Old Sheldon Church, Then and Now

Still standing proud for 276 years.

The left image is from the Library of Congress from the 1940s. The image on the right shows the condition of the ruins today. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Formerly known as Prince William Parrish Church, Old Sheldon Church Ruins sit discreetly off Highway 17. This church is known to be the first attempt in America to create a Greek Temple style of architecture. The church was built sometime between 1745-1753. The church interior was completed, and the first services were held in 1757. The gable roof, pediment, windows, and interior have long been devastated, but the remaining brick shell and columns stand the test of time.

These architectural renderings give us a glimpse of what the original structure looked like. The three-and-a-half-foot thick brick walls are laid in a Flemish bond. All columns and walls have remained intact for 276 years.  The church was built along a row of seven Tuscan columns with tall, arched windows. A Palladian window was placed above the alter and flanked by arched windows. The front façade held a massive portico, topped by a triangular pediment complete with bull’s eye window and a cornice with dentil molding. The entranceway was topped with a tall fanlight and two arched windows are positioned on either side.

This grand chapel of ease stood as a symbol of the wealth that was being accumulated around the area. After completion it was thought of as the finest country church in America. This church is the first example of a temple-form neoclassical building in America. It became a prototype of Greek revival architecture that became characteristic throughout the antebellum south.

The church was a political and military center for the area during the Revolutionary War. Governor William Bull was a founding member here and his plantation bordered the church grounds. The Bull family vault in the church yard was used to conceal arms and ammunition. Continental troops drilled on the church grounds. The church was burned by General Augustine Prevost’s British troops in May 1779. The church was rebuilt from the remaining walls in 1825.

Traditionally, it was thought that the church was burned again during Sherman’s March to the Sea at the end of the Civil War. While the church was again destroyed, a letter dated February 3, 1866 by Milton Leverett states, “Sheldon Church not burnt. Just torn up in the inside but can be repaired.” It is now thought that the church was gutted by locals who were in search of building materials to rebuild their own war-devastated homes. (This information comes from the Leverett Letters, which was published by the University of South Carolina Press.) After this destruction, the church was abandoned and left to ruin.

Images show the interior view from the alter looking toward the front door, the view from the road and the interior view from the front entrance toward the alter. William Bull’s grave can be seen directly in front of the alter. Images by Carmen Pinckney.

The building was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on October 22, 1970. The site is owned and maintained by the Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort. The ruins are a beautiful feature set amongst ancient live oaks, dripping in Spanish moss, and old graves of members past. Governor William Bull is buried here in a place of honor in front of the interior alter. Today the ruins are surrounded by fencing to protect the historic site. While visiting, please respect the property as hallowed ground. The Sheldon Church Ruins are located on Old Sheldon Church Road between Yemassee and Beaufort, just off Highway 17.

Information found on the National Register of Historic Places, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History, the Leverett Letters, and Historic Resources of the Lowcountry.

For more information on attractions in the South Carolina Lowcountry, visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

