliners and dressmakers. He was also the owner of the adjoining block of houses in Vine-street.

Mr. John Landless, like his father before him, and also followed by two of his sons after him, has been in the employ of the Exors. of John Hargreaves and the later formed company all his working life, and to that firm he has been a good and faithful servant. Councillor Thomas Landless, his brother, so well known and respected, was also in the employ of the same firm, and when he retired ten years ago, he had served them for 43 years, while his son, Mr. Arthur Landless, is still the Company's sole agent at Colne. The mantle of the father would also appear to have fallen on the sons in public service. We do not know when the father was first elected on the Brierfield Local Board, but his name appears on a list of five who were members in 1868. These were:- Mr. Robert Tunstill (chairman), Mr. James Smith, Mr. Leonard Clement, Mr. Thomas Harker, and Mr. Ralph Landless. In that year the District rate was 9d. in the pound and the total amount collected was [pounds]262. There were 700 assessments and the assessable value was [pounds]4,657. Times have altered since then. As we have increased in size and, we hope, in wisdom, so, alas! have our rates and assessments increased. The assessable value is now over [pounds]37,000, and the number of assessments is 2,630. In the 48 years that have elapsed since 1868 there has scarcely been a time when the Landless family were not represented on the Council. John, James and Thomas are all past members and chairmen, and we trust the time is far distant when gentlemen of the same stamp as these, and bearing the same honoured name, will cease to occupy a seat in our Council Chamber.

[1916: presumably in the Brierfield "Leader".]



Dear Mrs Landless,

 I have heard with a deep sense of sorrow of the death of your beloved husband, Eric, at the University Teaching Hospital. We all join you and your family in mourning a man who did so much towards the growth and development of Zambia.

 I know that your two sons, Ronnie and Bruce, follow in his footsteps and their contribution in the field of farming is only one indication of how dedicated and committed your husband was in leading them into useful lives devoted to the betterment of and in the service of their fellowmen. For this we will always be truly grateful to him. His memory will live on in Zambia forever more.

 As we pray for you and your family during your time of grief and sorrow, we also pray that you will turn to the Almighty God, our Creator, for consolation. He is our only true source of comfort at times like these. He will strengthen you and guide you.

 May the soul of your dearly beloved husband rest in peace and may God bless you all.

   (Signed: Kenneth Kaunda)

Mrs. M. Landless, ODS,
P. O. Box 30853,


[A short extract written by Agnes Kent (nee Gradwell) about her mother Betty Cawood.]

Betty Cawood was the 5th child and eldest daughter of David and Mary Cawood. She was born at Waybank Hall, near Bingley, Yorkshire on 13th June, 1805. Her parents were woollen manufacturers, but being persuaded by an Uncle Wilkinson they went into business at Sabde (Salden ?) [probably Saltaire, near Bingley. DB] Mother often spoke of going to school there and of old Squire Farren who used to nap at the fireside.

The call for people to come to the Cape Colony - David Cawood, wife, seven sons and three daughters embarked on the "John" on the 1st January 1820. David, the youngest child died with measles on the voyage. They landed in Algoa Bay on the 6th May 1820. The minute gun was firing for the death of George the third. (Mother told us about her father pulling on a pair of tight boots to celebrate George III's jubilee. They lived in Saldin [? Saltaire] when Waterloo was celebrated)

They were carried from the boats (at Algoa Bay) by natives - mother the first one of their ship to land. There were only 6 or 8 houses then. Captain Pearson had been very kind. Father (William Gradwell) was introduced to Miss Cawood - he put his hand on her head and said "This is a bonny lass, you won't keep her long". She was very indignant.

They were packed into the oxwagon and reached the location on the 18th May. They were fortunate in getting the houses used by the soldiers at Kaffir Drift, now Cawoods Post. Her mother was not accustomed to a rough life and the death of her baby caused her to be very delicate. Ma often said one of the dainties her Mother enjoyed was some small onions and bread and butter. Father (William Gradwell) was always near and did lots for the Cawoods.

At the last minute of sailing his Uncle John Rigg would not come and gave father (William Gradwell) all he had on board. There was a large net and seed potatoes. They soon found fish and used to take them to Cape Town. (John Rigge crossed off sailing list in London)

On the 1st January 1822 Ma was married to William Gradwell. She was dressed in a coloured muslin and a very fine plaited Coffee leaf bonnett made by herself - Mrs Godlonton's brother taught her to plait. Her hair was in curls. She was married in Rev Boardman's house. Her mother had a nice dinner ready for them. On the 2nd January 1822 her mother (Mary Cawood) was going in a wagon to Bathurst for medical attendance - she was near Trappes Valley and just said "I like William to drive and Samuel to lead". She asked to be lifted out of the wagon and was gone to join the baby she loved, only about 36 years of age. Grandfather (David Cawood) lived with mother (Betty, his daughter) until he also passed away in 1832. The ring Mother wore was bought from Mr Gowar.

Father and Mother [Gradwell] both joined the Wesleyan Society and received their first tickets in Mr Pike's house from Rev Young. Grandfather Cawood's memorial service was at Baileys Party. Charles Bailey preached text "For me to live in Christ, to die is gain".

