I visited Old Sheldon in March 2021. Every time I am in the area, I feel a pull to stop by this site. As soon as I step through the entry gate, I am transported back hundreds of year ago, imagining parishioners congregating in the one room church to pray or perhaps discuss current affairs. Prince William Parish was founded in 1745 in Yemassee, SC. Construction on the Roman styled church of Ease began in 1751, funded by the Bull family who owned Sheldon plantation. The acreage the church sits on was part of their land. Lt. Governor William Bull (1683-1755), the family’s patriarch was the primary contributor, he is buried on the grounds. This and other churches of ease were needed to save people from having to travel to the main church in Beaufort which is about 15 miles away.
The church was burnt in 1779 during the Revolutionary war because it was being used as a military center for the patriots. It was rebuilt 47 years later and people worshipped in it during the antebellum era up until the Civil War. Some accounts state that it was burned again during the Civil war whereas others state that it was not burned again but rather torn up by locals such that its building material could be used to rebuild their own homes after the war. Either way, the church was not restored after the Civil War.
I am posting a few photos from my first visit back in August, 2016. As you may notice, today the church is surrounded by a fence to protect it from vandalism. There is an old cemetery on the grounds as well. This site is on the National Register of Historic places.
Reference Old Sheldon Church Web Site
- Saint Helena Chapel Of Ease
- Old Sheldon Church ruins
- Fripp Island
- Hunting Island State Park
- Beaufort Waterfront
- Cypress Wetlands
- Horseback Riding at Camelot Farms