Barnabas Shaw

Memorials of South Africa


The Rev. Barnabas Shaw who arrived in Cape Town in 1816, wrote several books. The Rev. E. Edwards and the Rev. T. Hodgson, were sent to South Africa to assist Shaw set up a mission to minister to the black nomad tribes. Barnabas played a major role in the growth of the church in the Cape, and this culminated in the erection of the Wesleyan Methodist Church on the corner of Burg and Church Streets, Cape Town, in 1829 (Methodist House now stands on this site). A memorial tombstone is still in place, in memory of Barnabas Shaw, who is regarded as the founder of South African Methodism. This stone can be found on the ground floor, beneath the gallery, at the back of the existing church.

Barnabas set up a mission at KAMIESBERG, also known as LILY FONTEIN, where he taught Hottentots to cultivate the soil. They had previously, never grown any type of food. Their only source of food was the cattle that they traveled south with in search of pastures.

They constructed temporary cattle-kraals, and took shelter in mat- huts.

I visited the hotel with a bar named after Barnabas. I don't know if he would approve of a Bar named after him, but it is a beautiful place.

Hotel Bar named after Barnabas Shaw
The view from the Barnabas Bar and Restaurant looks out at the beautifully groomed golf course

This carriage was outside the Hotel. The Blaauwklippen Wine Estate in Stellenbosch was founded in 1682. Barnabas Shaw was one of the first to grow grapes out of Cape Town. He taught the Hottentot tribe how to grow vegetables and fruit at a time that they had never eaten anything other than meat from their cattle or other animals they hunted.

The Blue Mountains give Stellenbosch a magical look to them. Blaauwklippen, nestled on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain, is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa dating back to 1682 and is situated in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch. The name Blaauwklippen comes from the Dutch and Afrikaans word meaning “blue rocks”. The mountains in the Cape look blue from a distance. Even Table Mountain in Cape Town looks blue from some vantage points.

For over 300 years, the people of Blaauwklippen have combined traditional values with innovative ideas to create one of South Africa's top wine tourism destinations. Weddings, wine tours and the restaurant are popular venues for both locals and tourists.

We experienced the true taste of South Africa in beautiful surroundings at Barouche Restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine on the large outdoor terrace.

The Rev. Barnabas Shaw who arrived in Cape Town in 1816, wrote several books published in England. He was sent to Africa as the founder of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The first mission that he set up was at Lilyfontein, where he taught Hottentots to cultivate the soil. They had previously, never grown any type of food. Their only source of food was the cattle that they traveled South with, in search of pastures. When  Barnabas first arrived in Cape Town, the British Governor did not want him to preach to the black people so he used his own money to buy wagons for his wife Jane and his assistants to travel to set up a mission outside the Governors jurisdiction.

Going back to the origins of the Shaw Clan, the history is full of interesting stories.

A lot of Shaws were Brave military leaders and also Christian leaders.

The Shaw clan was the most important clan of the Chattan confederation, has been already referred to in connection with the Mackintoshes. The tradition of the Mackintoshes and Shaws is "unvaried", says the Rev. W G Shaw of Forfar, that at least from and after 1396, a race of Shaws existed in Rothiemurchus, whose great progenitor was the Shaw Mor who commanded the ted by that of the Comyns, may very likely refer to the James, who, according to the genealogies both of the Shaws and Mackintoshes, was the son of Shaw Mor. THE Rev. Lachlan Shaw, historian of Moray, declared that he saw no reason to doubt that all persons of the name, were members of this clan. There is reason to believe, however, that many Shaws in the south take their name from some ancestor’s residence near a "shaw " or thicket, this being a common local place-name either alone or with some qualification, as in Pollokshaws, near Glasgow. The Gaelic name, Na Si’aich, on the other hand, means "Son of the Tempest" or "Son of the Snow." The same author, and the Rev. W. G. Shaw, following him, in his Memorials of Clan Shaw, quote unvaried tradition for the statement that the Shaws held Rothiemurcus from the Bishops of Moray in undisturbed possession for a long period prior to 1350.

The Shaws refusing to give them up, a combat took place in which James Shaw, the chief, fell. By his wife, a daughter of Ferguson, a baron of Atholl, this chief, say these writers, was father of a son who, on coming of age, attacked and defeated the Comyns and killed their leader at a place since called Laggan na Chuiminaich. He then purchased the freehold of Rothiemurcus and Baile an Easpuig, and so stopped further dispute.

The Shaw motto is “Loyalty and strength through faith”.

It's interesting that over a period of 300 years the map of South Africa has changed drasticly. Even the People have changed. Hottentots died of diseases brought by Europeans and Arabs. There are a few bushmen the still live in the desert near Namibia, The Bechuannanan people have been killed by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, so have been decimated. Zulus are still thriving in the North of South Africa (Natal). Natal is now called KwaZulu-Natal. It is a province of Northen South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu bantustan of KwaZulu and Natal Province were merged.

The Corannan and Namaqua tribes were decimated by wars with the other more powerful tribes and many were sold in to slavery by the concerning tribes. The Arabs captured many of the slaves. The word "Kaffir" is Arabic for infidel. Kafir is an Arabic term used in an Islamic doctrinal sense, usually translated as "unbeliever," "disbeliever," or " infidel.

I'm thrilled to be in contact with Niel Shaw. He is also a descendant of Barnabas, and he told me that his Parents were married in the Church that Barnabas is buried in in Cape Town. His parents were married in that Church on Green Market Square, precisely due to their Barnabas connection.