St Patricks is an absolutely gorgeous little chapel located in Hogsback, a quiet and scenically beautiful town in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Hogsback is famous for its natural beauty, which includes waterfalls, indigenous afromontane forest, and lovely gardens. Mist also often covers the village, enhancing its ethereal and mystical atmosphere. The St Patricks Chapel is no exception, and represents all that is Hogsback, radiating both a charming presence and an air of mystery.
A Chapel with an Interesting History
Kenneth Hobard Houghton commissioned a local resident, Mr. Summerton to build the chapel for his wife, Cherrie in 1935. The Chapel was subsequently dedicated to the Irish Saint, St. Patrick. Since its construction, the Chapel has experienced an interesting history. In 2010, the Chapel marked its 75-year Jubilee by adding a new wall of remembrance. Sadly, just three months later, an electrical issue caused a fire to break out and the Chapel was almost completely burnt down. However, within a week the congregation, friends and community worked together for a swift rebuilding effort. By March 2011, a dedication service was held to commemorate the reconstruction.
The inside of the Chapel is open 24 hours a day and you are free to respectfully enter it at any time. It is the most gorgeous little chapel, with beautiful stone walls and wooden beams across the ceiling. Just inside the Chapel entrance, there is also a library that you can borrow books from, returning them once you have finished.
The Stone Arch at St Patricks
One of the first things you will notice as you enter the grounds is the stone arch on the lawn, housing a brass bell. The arch is a memorial for the Reverend Doctor Bride Dixon, one of the first Anglican woman priest in South Africa. For many years, she also served as a doctor in Hogsback.
The garden sundial, dating back to 1687, coincides with the period of the Declaration of Indulgence—a year marked by King James II’s authorization of religious freedom. This historical alignment is fitting for the Anglican Chapel, known for its inclusivity of all denominations.
The Security Gate that Survived the Fire
Yet another distinctive structure within the gardens, located on the periphery of the Chapel, is a security gate. It represents one of the few structures that remained unscathed from the fires of 2010.
The Prayer Walk
Beyond the interesting history, there is also a beautiful Prayer Trail through the garden. Along the path, there are seats that allow you to take a moment to reflect. Each station has a bible verse inscribed on signs and artifacts from the fire, giving you plenty food for thought.
The garden is a beautiful place to walk, and you can see lovely views of the valley. The flowers there are also really pretty, especially in Spring (September / October) when most of them are in full bloom.
Overall, St. Patrick’s Chapel in Hogsback is a perfect symbol of the town’s beauty and enigma. Its history and features, like the Prayer Walk and the resilient reconstruction efforts, capture Hogsback’s spirit – where peace, history, and community relations are strong.
Where to find St Patricks on the Hill
Main Road, Hogsback. Drive through Hogsback past the Historic Hogsback Inn. Continue along the gravel road for about 3km until you see a sign for the church on the left.