Please note that the Old Sheldon Church Ruins are located on private property. The property is owned and managed by St. Helena’s Church in Beaufort.
Sheldon Church, formerly known as the Prince William Parish Church, has a tumultuous and eventful history. From its first service in 1757 to its present peaceful setting, the church has followed the travails of our nation’s history. It is one, if not the, first churches built in temple form in the United States.
Originally organized and funded in the 1740s and 1750s by William Bull, whose Newberry Plantation bordered the church grounds, the church was named Sheldon in honor of the Bull family’s ancestral home in England. The church was set on fire in 1779 by British troops led by General Augustine Prevost during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt from the remaining walls between 1825 and 1826.
Tradition states that on January 14, 1865, near the end of the Civil War, General Sherman’s troops burned the church a second time as part of his “March to the Sea” campaign. While the walls still refused to fall, the church was not repaired again. However, another possible fate has come to light. In a letter dated February 3, 1866, after the end of the war, Milton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.”
The inside of Sheldon Church was apparently gutted by whites and blacks who needed the materials to rebuild their homes burned by Sherman’s army. This information comes from The Leverett Letters, published by the University of South Carolina Press, and can be found on pages 403 and 405. Please note that the National Register’s description, quoted below, supports the contested theory that the church was burned by General Sherman’s troops.
A tablet located at the Old Sheldon Church reads: “Church of Prince William’s Parish, known as Sheldon built between 1745-1755. Burned by the British Army 1779. Rebuilt 1826. Burned by the Federal Army 1865. Tablet placed by Columbia Committee South Carolina Society Colonial Dames of America 1937.”
The painting below is a rendering done by artist John Wenrich. Achieved by studying the existing walls and entablature, the rendering is an idea of what the church would have looked like before it fell to ruin. The image was found in the book, Prince William’s Parish and Plantations by John Reynard Todd, published by Garrett and Massie in 1935.
Prince William’s Parish and Plantations by John Reynard Todd, 1935
Sheldon’s ruins are listed in the National Register:
(Prince William’s Parish Church) Sheldon Church is said to be the first conscious attempt in America to imitate a Greek temple. Built between 1745-1753, the ruins of the church still retain their classic simplicity. Surrounded by moss-draped live oaks, the original three-and-one-half foot thick colonnaded walls of Flemish bond and the four all-header bond portico columns remain, attesting to the solid construction and master craftsmanship which enabled it to withstand two conflagrations and over two hundred fifty years of existence. Complete by 1753, Sheldon Church was built along a row of seven Tuscan columns (six engaged, one outstanding).
The western façade had an elegant portico, crowned by a triangular pediment with bulls-eye window and cornice with dentils. The large front doorway had a fanlight above and two round-headed windows, symmetrically spaced, on either side. On the north, five bays between the engaged columns were filled with a single tier of tall, round-headed windows; the other bay was left open for a portico. At the eastern end, above the alter, was a Palladian window, with a round-headed window to each side. Sheldon Church was burned by General Augustine Prevost’s British troops in May 1779. General Sherman’s 15th Corps under General John Logan burned Sheldon Church on January 14, 1865 and it was never rebuilt. Marble sarcophagi in the churchyard bear the names of South Carolina leaders.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Getting Married
The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort manages Old Sheldon Church and the ruins at the old Chapel of Ease on St. Helena’s. Couples wishing to marry at the sites must be members of the Parish.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Directions
Please note that the ruins rest on private property. The owner, St. Helena’s Church in Beaufort, asks us to share these guidelines for visiting: No climbing on the ruins or grave markers, no touching of the ruins, no littering or defacing the ruins or surrounding property, and respecting the authority of preservationists and St. Helena’s Church members who are charged with maintaining the property.
Old Sheldon Church is located on Old Sheldon Church Road between Gardens Corner and Yemassee. Coming from Beaufort on US 21 North, as you approach the intersection of US 17 at Gardens Corner, bear left, continue through the stop sign and go about 1/4 mile. Turn right onto Sheldon Church Road, which is directly across from Bull Point Plantation. Go about two miles and you’ll see the ruins on the right side of the road.
More Pictures of the Sheldon Church Ruins
Reflections on the Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Contributor Susan Klavohn Bryant shares about her photo, seen below: “We visited the Old Sheldon Church ruins on a cold rainy day which made the site seem even more eerie than usual. The gothic architecture, gnarled oaks, Spanish moss, and crumbling gravestones always remind me of a spooky movie set, but it’s a beautiful setting.”
Sara Dean, the photographer who contributed the picture below, says that Old Sheldon Church Ruins is one of her favorite spots. She points out an interesting detail seen on the interior wall: “To me and others, it is like a face on that wall that is always watching. I walk around down there and have pictures from all angles, and it is like those eyes follow where ever I walk. It is cool and eerie at the same time.”
What do you think?
