Old Sheldon Church Ruins

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Sheldon Church Ruins
Prince William's Parish Church (Ruins), Sheldon vicinity (Beaufort County, South Carolina).jpg
Sheldon Church Ruins
Old Sheldon Church Ruins is located in South Carolina
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Old Sheldon Church Ruins is located in the United States
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
LocationBeaufort County, South Carolina, USA
Nearest cityYemassee, South Carolina
Coordinates32°37′6.7″N 80°46′49.7″W / 32.618528°N 80.780472°W / 32.618528; -80.780472Coordinates: 32°37′6.7″N 80°46′49.7″W / 32.618528°N 80.780472°W / 32.618528; -80.780472
Area4.5 acres (1.8 ha)
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.70000562[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 22, 1970

The Old Sheldon Church Ruins is a historic site located in northern Beaufort County, South Carolina, approximately 17 miles (30 km) north of Beaufort in the Sheldon area.[2][3]


Known also as the Sheldon Church or Old Sheldon Church, the building was originally known as Prince William's Parish Church. The church was built as a chapel of ease in the English Georgian style, using the Roman Tuscan or Doric order, between 1745 and 1753.

The traditional understanding is that Prince William's was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt in 1826, and then burned again in 1865 during the Civil War by the Federal Army under General William T Sherman's orders:

The official South Carolina report on the "Destruction of Churches and Church Property," after the War Between the States, described Sheldon's second burning: "All that was combustible was consumed ..., its massive walls survive the last as they did the former conflagration," Bishop Thomas wrote, "Exactly as it happened a hundred years before in 1779, when General Prevost, marching from Savannah into South Carolina burned the Church, so now in February 1865, General Sherman marching from Georgia into South Carolina, burned it a second time."[4]

However, an alternative view has more recently come to light. In a letter dated February 3, 1866,[5] Milton Leverett wrote that "Sheldon Church not burn't. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired." In this view, the inside of the church was apparently gutted to reuse materials to rebuild homes burnt by Sherman's army.


In 2012

The ruins lie among majestic oaks and scattered graves. Inside the ruins of the church lie the remains of Colonel William Bull, who "greatly assisted General Oglethorpe in establishing the physical layout of Savannah, Georgia. Bull surveyed the land in 1733 to form the basic grid pattern of the streets and squares." The ruins proved to be a popular site in the Lowcountry for photographers and wedding ceremonies in contemporary times. As of October 2015, the Old Sheldon ruins are not available to the public for hosting wedding ceremonies; however, an annual service is held the second Sunday after Easter.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ McGrath, Dollie; Mary P. Powell; Colin Brooker (August 5, 1970). "Sheldon Church Ruins" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 9 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Sheldon Church Ruins, Beaufort County (U.S. Hwy. 21, Gardens Corner vicinity)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 9 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Thomas, Charles E. (1969). "The Picturesque Ruins of Old Sheldon Church". Sandlapper: the Magazine of South Carolina. Sandlapper Press, Inc. pp. 49–50. hdl:10827/24947.
  5. ^ Taylor, Francis (2000). The Leverett Letters: Correspondence of a South Carolina Family, 1851-1868. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 403, 405. ISBN 1570033331.

External links[edit]

Inside the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, November 2015
Old Sheldon Church ruins––April, 2012