top of page

The Human connection

Glebe Cottage on Waterloo Green 1933

by Wendy Bates 


My late husband, Malcolm Bates and I married in June 1974. We rented a house in Waterloo Road, close to St John’s Church, so decided to leave our respective churches and join St John’s. Malcolm and I were related as our mothers were first cousins. We had mutual great grandparents – John Alexander and Anne Human. They lived in the long old white house near St John’s called Glebe Cottage and John was the verger there. I think he was the ‘parish clerk’ too.


He started the funeral business, later called Human & Pitt and if you look outside the little stone house next to Wynberg Methodist Church, you will see a plaque which says J.A. Human & Sons for that is where the funeral business took place. My grandfather took the business over and it then became Human & Pitt.


The Human family all attended St John’s Church and there is a long plaque on one of the sidewalls in memory of John Alexander for his 48 years of service. It is inscribed with Psalm 26 v 8

‘O Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house and the place wherein Thine honour dwelleth’.

Malcolm and I were both involved at St John’s until 1981. Sharon Lawrence remembers him being her confirmation teacher! We were both involved in the choir and wore blue robes.


We returned 30 years later in 2011. Sadly, Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer and died shortly afterwards. I have carried on attending St John’s and thank God for my spiritual leaders and family. St John’s is definitely my spiritual home and I thank God for bringing us back.

Glebe Cottage and Mr Human


The 1972 book, The Church on the Hill, St John’s Parish, Wynberg  by K.Vos, adds some interesting details to this story.


“Glebe Cottage was lent to Church of England congregation of Wynberg by the military in 1821 and became known as the School Room or the Cottage on the Green, and was only known as Glebe Cottage after it was purchased by the Church in about 1859.  Besides being one of the oldest places of Anglican worship in the Peninsula, Glebe Cottage is one of the oldest, if not the oldest building in Wynberg, and has played not only an important part in the Church life of Wynberg but in its social and education life. Schools have started here. The first Parish Vestry was held in Glebe Cottage in 1849. For many years the girls of the parish assembled at Glebe Cottage before confirmation to have their veils correctly put on and then in pairs they marched to St John’s. …


Human’s Funeral Parlour

"When Mr J. Human was appointed verger at St John’s, Wynberg, about 1874, he was allowed to live in the part of Glebe Cottage nearest Wynberg not used by the Infant School.  By trade Mr Human was an undertaker and during the week he carried on his business in a building behind the Cottage. As his sons grew up they assisted their father and when he retired the Human Brothers carried on their father’s business.


“In 1921 when the Council decided to close the Infant School, the Human Brothers applied for permission to rent the portion vacated by the Infant School to use as a Funeral Parlour. To this the Council agreed, the rent to be £2.10.0 per month during the life time of their father and £5.0.0 per month after his death. They were also responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the property.


“When the people living around the Green heard of this, they were greatly concerned and some raised objections as they felt the road in front of Glebe Cottage was far too narrow for the hearse, drawn by fine black horses, and the following carriages, to wait in during the time a service was being held in the Parlour. However, when satisfactory arrangements were made, assuring everyone that no inconvenience would be caused and the horses would not shy at passing traffic, no further objections were made and Human Brothers continued their work at Glebe Cottage until 1933 when they moved to large premises in Church Street.


l to r: John Alexander & Anne Human; Aubrey Human in 1935 with his precious car on a Sunday; Wedding of Malcolm's aunt c 1930 with Wendy's mother as a child in foreground.


bottom of page