William Gradwell died at Grahamstown 26th November 1849.

Betty Gradwell died at Somerset East 1896 on the 4th September and her last words were "All's well".

* This extract was sent to me by Anne Clarkson.

Richard Brangan HULLEY

1810 to 1888.

Richard Brangan HULLEY was born on the 5th September 1810, in Sheffield, Yorkshire - but the exact parish is not known. Other sources give the place of birth in Bandon, Cork County, Ireland - this has not been confirmed as yet. In 1820. accompanied by his parents and family, Richard Brangan HULLEY (aged 9) arrived in Algoa Bay, South Africa.

An extract from the narrative "A visit to South Africa" by James Backhouse (1838 - 1839). "After some religious services at the Kaffir District Post, we rode to Clumber, a pretty natural town in the Albany District, where the Wesleyans had a small church. On the way, we called on Richard Brangan HULLEY who related to us the following which occurred, which effectively turned him to the Lord.

He was neglectful of religious things and the peace of his soul. He was asked to provide wild honey for a missionary who was ill. In endeavouring to do so, he fell from the branch on which he stood, to another branch, and eventually onto the ground, breaking one or more ribs. The injury caused great pain and lock-jaw, so that he was extremely ill of 3 weeks. When in this state, he was alone and felt that unless divine mercy was extended to him, he would surely die. He arose from his bed and on bended knees, implored the deliverance. While praying he thought he heard a voice encouraging him to persevere, that his prayer would prevail. Soon after he felt a change in himself; he found his broken ribs restored to soundness; his mind filled with peace; and his body comforted. he wept with tears of joy and thanksgiving. During his illness he was unable to sleep and now lay praising the Lord for his assistance until he fell asleep. When he awoke he was still reduced in flesh, but was in good health and continued so until his full recovery."

An extract taken from Reverend Owen`s visit to Zululand in 1837.

"Richard Brangan HULLEY was engaged in the month June 1837, by Francis Owen, to accompany him to Zululand as interpreter and artisan. (It is not known just where Richard learnt to speak Zulu - or maybe he could speak Xhosa, which would help to understand and speak a little Zulu)

The party started from Butterworth Mission, in Gealeland and consisted of the Reverend Francis Owen, his wife, Richard Brangan HULLEY, his wife Jane, their 4 years old son, William, and a young man by the name of Wood.

En route to Port Natal (now Durban), a call was made on Mr J Joyce (missionary to Paramount Chief Faku) and Dr Adams of the American Mission Board. In Port Natal, the party went to Berea House which had been build by Captain Gardiner for the Church of England Mission.

After permission was obtained from Chief Dingaan to settle in his country, the party left Port Natal in August 1837 in three ox-wagons, with Mr Richard (Dick) King as their guide. (Dick King is famous for his ride to Grahamstown from Port Natal to seek British force to come relieve Port Natal from the Boers)

Five days after leaving Port Natal, the Tugela River was crossed. Ten miles further on an American Mission, under the supervision of Reverend Champion, received the travelling party with great kindness. Here they also met a Mr Brownlee, who later became an authority on Native Affairs and Law in the Transkei. After a further 5 days trek, Dingaan`s kraal of some 1000 huts was reached.

Except for one meeting when the Reverend Owen preached to the Zulu, he was not allowed to preach again.

As Richard Brangan HULLEY could speak to Dingaan in his own tongue (or there abouts from Xhosa ??) he was engaged by Dingaan to teach him to read and to write, and to act as his interpreter. However, Dingaan became too occupied with his wars with the Boers to continue his studies.

At about this time, a son was born to Richard and Jane - probably his second child, which was named Richard. Richard Brangan HULLEY was the only white man who ever presumed to make a joke with Dingaan. At the birth of this child. This was done by announcing to Dingaan that a white stranger had arrived during the night and was now at the Mission House. Dingaan had an extraordinary system of espionage; no stranger came into his domain without the information being conveyed to him; and any neglect to acquaint him of this stranger's presence meant certain death to a score of people in the vicinity. When Richard Brangan HULLEY made his statement, the Councillors around Dingaan were seen to squirm with fear. Dingaan was incredulous; such a thing could never happen without his knowledge. Richard Brangan HULLEY affirmed it to be as he said it was, but as the stranger was too weak to walk, he invited Dingaan to come and see for himself.

Once at the Mission House, Richard Brangan HULLEY introduced Dingaan to his newborn son who had arrived during the night. Dingaan enjoyed the joke so thoroughly that he promptly ordered that 10 head of cattle be given to the stranger at once. In delight at the escape, the councillors gave an impromptu war dance. This is the first and only European child to be born at Dingaan's 'Great Place'.

Early in 1838, Dingaan requested that Reverend Owen write a letter to Captain Gardiner in Durban, and also to John Crane, requesting the two of them to be present at a meeting with the Boers to be held at the "Great Place", Gingindhlovu. Richard Brangan HULLEY was sent to deliver these letters.

