My husband’s family have been farming in the district of Marseilles for four generations since about 1870. The original family homestead was across the valley from where we now live. Quentin’s great grandfather Theunis de Bruijn was a a busy old chap as he fathered 19 children by two different wives… I guess that’s what they did in the days before television!
In between fathering children he was also a successful farmer and when he died each of his 19 children were given a farm of their own, including Quentin’s grandfather Theunis de Bruijn. He qualified as a doctor and never farmed full-time, but he had a farm manager and the family spent weekends on the farm in the house we currently live.
The house was built around 1908 using traditional 13 inch sandstone blocks. In the old days most of the houses in our area were built using large standstone blocks carved out of the surrounding mountains.
Quentin’s father, Theunis (Bill) de Bruyn (note curious change of spelling!) qualified as an electrical engineer and then moved to the farm full-time in 1955. He married Karine van der Spuy in 1965. They lived at Vastrap for next 45 years and had four children.
Quentin was away from the farm for many years while he attended boarding school, went to university and worked in Johannesburg for a while. He returned to the farm in 2000 when Bill was nearing retirement. He knew very little about farming, but took on one project at a time and eventually took over the whole operation. Bill and Karine moved to a house on a neighbouring farm and Quentin moved into the main homestead where we now live.