In 1679 the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, found a wooded valley with rivers running through it and decided it would be a good area in which to create a settlement. By 1685 the settlement of Stellenbosch had taken shape with a Drostdy, Church, the Cape Wagon Road (Dorp Street), and the first plots for sale in what is now Van Rhyneveld Street. The entrance to the Museum has a drawing showing the town in 1710, and I think the artist may have been standing at the entrance to the town, looking down Dorp Street towards the Drostdy.
The Schreuderhuis is the first building in the Museum and one of the oldest buildings in South Africa. Sebastian Schröder was a German employee of the Dutch East India Company who was sent to the Cape in 1707 to oversee the local mills. He left the Company and was allocated land on Van Rhyneveld Street in 1709. (‘Schreuder’ is the Dutch spelling of his name.) Schreuder sold his house in 1712 and moved back to Europe. The last owners of the house were the Lubbe Family, shoemakers, who finally sold the house in 1970.
By 1776 when Schumacher drew the map below of Stellenbosch the town had not developed very much further.
The Blettermanhuis was built in 1789-90 by Heinrich Ludwig (Hendrik Lodewijk) Bletterman was a German employee of the Dutch East India Company who came to the Cape in 1741. He was the last Landdrost to be appointed by the Dutch East India Company, serving from 1785-95 and resigning in protest against British occupation of the Cape. His home is furnished as a wealthy Stellenbosch home of 1750-90. (Interesting post here on the furniture in this house, and the Stellenbosch Museum.)
The next post will visit the two other buildings in The Village Museum.