The Charming Story of Firgrove Chapel
Once Shirley and Mike Morgan made the decision to build a church on their property, the project became a community effort to which the entire Alverstone contributed. The design was based on a Celtic church Mike attended as a child in Ireland.
Shirley describes the incredible community interest shown by the community in the idea of the church as a groundswell and something Alverstone seemed to need.
Building materials like river boulders, timber and roof slate, were all sourced from the area, with Mike supervising every step of the way. Two treasured items carry special significance. “There’s an old tradition in Ireland, that if the clapper falls out of a bell, the person who returns it owns the bell. We were at the Salmons who, during the course of the evening, said, “We have a bell. Been here for 23 years. It would be nice in your chapel”. And nothing further was said. I had a look, gave the clapper a pull…and the rest is history.
The other item was an Irush tub trap, one of many different carts owned by Sally McCall. Mike had first seen it when he moved to the area and had asked her for first option if she ever thought of selling it.
Dewald Botha – neighbour and friend – created the stained glass windows and his wife, Bettie, helped with indigenous flower designs for the windows. The project grew as somebody asked if they could commemorate a window. Word spread and soon all 15 windows were sponsored. Each person contributed a little verse, poem or significant wording to be engraved on their window.
The inaugural ‘service’ was a carol service on the evening of 22 December 2000.
Today, Firgrove is the perfect choice for a secluded, country wedding in the picturesque setting of the Thousand Hills.