Beaufort County Churches
PRINCE WILLIAMS PARISH CHURCH
(OLD SHELDON CHURCH)
The red-brick ruins of Sheldon Church, are off U.S. 17 on Old Sheldon Church Road, was originally Prince William's Parish Church. The Anglican church was built on land donated by William Bull beginning in 1745, finished around 1755. Bull was buried there in 1755. The original was adorned with equestrian statue of Prince William under a porch supported by the four free-standing Doric columns, that still exist. The church was burned by the British 1779. c1825, the church was partially restored. The church was burned a second time in 1865 by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as he attempted to burn the very ground in South Carolina. St. Helena's Episcopal Church now owns the ruins, conducting occasional weddings on the premises.
References for further reading:
1. Sheldon Church a journey back in time, BY LORI YOUNT, The Beaufort Gazette, Published Monday, June 12, 2006
2. History of Old Sheldon Church by Martha Bray Carson
3. "Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture," by Suzanne Cameron Linder
|This church is located between the towns of Yemassee and Beaufort on
the Old Sheldon Church Road.
Prince Williams Parish Church (Sheldon) was built between 1745 and 1755 on land donated by Edmund Bellinger. The name Sheldon was used to honor the Bull Family who had a plantation nearby and thier ancestral home in Warwickshire, England were called Sheldon Hall.
Arms and ammunition were hidden in the Bull family vault during the American Revolution, and Continental troops drilled on the church grounds. Sheldon Church was burned by Genereal Augustine Prevost's British troops in May 1779.
The church was rebuilt in 1826 and was given the name of Sheldon Church of Prince William's Parish. Shermans 15th corps under General John Logan burned Sheldon Church on Jan. 14, 1865. This was considered part of Sherman's "march from the sea" as he crossed South Carolina from Savannah..
The church was never rebuilt after Sherman burned it, but the columns of the church still remain erect today to remind us of what our treasured historical places had to endure during this crossing of the state by Union troops at the close of the war. The graveyard is reached from the front gate by going to the right and around the back of the church. Some graves remain covered in vines and moss. The Bull Family had vaults above the ground, which due to the nature of the area where this church is located, vandals did their best to open the vaults. The bodies of this family were removed and buried elsewhere, but the vaults remain today as a reminder also of the people who helped create such a beautiful church. The church is surrounded by iron gates, but open to the public at all times of the day and week.
Many people have their weddings at this church site. It is not unusual to ride past and see a wedding taking place. The church is located down a road that is arched over with very old trees, surrounding both sides of the road which gives it the look of an arch of leaves along in front of the church as if planned that way.
A service is held once a year at the church.
Copyright ©2004 Yvonne Deloach, all rights reserved. Edited by FOC 2006.
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