Howard Orsburn says
We visited the church in October ’18 and met an African vocal group (who were on tour in the US) while we were at the site. They sang for us impromptu inside the ruins and it was a spiritual highlight of my life!
Patricia Chumley says
One of the most beautiful and serene places I have ever seen, so much that I was inspired to paint it and take it home with me. It breaks my heart to hear vandalism has nessictated erection of a fence.
Is history being rewritten? Since when was Old Sheldon Church now burnt for the second time during the War Between the States?
SC Picture Project says
Amanda, we clearly state that theory is contested. Please re-read our article.
Melissa Nichols says
I would like to go take engagement photos at the ruins. Do I have to get approval or can I just go there anytime?
Dawn Rumford says
We visited this church on our vacation last week. There was a grave for Elica Carey Duncan and Baby Duncan. My maiden name was Duncan. I’ve been trying to look them up.
Iva Jean Tennant says
Hi, I want to stop by and view the ruins on March 2nd. Is there any time when the fence is open to view these amazing ruins? I am so very sad to hear that there has been vandalism. These photos are gorgeous.
I think this church is gorgeous! I would love to get married here. Can I be sent more information?
SC Picture Project says
Hi Allie, we have a section on weddings above. Please review to find your answers. Thanks and congratulations on your engagement!
Lynn Gibson says
I really enjoyed going to see the church and taking pictures and reading all about the church. I want too thank you for letting people see the church. I want to bring my family too see it now.
Aquanette Wilson says
Who built the church? I would love to know. Please and thank you.
J Johnson says
I heard rumors that this place now has fences around it and the visitors would not able to walk through this building. Is it true?
SC Picture Project says
Yes, it is true. The building had suffered vandalism and issues with the ruins becoming more vulnerable to visitors. The fence was placed as a form as preservation.
Are we allowed to go there to take pictures at all? I own a photography business and I would love to do some photo shoots here. I’d be willing to sign waivers and everything and have my clients sign them as well
SC Picture Project says
The site is still open to the public though there is now a fence around the ruins for protection, nobody is allowed around the fence at this time.
May I get permission to photograph the church at night and who would I contact to get permission?
SC Picture Project says
Hello, you would have to reach out to the church directly, their phone number is (843)-522-1712, hope this helps!
Question regarding Sheldon Church ruins. What is the brick structure inside the church at the far end from the front door?
SC Picture Project says
William Bull is buried underneath where the pulpit would have been, which is where that brick marker/structure is that you see in photographs.
Old Sheldon Church is a wonderfully evocative and spiritual place. My late husband and I used to escape the Canadian winter at Harbor Island and attend services at St. Helena’s. The annual house tour was always a highlight of our stay and a visit to Old Sheldon Church was a must for any of our visitors. Fascinating that it still has a story to tell and new information has been discovered.
Nothing on this site or any site I can find says anything about hours of operation. What time are we allowed to enter the property?
SC Picture Project says
You’re able to enter the property from sunrise to sunset, daylight hours.
Is photography allowed at the site? I have a high school senior who may be interested in taking pictures there.
SC Picture Project says
Yes, it is! The ruins make a beautiful backdrop. The caretakers just ask that no one climbs or sits on them.
Joie Buell says
Is William Bull buried on the church property?
Joie Buell says
Would love to know more about the history of William Bull. My last name was Bull at one time, and I know my ancestors were from England – first settled in NJ, then migrated to Bulls Gap, TN. Some went to Kentucky, some to Pennsylvania. Any info would be a help. Thank you!
Urban Corso says
Very informative page. We’re planning a day trip to Beaufort and saw this as a site to see. The information and pictures on this page were very helpful in learning about the ruins prior to visiting. Thank you.
SC Picture Project says
We are so glad to hear that and we hope you have the best time in Beaufort – it is a gem!
Fred Jacob Gray, Jr. says
I have an oil painting of the church ruins that I painted myself, and the painting is in my house. Anyone can use this e-picture. It is 24″ X 30″ oil on canvas. Here is a link
Fred Gray Hampton SC 803 943 3186
SC Picture Project says
What a beautiful painting, you have such talent and this is extremely kind of you, thank you so much!
Hello, I’m a wedding photographer from Minnesota and I have a client interested in eloping Halloween night for a simple wedding ceremony and we are wondering if the Old Sheldon Church Ruins is available. I saw that you had to be a member of the Parish to use the Church of Ease, but wasn’t sure if that applied to the Old Sheldon as well. Thanks!
Hello, yes unfortunately you do have to be a member of the parish to wed at either of the sites.
Point South KOA says
Because of Diocese issues, Old Sheldon has suspended all weddings.
gale brice says
Have been there many times as a child and then as an adult. Last time I was there was 10 years ago and could not figure out what or where is was to find it again. So glad this site is up, thank you. It is beautiful.
holly shurtleff says
Loved the site, want to attend the annual service Easter weekend.
Orville Edwards says
Are there any pictures or renderings of what the church looked like before it was burned?
