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St Philip's Church - Godlonton Street, Fingo Village


St Philip's Anglican Church, Fingo Village, Grahamstown

The Anglican church in Fingo Village, Grahamstown is St Philip's. It is an historic church, but with an active worshipping community.

Service Times

Contact details

The priest-in-charge is the Revd Mluleki Mize, telephone 0466 371 469 or 0727 025 966

The church is in Godlonton Road, also known as E-Street; if one is travelling from Grahamstown, begin in Beaufort Street which becomes Raglan Road (variously known as G-Street, Showerhead Road or "Dr" Jacob Zuma Drive), at Albert Street, turn right, cross Wood Street (F-Street) and turn right into Godlonton (E-Street).

Location: S33°18'31", E26°32'35"
The orientation of nave aisle is 30° North of East

History of the church

The red-brick church is St Philip's Anglican Church, built in 1860 as the Grahamstown Mission and twin of St Bartholomew's which can be seen from here in the western part of town. Like St Barts, the buildings included a school and rectory. The brickwork on the church is in the same style as the poor-houses of St Barts. St Philip's houses a stained-glass baptistry window of a Black Madonna which the church received in 1945, evidence of the emergence of black consciousness in the Anglican Church.[1]

From the Annals of the Grahamstown Historical Society

This is a sound structure of red brick built in a style resembling that of the Ladies' Cottages at St Bart's. There is a magnificent 'calvary' separating the nave and choir. This was erected in memory of the Rev. W.H. Turpin who served at St Philip's from 1860 to his death in 1908. Another very notable feature is the brass plate inscribed in Xhosa to the memory of the 132 men who served in the 1914-18 war. Among them are the names of three men who died on the Mendi.
Mr Webster drew attention to the parallels in the development of both churches. In this he noted, inter alia, the role of both parishes in regard to education. The 'Stone Grammar School' was built in 1866 for boys. This was taken over by the Community of the Resurrection in 1897 and closed in 1962. Its premises are now used as a play centre. In the case of St Philip's the Rev. Turpin opened a school in 1860 and ran it in addition to his church duties. In 1875, Emma, the daughter of the Chief Sandile, after having been trained at Cape Town was appointed as an assistant teacher. In 1921 a structure which was originally the skating rink in High Street was erected at St Philip's as a school. It was divided into five classrooms and had 300 pupils. In 1987 the school closed and was burnt out in the revolt against Bantu education and apartheid. In the following year a pre-school was opened by the Centre for Social Development. Mrs Nkopa, the Rector's wife, is its supervisor. St Philip's is known for its excellent choir.[2]

Footnotes

  1. Holleman, Helen (ed), Graham's Town: The Untold Story?: A Social History and Self-Guided Tour. Grahamstown:The Black Sash, 1997, ISBN:9780620220309.
  2. Webster, Lionel, "Visit to St Bartholomew's and St Philip's Church", Annals of the Grahamstown Historical Society, No 19, Grahamstown: Grocott & Sherry, 1989, pp 6-7