On the morning of the 6th February 1838, after having given breakfast to 2 of Piet Retief`s party, Reverend Owen and his party heard the inflamed shouts of the blood inflamed warriors as the Boers and their servants were massacred.

Richard Brangan HULLEY's return was delayed by the flood of the Tugela River, but, on reaching the ridge overlooking the "Great Place" and in the direction of the execution ground, he observed a large flock of vultures hovering over the "place of the dead". About halfway down the ridge, as he travelled, he saw a white shirt sleeve torn from its garment, lying beside the path, which filled him with fear, lest the Mission Party had been put to death.

When he reached the principal entrance to the kraal, he saw a pile of saddles piled one upon another. He sent a message to Dingaan reporting his return, but being anxious about his family, went off to check on the situation. His house was empty, but with the tea things not cleared away. So he went to Reverend Owen's house where he hound his family all safe and gathered in prayer.

Richard Brangan HULLEY reported back to Dingaan, where he learnt that during his absence, the Boers (numbering about 60 men with the same number of after-riders) had arrived and had what was presumed to be a satisfactory meeting with Dingaan. However, when their horses were brought up and they were preparing to depart, they were requested to enter the enclosure and to come to Dingaan to drink to his good health. He requested them to leave their arms outside the enclosure. On a sign from Dingaan, they were attacked by 1000 warriors. The Boers' necks were broken.

The dead bodies of the Boers were taken to the execution ground and left out there to decay.

Thereafter, the missionaries felt their safety insecure and so asked permission from Dingaan to leave his country. This was granted. Two men were sent with them to secure safe passage to the Tugela River. The party reached Port Natal (Durban) safely. Thus ended the mission to Zululand and Dingaan`s kraal.

Richard Brangan HULLEY then had a lengthy and notable service in Pondoland. As a Catechist at Clarkbury, he did valuable pioneering work but was driven out by the Kaffir Wars (also known as the Frontier Wars) with a number of his converts. He subsequently settled in Shawbury - another Mission. He laboured between troublesome times here, but his efficient and vigorous leadership carried him through.

When he was appointed to Tsungwana (Osborne) many of his people followed him there. He did wonderful work among the AmaBaca, wielding a tremendous influence. He retired to Entambeni and started service of his own on his own farm. Here he laid the foundations for the Entambeni Missionary Circuit. A large church has been erected at this place to his memory.

(These notes came to me from John Perfect.)


On the road from Grahamstown to Port Alfred lies Bathurst, founded in 1820, named after the Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst, and intended to be the administrative centre of the Settler Country. The town lost its status to Grahamstown.

The Anglican St John's Church, built in 1832, is a historical monument. It was used as a refuge before it was completed and in 1834 came under determined attack. Women and children sheltering in the church loaded guns while their men held off an army of warriors until relief arrived from Grahamstown. The church was fortified with outer earthen works and was the strongpoint of a countryside reduced to ruin. Again, in 1846, the church was besieged. It also provided protection for local inhabitants during the war of 1850-1853.

One of the first settlers in Bathurst, Thomas Hartley, built a forge and Inn in 1821. Burnt down, looted, re-stocked, this inn, The Pig and Whistle, still survives.

The Methodist Church in Bathurst, also a historical monument, withstood the siege of 1846 and an an attack in 1836.

Two kilometres from Bathurst is a vantage point known as Thornridge. From here, Colonel Jacob Cuyler, the man in charge of allocating farms to the settlers, directed them to their future homes. In 1968 a toposcope was built here around a beacon erected in 1859. This toposcope has 57 bronze plates around it indicating where parties of settlers were allocated farms. From here the whole coastline of the Settler Country is visible.

[Notes supplied by Trevor Dickerson.]

Sarah and the Ghost of Aunt Pompey

"By the time mother (Sarah Norval) was fifteen1, the goldfields on the Rand had been opened up. Granpa (Henry Norval), who had two wagons and two splendid spans, heard that fortunes were to be made by transport riding, and accordingly, he took his wife and family and several servants off to the Goldfields, letting his farm on a two year lease.

They spent the first night of the trek at his father's home, and here the baby, Maude, developed a terrible attack of croup during the night.

Much of Gran's goods and chattels had been stored in the top room of the old mill, and mother was despatched with Sara, the African maid, to find the Saratoga trunk in all that medley and in it to collect the bottle of coal-tar, to be burnt to cure Maude's croup. The baby was already blue in the face when Sara, who was sleeping outside Gran's door, and Mother, hurried off in the bright moonlight to the mill.

Neither of them had the faintest idea where to find the trunk, but just as they were running across the bridge over the stream, they saw the long dead Aunt Pompey2, with her long hair flowing all around her, standing on the water. Both Mother and Sara were terrified, but the former insisted on hurrying on.

Mother says she saw the trunk the moment she stepped in to the loft, and almost sick with fright because she felt a hand on hers, guiding it down to the bottle of coal tar.

Sara, many years later, came up to Rhodesia with Gran and Granpa, and when Mother was telling me this story, she called the old girl in and bade her tell us "who we saw standing on the water that night we had to run to the mill on the oubaas' farm." Sara looked apprehensively around her, as though she feared the reappearance of the