simplysoutherncottage keeps us in awe with each her projects. This bed swing refresh is one of our favorites!
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Beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry
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The shore gently recedes beneath the stunning Pawleys Island Pier. The unique island town, located about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach and 70 miles north of Charleston, exudes laid-back, beachy vibes. Locals have definitely adopted an island state of mind and encourage visitors to as well. When you go, make sure to relax on the beach, explore the famous sand dunes, or fish in one of the many adjacent creeks.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: We guarantee that you’re going to want to spend a whole day here. We recommend getting to the beach at around 10am.🗓️ Best time of the year: Pawleys Island has the best weather during the spring and early summer months.🏖️ Things to do while there: Pawleys Island Nature Park, Pawleys Island Chapel, Hopsewee Plantation.🐠 Things to visit in the area: Brookgreen Gardens (brookgreen_gardens), take a walking ghost tour, Myrtle Beach (mymyrtlebeach), Harborwalk Marina, South Carolina Maritime Museum (southcarolinamaritimemuseum).🏨 Where to stay: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn (oceanfrontlitchfieldinn), Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort (litchfieldbeachandgolf), Sea View Inn (seaviewinn), 620 Prince (620prince).Photo by qcphotographer
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Headed down the road....Edisto Island.  #edisto #sclowcountry #trees #endofday  #beauty #islandsofsc
Spanish moss drapes the live oak trees that are ubiquitous to the Edisto Island area. Did you know that Edisto gets its name from the native Edistow people? The Edistow Native Americans were a sub tribe of the Cusabo indians, a group of Native Americans who lived along the Atlantic coast in South Carolina.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: Stop by mid-morning. That way you can explore the island, grab lunch, and stay for the amazing sunset if you choose.🏖️ Things to do while there: Edisto Environmental Learning Center, Boneyard Beach, Scott Creek Inlet, Big Bay Creek, SeaCow Eatery.☀️ Things to visit in the area: Jungle Road Park, Bay Creek Park, Otter Islands, Spanish Mount Point.📆 Best time of the year to visit: For warmer weather come anywhere from March-August.🏨 Where to stay: Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort (frippislandrsrt), Seabrook Island Club (seabrook_sc), The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (kiawahresort), Charleston Kiawah Island/Andell Inn (andellinn).Photo by qcphotographer
Discover at your own leisure at the coastaldiscoverymuseum 🌳  From century-old buildings with storied pasts, to wooden boardwalks that stretch into the Jarvis Creek salt marsh, there's always something to explore!
Reposted from coastaldiscoverymuseum Hilton Head Island has the second highest tidal range on the East Coast, second only to Canada’s Bay of Fundy. The average tidal range here is 7-9 feet between high and low tides.The Salt Marsh is one of our area’s most prominent features, not to mention an essential resource. Most coastal creatures depend partially or even fully on the Salt Marsh for survival as it serves as a nursery, as well as a water filter vital for the functioning of the entire coastal ecosystem.Explore the Lowcountry up close with a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum and head out into the marsh via the Osprey Outlook floating dock on a self-guided tour or register for the weekly Salt Marsh Discovery program to learn from an expert how and why this particular environment is so important. (843) 689-6767 ext. 223 or coastaldiscovery.org.
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A visitor takes a leisurely stroke under a canopy of live oaks draped with Spanish moss in the Palmetto Bluff (palmettobluff) neighborhood of Bluffton, South Carolina. Palmetto Bluff is a picturesque community that sits in the heart of Lowcountry. Nestled along the May River, it’s abundant with beautiful walking trails, historic sites, and stunning views.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: There is no wrong time to visit Palmetto Bluff. However, we highly recommend sticking around for one of their spectacular sunsets.🛶 Things to do while there: Stop by Cole’s for some regionally inspired Southern fare, paddle board, kayak, or canoe along the May River, go saltwater fishing, take a tour at Bluffton Jack's Old Town Tours.🌊 Things to visit in the area: Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, Old Town Bluffton, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, May River Sandbar, Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center (heywardhouse).📆 Best time of the year to visit: For the best weather, we recommend visiting between March and May or from September to November.🏨 Where to stay: The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort (montagepalmettobluff) is the only resort in Palmetto Bluff. However, there are plenty of places to stay in the surrounding areas including: Old Town Bluffton Inn (oldtownblufftoninn), The Inn & Club at Harbour Town (theinnandclubatharbourtown), Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (sonestahhi).Photo by jpgriceoz
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The seed has been planted…going to be a long couple of weeks….#scducks #ducks #duckhunting #moistsoil #moistsoilmanagement #redriderbbgun #sclowcountry #savannah #beaufort #charlestonsc #goldenisles #ducksunlimited
It’s my last week in the Lowcountry. I will be incredibly happy to be back home, but I will sure miss these views. ☀️🌴[Image Description: a photo of a sun setting over the Lowcountry wetlands. The cloud in the sky are reflected on the water below.]
I'm wringing this chamois for all its worth. The diversity of subjects at this place is endless.#ilfordfp4 #lowcountryphotographer #southernconversations #sclowcountry #lowcountryscenes #saltmarsh #bnwmood #mediumformatfilm #silvervisionfilm
Need a project this weekend? Add a splash of color and touch of gardening to your porch decor. Don’t have a green thumb? Not to worry.⠀
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Riding into the weekend like...Isn't this live oak tree tunnel beautiful? Live oak, draped in Spanish moss, is emblematic of South Carolina and many of the Southern states. We love these iconic trees, not only for their beauty, but their history as well. The average lifespan of a live oak is 300 years!Photo by qcphotographer
The tickets for our Decoration Day Gullah Campfire Supper with Stories and Songs are available now through our website, link in bio.We are Hipcamp hosts.  You can attend the event and stay over, extra spaces will be made available.  Contact us for more information.  Our Hipcamp listing name is Friendly Fowl Farm.This event will celebrate the United States Colored Troops in the Beaufort area and the establishment of the Grand Army Union Post and the Hall, it’s members and their mission.The guest speaker for this year is Rev. Dr. Elijah Washington, the current Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic whose historic hall is located at 706 Newcastle Street, Beaufort.Built in 1896, this meeting hall for the post is believed to be the only surviving building in South Carolina associated with the Grand Army of the Republic. The post hosted annual Decoration Day services at Beaufort National Cemetery and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War continue that tradition. It is included in the Beaufort Historic District.
If you have period clothing please join your hosts amjones42 Tony and orbgtennis Belinda and dress the part.  Re-enactors are welcome.#decorationday #memorialday #unitedstatescoloredtroops #ushistory #history #travelandleisure #farmtotable #camping #unionarmy #uscoloredinfantry #historymakers #travelandlearn #gullah #gullahgeechee #blackhistory #grandarmyoftherepublic #grandarmyoftherepublic #robertsmalls #civilwarhistory #civilwarreenactment #sclowcountry #discoversc #campinglife #explore #getoutside #hipcamp #historicbeaufort
The magic of the season has begun in our SC Lowcountry. Come see!#thatsmylowcountry #naturallyamazing #sclowcountry #beaufortcountysc #colletoncountysc #hamptoncountysc #jaspercountysc #tistheseason #holidayseason
“Beaufort River Sunset”
Digital Drawing in Adobe Illustrator
20 x 20”
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The South Carolina Lowcountry Guidebook is filled with many things to see and do in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. Please fill out the information and we will send you a FREE GUIDE BOOK.


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