1666 Willem Adriaan van der Stel succeeded his father Simon van der Stel as Governor of the Cape and, a year later, acquired 413 morgen of land in the Hottentots Holland valley. He called the farm “Vergelegen” which means “far situated” as it was a good day’s ride from the castle in Cape Town. He also imported trees – the now giant camphor trees in the Vergelegen and Erinvale gardens and the many oaks which can still be found in this area nearly 300 years later.
1707 However, Van der Stel’s virtual control over food supply did not endear him to the free burgers. Led by Adam Tas in 1707, they bought a petition against him for misconduct and corrupt practices tending to the serious loss and oppression of the colonists. As a result, he was ignominiously recalled to Holland, his estate confiscated and sold by auction.
The area northwest of the river was bought by Jacobus van der Heiden and was later divided into three portions: one of which is mostly Lourensford, the second became Vrede-en-Hoop and Oakwood (and is now part of Lourensford) and the last portion is the area now called Erinvale.
The nucleus of the latter area was initially called “Welgelegen” (well-situated) and passed through many old Cape families – the Theunissens, Munniks, Morkels, Buisinnes and Hendriks. (It was Marthinus Theunissen who, with three other farmers in the area, was instrumental in establishing the village of Somerset West.)
1817 The original homestead is believed to have been built by Helena Munnik
1868 Edward Strangman bought the property for the sum of £800. Being an Irishman, he changed the name in memory of his home country to “Erin Vale” (Irish Valley). After his death his son Frederick continued to farm, and had two sons – one of whom was killed in World War One.
1942 Frederick Strangman passed the farm on to his two daughters Doreen and Kathleen when he died in 1942.
1951 The old home was demolished by Doreen and Kathleen Strangman, being in such a bad state of repair after a fire it was thought impossible to save. The existing Manor House was rebuilt on part of the foundations of the original homestead. According to archaeological reports, the L-shaped outbuildings probably dated back to the early 1700’s and were converted into luxury rooms both at ground level and in the thatched roof space.
The only part now identifiable is the original chimney of the old kitchen. The L-shaped thatched rooms were constructed within the footprint of the original stables and the Georgian-style block was built within the footprint of the original stable barn. The smaller conference centre consisting of the Birch and Oak Rooms used to be the old tractor shed and the large conference centre was the old pigsty. These original building structures are over 300 years old and contributes to the historical claim of the property.
1981 Major alterations were made to the manor house, masterminded by Doreen who passed away in 1981. The sisters were the last to farm at Erin Vale.
1989 David Gant bought the farm in 1989, the Erin Vale farmhouse was sold separately to Peter Baragwanath from the then Pietersburg in the northern Transvaal. It was to be his first venture into the hospitality industry.
1990 Municipal permission was granted for the development of the golf estate
1994 The Erinvale Estate Hotel was established in November 1994.