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News > Archives & History > The Robert Gray Consecration Memorial in Cape Town

The Robert Gray Consecration Memorial in Cape Town

The monument to commemorate Bishop Gray's consecration, is at the start of St George's Mall next to the Taj Hotel.
Robert Gray became the First Bishop of Cape Town.  He is the Founder of Bishops.
Robert Gray became the First Bishop of Cape Town. He is the Founder of Bishops.
The Bishops Robert Gray Consecration Memorial, Cape Town - from the Bishops Archives

Of immense significance to the city of Cape Town is the Robert Gray Monument, which takes pride of place at the north end of St George's Mall opposite St George's Cathedral. 

Inscribed on the monument are the following words: “Erected by Public subscription in memory of Robert Gray D. D. First Bishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan Consecrated on St Peter’s Day 1847.  Deceased September 1st 1872”.

Photograph: The Memorial to commemorate Robert Gray's Consecration as a Bishop.

The monument once stood in the cathedral grounds and the plinth is still there to be seen, but now the statue itself has been moved across to Wale Street, where it’s a lot more accessible to the tourist and visitor.

Standing seven metres high, it is in polished pink granite, with an Ionic column surmounted by a ball and metal cross set on a Portland stone pedestal with corner urns and granite and sandstone pillars, and is now set on a new plinth, undoubtedly Cape granite.

The work is that of architect William Butterfield and was completed in 1876.

Gray arrived in Cape Town in February 1848 after being consecrated as a bishop in Westminster Abbey on St Peter’s Day in 1847. Sophie Gray, his wife, is well known for her architectural designs of Anglican churches scattered throughout the Cape.

The Grays are buried in the graveyard of St Saviour’s Claremont. Sophie Gray will always be remembered as “the constant companion of Robert Gray on his travels, the untiring amanuensis and accountant, the skilful designer of churches, the brightness and stay of his home life at Bishopscourt” (words by church scholar Ernest Hermitage Day).

We are honoured in the school Museum to have exceptionall rare artifacts relating to Bishops Gray.  Below are a series of photographs that feature these artifacts.  Anyone interested in finding out more about them is welcome to contact the archivist Paul Murray [email protected] 


Above: This book belonged to Bishop Gray's Grandfather, Bishops Robert Gray.

Below: The inside cover of one of Bishop Gray's Theology books, duly inscribed. 

Below: Robert Gray's son, Rev. Charles Gray, M.A., edited the book 'Life of Robert Gray'. (Photograph Below).
It is avaiable to read at 

Below: Included in the exhibit in the Bishops Museum is the 'The Bishops Lady' by Thelma Gutsche, the life at the Cape of Sophia Gray (born Wharton Myddleton). 

At the Museum we are trying to create an awareness about the school's rich history.  Seen below are students from SGGS with Bishops students.  This was at a meeting of the Museum and rchives Society of Bishops, where we extended an invitation to them to visit.  The students from SGGS were accompanied by Mr Stephen Bornman , followed by a talk on Sophie Gray and what she meant for the community.  It was appropriately on the occasion of Women’s Day. Below is a photograph commemorating the occasion.   

Further Links:
Of Robert's Father also Robert Gray
Of Robert's Grandfather also Robert Gray
Of Sophia Wharton Myddleton

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