The Little Church is at the top of Van Reenen’s Pass, on the road from from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng. It is one of the smallest churches in the world and is also the only privately owned Roman Catholic Church.
The Church was built by Maynard Mathews, the father of a young man named Llandaff Mathews. Llandaff died on the 19th March 1925, while trying to save the lives of miners at the Burnside Colliery. When his son died, Maynard Mathews, who was a Roman Catholic wanted to place a plaque in his Llandaff’s memory in the Roman Catholic Church in Ladysmith. His request was refused so he built the Little Church on his land, with the sole intention of placing a memorial plaque in honour of his brave son.
Mr Mathews built his Church to seat 8 which represents the number of lives his son saved. The Church has all the vestments of one of the wings of the Cardiff Cathedral in Wales. The Church is fully consecrated and regular services are still held there.
In 1960 the Little Church was declared a National Monument.
There are stunning views from the Churchyard and I would have loved to stay longer but we were on a road trip and my husband was anxious to carry on with our journey. I did, however, manage to spend some time wandering amongst the graves. The tombstones and plaques make interesting reading and, in some cases, are quite poetic.
There is also a charming tearoom and tea garden, which is well worth a visit. They have delicious homemade goodies as well as pre-loved treasures for sale.
It’s the perfect traveller’s stop on a long journey. We left feeling refreshed and happy to have experienced the history and beauty of the Little Church.