RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
TitleDunbrody community
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionEarly letters from the mission at Dunbrody (includes a few letters from Jesuits at Keilands/ Stutterheim, a Jesuit mission in the years 1886 to 1908); reports and correspondence on the closure of Dunbrody, 1933-1934; article on the history of the mission.
Admin_HistoryDunbrody was a mission station situated on the Sundays River, north of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, run by the Society of Jesus between 1882 and 1934.

Bishop Ricards, Bishop of the Eastern Vicariate, originally purchased the property at Dunbrody to establish a Trappist monastery. When the Trappists abandoned Dunbrody for Marianhill in 1882, Fr Alfred Weld SJ (first Superior of the Zambesi Mission) purchased the property from the Bishop. Dunbrody was established with the intention of becoming a house of formation in support of the seminary at St Aidan's College. It was also hoped that a farm could be established at Dunbrody to financially support the Zambesi Mission.

The community at Dunbrody grew quickly in the 1880s with scholastics, novices and juniors. A boys' and girls' school were also established. However, by 1888 the decision was taken to send the scholastics to Europe to continue their training. The mission was in heavy debt by this point. The farm had not proved successful and conditions in the remote outpost were very difficult. Following the closure of the house of formation, Dunbrody reverted to the status of a mission station.

The fertile Sundays River valley attracted land speculators in the early twentieth century. The building of a weir on the river led the mission into a lengthy legal dispute over water rights. Fr Edward Buckland SJ was appointed to oversee the sale of Dunbrody in the 1920s. The sale was delayed by an unsuccessful lawsuit brought by Fr Buckland against the Irrigation Board which left the mission in even greater debt. Dunbrody was eventually sold in 1934 for a paltry sum.

The area has now been given over to commercial citrus farming.
Related Material - Personal papers of Fr Edward Buckland SJ, superior at Dunbrody in the 1920s. See DN/4 for correspondence with Fr Lallemand, Fr Bert and other Jesuits on Dunbrody. See DN/2 for notes on the floods at Dunbrody Mission in c 1928.
- Personal papers of Fr Henry Schomberg Kerr SJ, superior of the Zambesi Mission. See DO/3 for details of a visit to Dunbrody in 1892.
- Zambesi Mission Papers, 1874-1893. Ref: MSB/37 [calendaring in progress]
- Papers of Br David McGarry SJ. See SJ/9/2/3/3 and 9/2/3/2 for information on Dunbrody graveyard.
- Fr Jack Gillick SJ, 'Dunbrody revisited' in Letters & Notices Vol. 89 (1989), pp. 365-374.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.

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