There are! We actually are going to add one here as soon as our website finishes changing servers. The photo is a rendering found in the book Prince William’s Parish and Plantations from the 1930s, a very rare volume.
carol harbor says
If I wanted to get prints of these photos on this website, who do I contact?
Fantastic you are interest in prints! Each photograph copyright is held by the photographer which is listed under each photo. When available, their websites, if they have one, are linked (if you click their name) under each photo. If you do not see a clickable name, let us know who you’re interested in and we will gladly reach out to the photographer and let them know you are interested in a print. Thank you!
carol harbor says
I went by one night and the ruins were lit up (very beautiful!). However, the next two times I was by there at night, it was not lit up! Who, what or when determines when the ruins are lit up at night?
Hello Carol, we recommend reaching out directly to the people who take care of the ruins, their phone number is (843) 522-1712. They would have the scheduling and answer to your question. Hope this helps, thank you!
James Edward Daughrity says
Just wanted to say that it is good to know that your efforts were done with an eye towards unity and brotherhood which is slowly being edged away. Thanks for your site!
I didn’t read what the original denomination of the church was. Could someone help me with that information?
I read above that you must be a member of the parish in order to be married at the Old Sheldon Church ruins. Would that be the same for renewing of vows?
We are not officially affiliated with Old Sheldon Church Ruins so we recommend reaching out to the Parish Church of St. Helena directly to get in touch with them just to be sure the information is up to date, here is the number: (843) 522-1712. Hope this helps!
Dennis Maher says
Just researched the initial movement of the Union Armies in to South Carolina. The majority of the army left Savannah in late January, 1865. However, Sherman did send the forces of the XVII Corp under BG Francis Blair into the Pocotaligo area as a preliminary movement. The XV Corp under BG John Logan has often been blamed for the burning of the church. After scouring the Official Records of the Rebellion, I could not find a Brigade under his command in the area at the time of the destruction of the church on January 15th. The burning of the church may have been done by Blair’s men in the XVII Corp. I am looking for clarification. I am hoping to visit this sacred shrine next week.
Dennis Maher says
A little curious about the timetable of events regarding the burning of the Sheldon Church. Sherman’s troops began their march on January 28th, yet the church was burned on January 15th.
I heard something different. Not sure who set the fire, but people were hurdled in and they locked the doors and then they burned the church down.
Carol Stygles says
This in one of the most spiritual sites that I have ever visited. There is a quiet beauty to the ruins that is outstanding. This would rank right up there with my favorite places and I would love to visit it again.
Do you know if there are any old photos or artist renderings of what Sheldon looked like before the war? I would love to have seen her in all her glory, although she’s still stunningly beautiful today.
I have often wanted to stop in to visit the site but signs indicate no parking on the side of the road. Is there a parking area available near by the site?
Great question! There is a small parking area directly across from the entrance to the church, across the road. Hope this helps!
The ruins still appear to point the way to Heaven…
We go past Old Sheldon every time we visit our daughter in Beaufort. We stop frequently to embrace the history and read the grave stones. Amazing experience that never gets old.
Hi there 🙂 This place looks amazing!!!! I’d really love to photograph it, but I understand that it’s on private property. How does one go about asking permission to take pictures or get a property release? I’ve called the St. Helena’s Church to inquire, but couldn’t get ahold of the person they gave me to ask. I certainly don’t want to trespass or be disrespectful. Thanks in advance!
Hello Rachel, very thoughtful and respectful of you to ask and make sure you are doing the right thing! We know the property owners certainly appreciate that. Old Sheldon Church is open to the public during daylight hours so as long as it is at that time you should be fine! Thanks!
Thank you so much!!! 🙂
Christine courtney says
May I visit for sunrise photography?
Absolutely, the grounds are open! Hope you enjoy.
Dr Rick Sheldon says
I have located my mother’s side of family but have not been so fortunate with my father’s side. We know, part in Germany and Part in the UK. Accidentally I came across the Sheldon Church. We will soon visit, since we live in Destin, Fl. This will be a great weekend trip to search some of the Sheldon family tree.
So glad you will take a side trip to visit! It is a remarkably beautiful and peaceful place. Good luck on your search!
Angela Taylor says
I visited the Sheldon Church a few years ago and as soon as I stepped on the church grounds a feeling came over me and it stayed with me the whole time I was there. It was an absolute mesmerizing experience. I would encourage everybody to visit the Sheldon Church when you get the chance. I promise you that it will be worth it.
Lindsey Moore says
We are a Texas family on a summer road trip. We are visiting the ruins this afternoon and we are so excited!
Oh wow what fun! We hope y’all had a blast!
Kathryn Denison says
I would like to get married at the Old Sheldon Church ruins on March 17th. How much is it to rent for the day and is it available March 17, 2018?
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We are not directly affiliated with Old Sheldon Church so you would have to contact their number. We found this one online: (843) 525-8500. Hope this helps! Thanks.
