Richmond House History

Richmond House, the magnificent 7-acre viewsite property overlooking the Kowie River mouth and East Beach, has a fascinating 175-year-old history.

 The Honourable William Cock

The Honourable William Cock

The Hon William Cock, 1820 Cornish Settler and entrepreneur, decided to convert the Kowie Estuary into a port to help bring prosperity to the E Frontier. He built his home on the Kowie west bank hill in 1840, named it Richmond House and added crenellations to the facade. It soon became known as Cock's Castle. Nineteenth century colonialism, settlement and military conflict – all pivotal in the story of our nation – were played out in this part of the E Cape, and William Cock, Richmond House and Port Kowie were all ‘witnesses’ to it.

In later decades the Pote family, the Ohlsson brewers and then Tom Kelly each owned and altered the Castle, in turn.

By 1999 Richmond House was deteriorating and changed hands for the last time. Following protracted negotiations with heritage authorities a permit was finally granted allowing demolition. Everything that could be salvaged from the Castle has been displayed in a specially-renovated Castle replica, the RH Museum and Music Room, decorated in Edwardian style, where tours and soirees are hosted.

The Museum

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RH Museum is open to the public, by arrangement. It is a renovated 1940s structure which houses, inter alia, 14 fascinating illustrated panels of history, The Castle's original front door, fireplaces, flagstaff, light fittings and some historic paintings are on display.

 The Castle circa 1930s

The Castle circa 1930s

 One of the famous cannons and the front of Richmond House pre 1999

One of the famous cannons and the front of Richmond House pre 1999

 Earliest known photo (pre 1876) of The Castle on the hill and Cock's Mill on the river

Earliest known photo (pre 1876) of The Castle on the hill and Cock's Mill on the river