How Sidbury has inspired South African community
PUBLISHED: 12:44 07 June 2015
Many residents of Sidbury do not know it, but a community half-a-world away was inspired to model their town after the Sid Valley village.
Deep in the commonly considered ‘frontier country’ in South Africa, the town of Sidbury is one of several small settlements that populate the Eastern Cape.
The town is modelled after our own Sidbury due to the emigration of Lieutenant Richard Daniell, of the Royal Navy, a former resident of the village.
“It’s not a big town, it’s only got a handful of people living there,” said Andy Webb, chairman of Sidbury Cricket Club and a visitor to Sidbury, South Africa.
“It’s simple, just Sidbury Park, the village shop, the church and the cricket pavilion, but it’s a beautiful place.”
Lt Daniell, along with his brother James Daniell, a former farmer working in Sidbury, and other British settlers set off on the Duke of Marlborough from Portsmouth to Table Bay, Cape Town in 1820.
Lt Daniell settled in an area south west of what is now Grahamstown and named the land Sidbury Park.
During the 1830s, the small town was built and modelled by settlers from Lt Daniell’s memory of his beloved hometown.
In recreating Sidbury, St Peter’s Anglican church was also erected and named after Sidbury’s church St Giles and St Peter’s, though its architecture is far less extravagant.
In the 1890s, Sidbury, in South Africa, began its own cricket club and continues to play despite its small population.
East Devon Sidbury’s cricket club even has a picture of the original team from 1896 hanging on its wall.
“Even though they’re in the middle of nowhere, they still seem to get a team together,” added Andy.
“It’d be great to get a Sidbury versus Sidbury game of cricket going some day”.
Andy also mentioned that Lt Daniell even brought acorns from the Sid Valley over to South Africa and they have since grown into fully developed oak trees that stand outside Lt Daniell’s former home.
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said Tom Barrington, 54, owner of The Red Lion pub, and resident of Sidbury for 18 years. I’ve been to South Africa and I’ve never heard about another Sidbury.”
“I didn’t have a clue,” said Robbie Drew, 50, owner and operator of Drew’s of Sidbury for 30 years.
Sidbury is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in South Africa and contains hectares dedicated to nature and game conservation.
For more information on Sidbury’s South African counterpart, visit www.sa-venues.com/attractionsec/sidbury.php.