I am parishioner of St. Helenas Beaufort. Contact the church office at 834-522-1712 for information on caregivers for Sheldon Church.
Excuse typo 843-522-1712
Maria Fierro says
I would like to know if pets are allowed?
It is considered publicly accessible during daylight hours so we would imagine any pet on a leash would be okay.
Can anyone visit this site? I would love to get a few pics of our little ones, but I noticed this is private property and don’t want to trespass.
Thanks for inquiring, Heather! Anyone is allowed to visit the ruins during daylight hours. Hope you enjoy your visit!
Lauren Ables says
I want to inquire about booking a wedding at Old Sheldon Church.
Please let me know if there is a certain website I can visit, or someone I can contact, to learn more information in this regard.
Couples wishing to marry at Old Sheldon must be members of the Parish Church of St. Helena. For more, contact the parish: http://www.sthelenas1712.org/
Gayle Kelly Garrison says
My grandfather, Earl A. Smoak, Sr., told me that some of our ancestors are buried at Sheldon Church. I wish I had asked him for more information. He was born in Branchville and later lived in Beaufort. His son, Earl, Jr, lived in Beaufort, and currently, 2017, so do several of his children and grandchildren. It is such a beautiful place, I have been there two times, and it feels sacred.
I have been wanting to bring my daughter here for her senior pictures or prom pictures. I would be taking the photos. Is this allowed?
We believe photos are allowed.
Robert Barrett says
As historian of the Parish Church of St. Helena, I offer a correction in the last paragraph of your historical description. The Leverett Letters state that Sheldon Church was “not burnt” by Sherman’s troops during the American Civil War. Apparently it was dismanteled for materials to build shelter for the locals and could have been rebuilt. You state this earlier in the description, but revert to the incorrect history in the last paragraph.
Thank you, Robert. The last paragraph to which you refer is the National Register’s description of the church. We have now made a note in the paragraph regarding Lever’s letter that the burning is simply the theory of the NR.
Madeline Carol says
The Old Sheldon Churchs ruins are breath-takingly beautiful. What is the story of the ladies face on the inside of the church walls? Peace and Blessings, Madeline Carol
Larry Whittington says
Please let me know when the 2017 annual meeting at the church takes place.
Hi, Larry. Call the parish church of St. Helena for information on services: http://www.sthelenas1712.org
Larry Whittington says
I went to the Old Sheldon Church Ruins on January 31, 2017. This was my first time there and I was so amazed to find such a beautiful and peaceful place. The oak trees are remarkable and the church is a masterpiece. If you have not been to the Old Sheldon Church, you must make the trip.
Stacey Woodruff says
Is it still only parish members allowed to be married at the ruins? Thanks in advance!
Yes, that remains the parish policy.
Windi Weaver says
Thank you SCIWAY!
Windi Weaver says
We wanted to do a photo shoot with a professional photographer with our dogs in November. I know dogs have been permitted in the past but someone told me they thought the policy had changed. Can someone clarify? Thanks.
Hi, Windi. You will need to contact someone from St. Helena Parish Church about the photo shoot. Here is the church website, which should have contact information: http://www.sthelenas1712.org
Louise Colvin says
My husband and I have visited several times on our way to Harbor Island. Our first visit was with our dear friend who has passed. He insisted that we stop and experience the beauty and history of this special place . I can only imagine what the church looked like before being destroyed. It is still beautiful and so peaceful. Another visit is on my list things to do soon.
Karen Trowell Barron says
I have often wondered if there are sketchings, or pictures, of the original church, known as the old Sheldon Church ruins? P
Betsy Getsinger Donlon says
When is the 2016 annual service?
Carol Izzo says
My wife and I and another couple, dear friends, went to Sheldon on a bright sunny day. Our first glimpse of the ruins sparked imaginations of what it may have looked like before being burned by two successive armies,the British army in the 1700's and the Union army in the 1800s'. It must have been a beautiful house of worship,splendid with it rising colums and arched windows. Walking the grounds and visiting the resting places of generations of local families that had lived prior to the signing of the declaration of independence, and those who had served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, gave us a sense of history of this sacred place. We can only wonder at how two armies of Christian faith could in time of war delibrately destroy a Christian house of worship. Yet, today we see the destruction of centuries old historical places in the mid east. I can only wonder. Sheldon is truely a place to see.
Tracy A Cinicola says
Do you still do weddings there?
Only parish members are allowed to have weddings at the ruins.
Susan Higdon says
Sheldon Church is hauntingly beautiful. Each time we visit or pass the structure, it beckons to me. Peace and heart break are a part of this experience.
We visit it at least once a year on the way back from the coast. One of the most serene places on Earth.
Michele Snow says
Considering the history, I found this to be the most peaceful/spiritual place I have ever been. Spent and entire day taking photos and just sitting under the trees. I can’t wait to go back!
