Bethulie  - Place of Worship

The name Bethulie was derived from the Hebrew name Bethulia, which means “Place of Worship” or "House of God" (Bet-El).

A Bit of History

In 1828 a Mission Station was established by the London Missionary Society for the local people, the San (Bushmen), It was originally known as Groot Moordenaars Poort (Murderers Pass) after a very viscous clash between the San(Bushmen), Sotho and Griqua tribes.

In 1832 the missionary Jean Pierre Pellissier, whose home is one of the oldest pioneer buildings north of the Orange River replaced the London missionaries. It now houses a historical museum displaying items of the past and information on the life and trial of Jean Pellissier and Chief Lephoi and his people.
Originaly it was named T'Kout"Koo (Place in the ravine) by the San (Bushmen).
In 1827 it was renamed Moordenaarspoort.
In 1828 it was known as Bushman School.

In 1833 Bethulie was known as Caledon Mission Station (after the nearby Caledon River). This name was in conflict with a Western Cape town bearing the same name. Then in 1833 a French Missionary Society, the "Paris Missionary Society" took over control of the area and renamed the mission station Bethulua, meaning "Place of Worship”.

In 1834 it was renamed - Verheullpolis
In 1835 it was renamed Bethulie.

In 1863 the town was established and renamed - Heidelberg.

In 1872 the town was again renamed to Bethulie after the original mission station.

Our town must hold the record for having its name changed more than any other town in South Africa, if not the entire world.

The original mission building is still located in Bethulie. It is one of the oldest remaining dwellings built by European settlers. It was built by the Rev. Jean-Pierre Pellissier, the first French missionary to be stationed here, and is currently home to the Pellissier House Museum

During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) the third largest concentration camp erected by the British was also situated in Bethulie.