Arms of the Cathedral of St Michael and St George Anglican Compass Rose

Cathedral of St Michael and St George


1812: 14 August, Graham's Town established.

1824: Building started on St George's Church.

1830: St George's building opened for use.

1834: Refuge for women and children in Frontier War.

1850: 21 September, St George's consecrated by the first bishop of Cape Town, Robert Gray.

1853: 30 November, St Andrew's Day. John Armstrong consecrated as first bishop of Graham's Town in Lambeth Parish Church. He started missionary work and founded St Andrew's College in 1855 whose dedication commemorates the date of his consecration.

1860: 9 August, Foundation stone of Alfred Tower laid by Queen Victoria's fourth child and second son, Prince Alfred. However, owing to subsequent complications, this was not built.

1871: 30 November, St Andrew's Day. Nathaniel James Merriman was consecrated as third Bishop of Grahamstown in St George's Cathedral.

(His son, John X Merriman later became a prime minister of the Cape Colony).

A period of conflict followed during which Dean Frederick Henry Williams excluded from the cathedral as third Bishop he had helped elect. The reasons were, amongst other things, legalistic and personal. In legal actions reaching beyond the Supreme Court of the Cape Colony to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, the Dean was supported by the law in his possession of St George's.

1874: The original tower found to be in danger and Dean Williams collected funds for new Public Clock tower.

1879: Tower and spire, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, completed. The clock was owned and maintained by the municipality, the clock was returned to the care of the Cathedral by the Makana Municipality in 2011.

1883: In November, the fourth bishop, Allan Becher Webb, set up his throne in an iron building, formerly a skating rink, on the site of the present Post Office and called it St Michael's Pro-Cathedral.

1893: 1 November. All Saint's Day. The chancel was consecrated by Bishop Webb and dedicated to both St George and St Michael to mark the healing of the breach in the diocese.

1912: 6 August. The new nave was dedicated just eight days short of the centenary of the establishment of Grahamstown. Both nave and chancel were designed by Mr J O Scott.

1952: Lady Chapel completed.