Kim Black says
My husband and I stopped her with our kids on the way to an island in Beaufort – this place was stunning. I couldn’t get enough of the beauty and the history. The tombs were so old and my kids were fascinated. The grounds are beautiful and the trees are amazing! It was such a beautiful place – it was sunny and hot but the grounds were so shady we stayed cool – we stopped and actually drank the water from the well and cooled off. My kids and I read the tombs and signs and little did they know, the were getting a little history lesson at the same time – A MUST SEE!!!
Robert Tomlinson says
As a native South Carolinian, who moved to Tar Heel state 30 years ago, I’ve never had an opportunity to visit the Old Sheldon Church. However, my wife and I hope to remedy that in the fall. I would appreciate an answer and quick history lesson of Sheldon regarding the Palmetto founding fathers who were members and buried in its property. When the mini-series North & South was filmed, was one of the scenes filmed in the Old Sheldon Church.
Hello! We can not find information regarding the filming of North and South at the ruins. However, maybe this will help you with your search of interments:
Trisha Petty says
Joe Shamrock: I just posted on your Facebook, Joe. It went to your side notes as we aren't friends. I hope you can share them with Nikki.
Trisha Petty says
Of course Nikki, we prayed (and I still do for you… it is here at Sheldon's I prayed Charlie (your second cousin by the way) would find you all. And boy did he. I am sure your mom told you all about what we did in Charlie's final days. He wanted family more than anything. He wanted to be part of history so badly. Find me on face book and you can see all the things we did, and still are doing in his honor and your ancestor's honor. Have a great time…
Joe Shamrock says
Trish, my name is Nikki. My mother Betty is related to Charlie. We met you several years ago when you stayed with her. We are planning on taking our children to this area and as i did a search i spotted pictures of this beautiful spot. I had never heard of it before. It caught my interest and I did further research to find out the history and the location so we could visit. What a small world that I would end up on this site with your post and that this meant so much to Charlie. I will think of you both when we visit. Take care.
Sherry Worley says
Our family visited the ruins July 7, 2015. The entire property is so beautiful. When we entered the churchyard it was as if a feeling of peace came over us. So blessed to have been able to visit Old Sheldon Church Ruins.
Trisha Petty says
Thank you John.
John Francen says
What a beautiful story! May God bless you.
I stopped by yesterday afternoon (14th April) very briefly. One can feel the intense history and see ladies in elegant finery and men in tall hats arriving via expensive carriages. I do not believe in “hain’ts” ;), but if there were ever such a thing, this place would be haunted. Sort of creepy! Didn’t stay long! If the weather was anything like ours last Sunday, the picnic got rained out. Sad.
Ann Kerr-Bewley says
There is an annual Chuch service and picnic here this Sunday the 19th! I am looking forward to it!
Ashley Davis says
I have been to the oceans rise when I was young And I could hear children screaming Around this specific tree I want to go back And see if this tree is still there and put a recorder out at night It just to see if It really is haunted
Jessica Williams says
This is beautiful! I can't wait to visit it in person!
Ann Utsman says
on my list to go see~~~rather than just passing by~~
Trisha Petty says
My husband found a picture of the churchyard in one of the tourism books when we were planning our wedding. There was a song by Larry Jon Wilson that he also had in his record collection that has a haunting melody. We went on our honeymoon and visited the site on our last day. It was raining, and my husband the history nut was up on the graves wiping rain off the faded engravings trying to read them. He also told people of the history that we could find about the church yard. I prayed that day my husband would find his family- as he was adopted and taken away from them. Three years later we came back after a family reunion.35 people Charlie hadn't seen since he was a child sat around that table. When we visited the yard after the reunion, it was a bright and sunny day. He told several people there not only the story of the church yard but of his family and what he had discovered. In May of 2014 we visited again, this time after another family reunion. Charles Petty was diagnosed terminal and he wanted to go one more time. He talked to several people again, and he walked the grounds carefully. Sheldon Church yard changed his life…
Trisha, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story with us. Our thoughts are with you, and we are happy that such a beautiful place has brought you and Charles so much meaning.
P. Donohue says
Anyone traveling N/S on I-95 in clement weather should pack a picnic lunch and take c. 5-7 miles to church and dine in complete serenity. A very inspirational place.
Carl Buster McMillan says
I have seen pictures of Sheldon for most of my 75 years, but have never taken time to locate it. I appreciate the map and quick history of the church remains. Will visit soon.
Don Ward says
A must-see location!
My fiancé and I are getting married here on April 4th, and I was wondering if couples who have gotten married here could answer a couple of questions for me. We are having the reception at the Beaufort Inn and wanted to know how you took pictures before the wedding and still stayed hidden when guest were arriving? Also wanted to know how to transport family to and from? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Sue Brickey says
About 2 years ago I was driving from Hilton Head to Beaufort and made a wrong turn. I ended up on a beautiful old road. I saw an old cemetery at least partly surrounded by an iron fence, and I am not sure if they were ruins of a church or not. I think the name of the road was Old Cemetery Road. I wish I could find it again; could it be this church, or another? Any help would be appreciated.
