Friday, 15 February 2013

New Dragonridge website and Cannon on the Paardeberg

Our new Dragonridge website

Johann Human has put his considerable talent into designing us a completely new website for our Dragonridge wines. Have a look and let us know what you think.

Canon on the Paardeberg

For the second year running, Barry Schreiber
, whose family has farmed on the Paardeberg for many years, has initiated an outing up the mountain to look at its cannon. 

Barry sent us this piece on the canon:

The history of the cannon is interesting. Originally, in the late 1600’s, they were part of a call-up system to protect the Cape route, which by the mid-1750’s, was widely employed in the Western Cape, as far as Swellendam. Strategically placed cannons were fired to alert locals, who would gather to thwart any invasion.

We think that there were originally 3 cannon on the Paardeberg dating from this era. One of these was on Sonkop (on our farm), but it was removed to Malmesbury.  On the Paarl side, one is to be seen on top of the Paardeberg at Vondeling, and a third cannon was found in the bush on a steep mountain slope. This one was removed in 2010 (with great effort), cleaned up & can now be seen at Slent farm.

Local belief has it that these were also signal cannons – that is when a ship arrived in table bay harbour, the captain would say what his requirements were in terms of wheat, meat and wine, and this message would be relayed by the network of cannons,  starting at the Cape town Castle, which fired off a specific sequence of shots . A person stationed on the Paardeberg would in turn fire off appropriate shots west, along the coast, north towards Piketberg and east towards Paarl. The goods would then be gathered in these places and sent off to Cape Town thus saving a lot of time and effort.

Up to some 70-odd years ago some of the local Louw family used to fire the Vondeling cannon occasionally. Unfortunately, with the last attempt, it overturned resulting in a fire and the cannoneurs hurrying home with singed beards & burned britches!

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