This stately home facing Store Creek on Edisto Island has served as the manse for the Presbyterian Church on Edisto since the late eighteenth century. The church houses one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in the nation, dating to the late seventeenth century; it was founded shortly after Royal Governor Joseph Morton settled on the island in 1680. The two-and-a-half story manse is thought to have been built for the church’s minister around 1790. The land for the manse was donated to the church by Henry Bowers in 1717.
While many might see this elegant home as more imposing than one would expect for a church manse, it is actually quite austere. Its only ornamentation is the four-pane transom over the entrance; all other features are purely functional. The house stands on a raised basement, not only affording spectacular views of the creek but also allowing the home to be cooled by breezes coming off the water. The interior consists of four rooms on each floor, which are divided symmetrically by a central hallway. The balance of windows also contributed to the movement of salty air through the house, serving as a natural air conditioner.
Though updated with modern conveniences, modifications to the Presbyterian manse have been few over time, and the house remains virtually the same in appearance as when it was built. It is the oldest structure on the island associated with a church. Today the home continues to serve as a manse for the historic Presbyterian congregation.
The Presbyterian Manse is listed in the National Register:
The Presbyterian congregation on Edisto Island is one of the oldest in South Carolina, dating from about 1710. The Presbyterian Manse on Edisto Island, a two-and-a-half story, wooden building with full brick basement, has been altered little since it was built in the late 1700s (ca.1790). Entrance is via small, straight stairs which lead to a wide shed-roof porch which extends the full length of the building and continues around the east side. The porch has square posts to which railings are attached horizontally. The façade below the porch roof consists of a central door with four pane transom above. The door is flanked by four 9 over 9 sash windows, two to a side. The four windows on the second floor level are located directly above the first floor windows. Two overhanging dormer windows, set in a medium gable roof, are placed in front of matching chimneys. The manse’s severe simplicity is very much in keeping with the general idea of a Presbyterian manse.
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