Old Sheldon church is a beautiful part of history, a landmark and an attraction, but there are no fences, no tickets to buy, and no crowds. It sits on a rural road far away and sum what hidden from civilization. Anyone can visit anytime. Its location is relatively secluded, and if you blink your eyes you might miss it. I would imagine the historic society would have answers about weddings, but I wouldn’t recommend going through with it. There is wildlife all around, and not the good kind. Snakes and spiders, not to mention the sand gnats. It would ruin a wonderful day to have the one of the guests or, God forbid, the bride bitten by a brown recluse or a rattle snake.
A link to a wedding booklet is provided above the map. Best of luck!
How much does it cost to get married at this beautiful place?
I downloaded the pdf file for wedding info; sadly only the first page loads! Anyone have a contact person I can talk to?
Eden Hewitt says
We were married here in March of 2012. Loved this site since the time I saw it on SCETV years ago. So glad we made it a reality. Everyone who came for the wedding (3 hours plus) loved it!
Mrs. John Maag says
Lived in Beaufort from 1964 to 1966, husband was Navy Corpsman at the Naval Hospital. I took pictures of the church with a 3D camera. Had the viewer to view my slides with. Very nice. Rochelle
Curtis Spencer says
I have a print or poster of a painting entitled “Ruins of War” with Old Sheldon Church. Do you know where I might find another non-faded copy? The artist is Thad Warren.
Mike Stroud says
I have stopped here numerous times and never had much of a crowd to inhibit photo ops. May have had to wait a few minutes for the scene to clear of visitors, but never a mob scene. Although a very popular spot for wedding photos … that could take some time.
Hello! I was wondering how crowded this can be. I want to take pictures and wasn’t sure how thick the crowd can get.
Quick question. What are the open times for the site, and who could I contact about a special event at this location? I have a very special moment planned here very soon and am trying to nail down the details. Thanks in advance!!
Hi, Daniel. This site lists a phone number for reserving the Old Sheldon Ruins: http://scgreatoutdoors.com/park-oldsheldonchurchruins.html Best of luck!
W K Bacon says
I was there the weekend of September 13th. I found a very distinct piece of jewelry there on the ground. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed description of it and the day you lost it, to prove ownership, and I will mail it to you. It had to be lost the specific day I was there because it was shiny and fresh with no leaves or dirt on it, lying right on top of the grass.
I took my children there one drizzly evening. They were about 2 and 5 and not allowed to watch anything related to ghosts, etc . Having no knowledge of this sort of thing, as we were walking, my daughter whined the whole time wanting to leave because “people” were walking around watching us. Exasperated and knowing nothing of the folklore, I asked her what they looked like, not expecting her to tell me they were dressed funny in dresses and funny hats (exact description of period clothing). My son cried half the time. I thought he was just tired, not scared, but the next day at work, my co-worker informed me of the fact that “people” are seen on the property all the time at dusk.
Pearl Graham says
I am from Hendersonville and grew up in Beaufort, SC, so I saw this site quite a bit. I have been living in Boston for 40 years and always go by to visit. My cousin from Boston and my daughter stopped by on the 4th of July and had fun taking pictures. A great piece of history!!
Chip from Raleigh says
We were just there yesterday, and there is parking area across the road from the church. As long as its not too busy, you should be able to maneuver a 30-foot motor home around a large circle, or back up to turn around to come out. There is no parking or vehicle entrance on the church side – foot traffic only!
Could someone tell me if there is enough room for a motor home to park at the Sheldon site?
Will Connelly says
Which British unit actually burned the church in 1779? There were several Brit units operating between Savannah, Beaufort, and Charleston in 1779-82. Also some Hessian (German) mercenaries, as well as some area loyalist forces.
Ryan Chavous says
Drive by it every year, 40 years now, on the way to Fripp Island. My parents would stop so we could get out and look around. Now I do the same with my kids! It is a great family tradition we have every year. My wife had her wedding portrait taken at the church.
Blake Lewis says
Yes, one of the pictures above is mine Jennifer.
Does anyone know if there is a fee to take photos here? Also does any of the pictures belong to anyone on here?
Good news, Jennifer! There is no fee!
John M. Clayton, Jr. says
My wife and I recently visited this very sacred place for the second time and both times definitely noticed the feeling of a special spiritual presence–definitely hallowed ground. I found myself humming the 1962 gospel hymn by Doris Akers “There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.” College and university choirs that are “on tour” in the area should visit the site and sing this hymn while they are there. Of course, in January we experienced no bugs!
John M. Clayton, Jr.
Terry Archibald says
While stationed at MCAS Beaufort 92-96, went there on numerous occasions. Very peaceful spot and the old fashioned hand pump water well still works. What a great place full of history.
