Monday, June 20, 2016

The Ruins of Prince William's Parish Church AKA Sheldon Church

There are so many amazing and wonderful things in life to experience and see if we but take a few moments to stop and look around.. Beauty can be found in some out of the way places. This post is about one such beautiful place. At least, it is beautiful to me, because I happen to really enjoy rambling through old churches and graveyards.

The ruins of the Prince William's Parish Church and graves is such a place. The church was built between 1745 and 1753 and was named Prince William's Parish Church but was also called Sheldon Church. As the sign indicates, the church is also called Sheldon Church. Building of the church was primarily paid for by Lt. Gov. William Bull and was sometimes referred to as Sheldon Church after Bull's plantation, which was also called Sheldon.

The church was constructed in the Greek Revival style. It was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt in 1826. The church was alleged to have been burned again in 1865 as General Sherman marched from Georgia into South Carolina during The War Between the States.

However, according to some writings about the church, it may not have been burned but, instead, gutted on the inside in order to obtain materials to reuse to rebuild some of the homes that had been burned by Sherman's army during that time.

The sign indicating the church's location might easily be missed as one travels along the narrow coastal highway near Yemassee, South Carolina. Fortunately, our son-in-law Jason had remembered seeing the sign and glimpsing the ruins from a trip down that way last summer. I am so glad that he made note of its location, because it would have been a shame to have missed seeing this lovely place.
Sign for Prince William's Parish Church AKA Sheldon Church, near Yemassee, South Carolina
You might imagine that the location of the ruins has often been the scene of weddings and as backdrops for photo shoots and so on. According to notices on the grounds of the ruins, special permission must now be obtained for the location to be used for those types of functions.

The ruins and graves are located among many of the beautiful moss covered oak trees for which our southern coastal regions are known.
Ruins of Prince William's Parish Church near Yemassee, South Carolina

Ruins of Prince William's Parish Church near Yemassee, South Carolina

Moss Covered Trees at Ruins of Prince William's Parish Church

The photo below was taken at the rear of the church's ruins. You can see the grave and monument for Lt. Gov. William Bull through the arched opening.

Lt. Gov. William Bull's  Grave Inside the Ruins of Prince William's Parrish Church
One of the reasons I enjoy walking through old graveyards like this one is the stories that sometimes go along with the grave markings. This lone little marker at the grave of a child less than five years old made me feel sad. Sitting there, all alone inside a large plat,it left me wondering what happened to the parents and other family members. Why were they not buried here with this little fellow? What happened that S.P. and Eva would have left little Collis.
Lone Grave Marker of a Little Boy at Prince William's Church

Perhaps, they passed away and are buried in this plat but without any markers. Maybe there was no one left to provide them with headstones at their burial sites. Who knows? 

This appears to be a mosoleum with a grave at its foot.
Graves at Prince William's Church
 There are a good many other crumbling graves scattered about the church cemetary, including the grave of a soldier who died in The War Between the States. There was one much more recent, modern and pristine burial site with Azalea bushes planted all around it. I took pictures of some of the others graves but will focus the rest of this post, however, on the church ruins and grounds.
Prince William's Parish Church Ruins, South Carolina

Prince Willliam's Parish Church Ruins, South Carolina

Prince William's Parish Church Ruins, S.C.

Prince William's Parish Church Ruins, S.C.

Pri nce William's Parish Church Ruins, S.C.
Near the entrance gate to the church is this wonderful old hand water pump. Our grand girls were drawn to this thing like a magnet.
Very Old Working Hand Water Pump  at Prince William's Parish Church, S.C.

Old Working Hand Water Pump at Prince William's Parish Church, S.C.
When we left this beautiful place, I felt as if I had seen and touched a marvelous piece of history and visited a place of relevance in time. It was an enriching experience and I am so glad that we took the time to stop here to see this special place from days gone by. It was time well spent!

Speaking of time, I am grateful for the time you have spent here reading about Prince William's Parish Church. Thank you so very much!

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