Cape Town Baptisms 1665-1695
The members of the original settlement at the Cape from 1652 onwards were supplied by the Dutch East India Company with a sieketrooster (a lay reader). He held Sunday services where he was allowed to read sermons (but not preach) and to instruct the children in their religion, but not to offer communion, or to marry or baptise. Sieketroosters up to 1665 were Willem Wylant, Pieter van der Staal, Ernestus Back and Jan Jorisz Greef.
Marriages were conducted either by the Commander (civil marriages were part of the normal system in the Netherlands) or by ministers passing on ships calling at the Cape and these latter also conducted any baptisms required.
Eventually the Dutch East India Company management decided to appoint a resident minster at the Cape (all such religious ministers were company salaried officials) and on 18th August 1665 Dominee Johannes van Arkel landed at Table Bay. Later a church was built and its present day successor is the Grote Kerk in Cape Town. The particular sect was then known as the Hervormde Kerk, modern South African equivalent the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk.
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