Betsy Noal says
When visiting my son, a Marine Corps Sgt who lives in Yemassee, and we were taking the kids to school we saw the church and stopped. I have been there three times … it’s the most peaceful place I know of. As soon as you get back to the church and enter you feel as though someone has their arms around you. We stopped with the kids on the way home and the oldest said she felt warm there. I said I knew what she meant. It’s just beautiful!! We were saddened when we were back over Thanksgiving and saw someone destroyed some of the tombstones? Who would do this?
I am originally from California and my husband is from here so the first time we visited this beautiful place was in 2000 during a family vacation. I instantly fell in love! We have since moved here and live in Columbia but we visit every chance we get. It is a place of great beauty and peace. I have never been so moved as I am while I am there. My husband and I are planning on renewing our vows and this is where we will do it. I wouldn’t dream of any place else!
I have visited this church since I was 1 year old. My family and I vacation at the near by Hunting Island every summer. We always stop and take in the wonderful history of this church. I consider this church a part of my family tradition. I must have two hundred pictures of my family and this church.
I live 5 minutes from this site and have never been bothered by bugs year round at Old Sheldon Church. However, once you get east of US 17, bugs are out when temps are above 60F and below 80F. They hide under the grass and leaves and can be stirred up outside those parameters, though.
We are getting married this year at the ruins, but still dont have a idea of who we can get to marry us…Could you please help.
We can travel one weekend soon to meet them. We about 1.5 hours away
I live in yemassee. Pass it twice a day going to base an never pay it any attention cause I didn’t know it’s history. Quite a lovely place. Congrats Scott. I take it that your with 273. Stay safe
Tabitha Gollihugh says
My husband is from Beaufort/Seabrook – and everytime we visit our family, we pass the church. I was finally able to get him to stop this May to let me take pictures. It is an absolutely beautiful place, and the weddings we’ve passed are out of a storybook. I would have LOVED to have had our wedding there.
Patty Davis says
What a Great place to visit on a Sunday morning. I imagine the Sunday service in my mind. I ‘m having a spiritual and historical fix all in one. Wow!
My fiance has selected this location for our upcoming wedding… I am looking forward to previewing the Ruins when I return from Afghanistan. I am sure its as special as everyone says.
benjamin smith says
I always go past here everyday. I’m from Charleston and work in Hilton Head. I always see this sitting back in the woods and never stopped, but today I did and the place was cool. Just the feeling of being somewhere where history took place was an awesome feeling…..BTW good place to get married
Melissa Cook says
I just recieved pics in mail from an aunt and this is Church is one of them. Apparently my family dates way back in the South as I had relatives that were married in this church. Who knew, go figure. And she even included the Bishops name of Stephen Elliott, however, she did not include dates.
Calvin J. says
I visited there on Sunday May 13th, 2012 with my mother and father. It was such a beautitul and sacred place to be. I noticed several things while being there. One of the trees (Located in the front entrance) had bricks inside of it, I guess from another building or structure from the area that once was there. It was very wierd but interesting to see. On the church structure itself, you can see past visiters who carved their name and date in the brick. And, strangely out the corner of my eye, I could’ve sworn I saw a spirit or appericition walking near the woods. It was very cool and I enjoyed being able to walk on such historic grounds.
Charlie DeLoach says
I am a native South Carolinian. When I was young back in the 1930’s, I attended the annual Memorial Services held each year in the Spring with my Mother and Aunt. Many of my Chisolm relatives are buried in the Church Yard. I have done extensive travels in my life time, but I have found few sites that are more beautiful and serene. I never hesitate to visit the Church when I am in the area and I take pride in taking my family and friends there so they, too, may enjoy the experience.
I LOVE visiting historical places & have been to plenty but have never experienced anything like I did when I visited this site a couple of days ago. I was awe struck & moved beyond comprehension as I entered the walls of the church. I was compelled to sing & so sang part of “Savior like a Shepherd Lead Us”. I was moved to tears just being there & felt as though I just awoke from a dream when I returned to my car. I will definitely visit again!
I have passed by here several times when I am working in Beaufort. Stopped for the first time today. Such a peaceful spot. Beautiful pictures. You feel like you are stepping back in time.
I am curious are there any orginal sketches or drawings around of what the church looked like in it’s original glory…(before being burned)?
Natalie, My husband and I got married here in early March of 2007. There were no bugs (no, we didn’t spray either) and the weather was perfect. Would have liked a few more flowers blooming, but we only had snowbells in March. It was a beautiful wedding and our reception was held at the Beaufort Inn. December is usually mild in South Carolina, but you do take some chances. You are shooting for early December so you should be safe. The usual high is somewhere in the 60’s. I think the bugs would definitely be less bothersome in December-they weren’t an issue at all in March. I did all of my planning over the phone and in two day trips. I loved my wedding, but I wouldn’t do another outdoor wedding- just too stressful! I wish you all the best!
