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ABOUT THE BATTLE OF SPIOENKOP

Sauvignon Blanc wineOver 100 years ago, on the evening of Tuesday 23 January 1900, 1 700 British troops deployed to South Africa prepared to attack their enemies on a hill in Natal known as Spionkop – the name ‘Spioenkop’, meaning ‘Spy Hill’ or 'Lookout Hill', was coined by the Dutch settlers for the commanding views it afforded of the slopes and valley below. During the days that followed, a bloody battle ensued – essentially between the might of the British Empire and a ragged group of Boer farmers – and eventually it was the British who were defeated.

The soldiers were from the Second Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, the Second Battalion of the Royal Lancaster Regiment and the First Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment. Capturing Spionkop would have meant that the British Army could relieve their countrymen who were besieged by the Boers in the town of Ladysmith and be home by Christmas. However, they hadn’t reckoned on a series of blunders by the British High Command, led by Sir Redvers Bullers, and the terrific fighting qualities of the Boers.

Reports at the end of the two-day battle stated 332 killed, 563 wounded and 163 prisoners taken, but these figures are still open to question with some claiming 340 killed and up to 1000 wounded. The Boers had beaten the mightiest army in the world and the reverberations were felt around the globe.

Read more details on the Battle of Spioenkop here.

wine tasting South Africabuy wine Western CapeTo commemorate the fallen upon their return to Britain, the surviving soldiers named the stands at various local football grounds ‘The Kop’, the most famous of these being The Kop at Anfield in Liverpool. It was at the foot of The Kop in Africa all those years ago that the soldiers from Liverpool lay frightened, and more recently The Kop at the Anfield football grounds has proved nearly as daunting for the many visiting teams who’ve suffered defeat at the hands of Liverpool FC.

Spioenkop or Spion Kop?

The name Spion Kop or Spionkop was given to this impressive hill by the Voortrekkers in 1837 as they settled along the Tugela River Valley. This was the original Voortrekker or Boer spelling and is still the English version. Spioenkop is the modern Afrikaans spelling. So, use as you wish - but we have chosen the last to reflect the fresh, new and modern approach of the Spioenkop Wine Farm.

Just as World War I and II were milestones in European history, so was the battle of Spioenkop a milestone in the history of the South African people. And gauging from the early beginnings of Spioenkop Wines under the guardianship of the Rooses, the establishment of this Elgin wine farm on a hill very similar to the one in KZN is set to become a milestone in its own right.



 

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ABOUT THE BATTLE OF SPIOENKOP

Over 100 years ago, on the evening of Tuesday 23 January 1900, 1 700 British troops deployed to South Africa prepared to attack their enemies on a hill in Natal known as Spionkop – the name ‘Spioenkop’, meaning ‘Spy Hill’ or 'Lookout Hill', was coined by the Dutch settlers for the commanding views it afforded of the slopes and valley below. During the days that followed, a bloody battle ensued... Read more

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