What is the weather like here in early December? We are thinking about this site for our wedding and are very excited, but unsure if it will be too cold. Perhaps the bugs are less abrasive in the winter?
Tim Drake says
I recently visited Sheldon Church. It is a beautiful place, and the resting place of several of my ancestors (William Bull, Mary Bull, etc.). The grounds are well kept, but I was disturbed to see the poor condition of the Bull tombs. They have deteriorated to a great degree from tourist and other traffic since the 1960s when I first saw them. I know that most visitors and users of the grounds are sensitive to the history and importance of these monuments, but wish that others would respect the fact that many of us still see this as sacred ground where our ancestors once worshiped. I want future generations of our families to have the opportunity to go there and see the graves of their ancestors too.
Barbara Jordan Anderson says
My husband & I visited while heading to Florida on vacation and this is the most beautiful area!
In the pictures I took of the church and grounds, I was amazed to see light filling the open windows of the church from above! Looked as if it was filled with the Light of God. Absolutely beautiful!
Blake Lewis says
Hey LizB1979, the bottom picture of the two is mine. I sell prints all the time and I’d be happy to get one out to you if you’d like. You can just click my name above there and it takes you to my site.
Does anyone know where I can find/buy prints of the church? My husband and I were there a couple years ago, and I would love to frame a nice photo or painting of it for our home.
My sister and I were there 10-11-11 about 10AM and she waited in the car with the sun roof open while I ventured to take photos. The church and grounds are very beautiful and moving. The silence brings you to imagine what the church must have been like when in use by the parishioners. BUT I was there before anyone else ventured out and the mosquito were looking for brunch. I am glad I braved the bugs to get the photos, as I was not disappointed. On my run back to the car, my sister was battling the bugs trying to get in the sun roof, but it was all worth it.
Have been several times, never fails to impress me. It is amazing the history surrounding the site and really shows the perseverance of the American people.
Sarah, check out Richfield Plantation! It is absolutely beautiful and it will continue the old southern feeling you get from the ruins! I just had my engagment party at Richfield and we were very happy!
Hi everyone! My dream has always been to get married here but I’m so concerned about a venue for my reception. Can anyone help point me in a good direction on places nearby for a reception?
This is a beautiful place! For many years I took my sons to see this place — you can obtain peace here.
Old Sheldon works its magic on everyone who visits here. There is a feeling of time stopped – as if someone from the past could easily step out of the shadows! The light, the air, the mood of the ruins are awesome and addictive – you make a promise to yourself that you will return.
One of the most beautiful spots in Beaufort County!
Natarsha Adams says
Absolutely beautiful place… so peaceful! Got great photos in just a matter of minutes as I was passing through. But I DO, DO, DO recommend the bug spray as said before…
Can’t emphasize enough about the bug spray. I was just there at dusk on July 20 to photograph, and the place has BOTH black flies AND mosquitoes. The photos were worth the effort.
Ally- plenty of people go there to take pictures- just go and plan on waiting if there are others/tourists/etc. They will be gorgeous!
I would love to take my bridal portraits here..does anyone know if there is a charge to take pictures?
My family has a house close to there. We stopped by and looked around. Its really cool to see that the church is still standing and is a wonderful piece of history.
Gail Lane says
A wedding at Old Sheldon Church is beautiful, and nearby Richfield Plantation is a great place for a reception
I am getting married at Old Sheldon Church in May. The cost is $1000 which includes spraying for mosquitos and is a tax deductible donation. The number to call is 843-466-0151.
My son and my daughter in law were married at this beautiful spot in 2008. Contact St. Helena’s Church in downtown Beaufort to find out the contact person regarding weddings. In 2008, the cost was $200 but it may be more now. Don’t wait as dates fill up quickly.
I went there today, it was beautiful.
There is a phone number posted right inside the gate to call if you want to use the grounds there (for weddings etc). Sorry, I didn’t write it down. This is outside with swamps around it so if you plan a wedding it might be smart to also plan to have some type of bug (mosquito) spraying done to make it more pleasant.
What a beautiful setting! Saw a wedding there yesterday. It must be one of the most delightful places to start a marriage in America if you appreciate history and especially Southern history.
My wife and I visited the ruins today (Oct. 2, 2010). It was a beautiful clear day, mid 70’s, low humidity – a perfect day. If you are in to history the ruins are a very moving place. Anyway, there is a sign there with a phone number to call if you want to hold an event there. I took plenty of pictures, but unfortunately (sorry to Melissa) I didn’t take any of the sign (no reason too). If you search enough I’m sure you will find who to contact. It would be an absolutely memorable place to have a special event!
Melissa – did you find out any information? I am interested as wel.
David Decker says
My wife and I were married at the Old Fort Dorchester State Park. It dates back to the Revolutionary War times as well and the bell tower is still standing.
Is there a fee to get married at the church? If so, how much and whom do I speak to?