The ruins of a 250 year old church that are in a beautiful and tranquil area of South Carolina.
In the low country of South Carolina, near the town of Beaufort, is the historic site and ruins of Prince William’s Parish Church which is more commonly referred to as the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. While it is open to the public the site is private property and is owned, managed and cared for by St. Helena’s Church of Beaufort South Carolina. The site is easy to reach, very peaceful and exceptionally beautiful. Listed in the National Registry of Historic places, the site is a wonderful spot to visit if you are in the area enjoying any of the other sites the low country of South Carolina has to offer.
The Old Sheldon Church Ruins are located off Old Sheldon Church Road in the town of Yemassee South Carolina. It is only about 10 minutes off Interstate 95. There is a large unpaved parking area directly across the street from the ruins. The Old Sheldon Church Ruins are about 30 minutes from Beaufort South Carolina or about 60 minutes from Charleston South Carolina. There are no restroom facilities onsite.
The ruins are located right off the road directly across from the parking area and are easily accessed through the front gate. There is an informative plaque at the entrance that you should checkout before exploring the grounds. There are also a few picnic tables present that can be used to relax at or maybe enjoy a peaceful lunch. Other than that, the area is primarily the church ruins and numerous gravesites.
Prince William’s Parish Church was built in the mid 1700’s between 1745 and 1753. It is believed to be the first attempt in America to imitate a Greek Temple. The church was actually burned twice. First by the British army in 1779. It was rebuilt in 1826 only to be destroyed again in 1865. The accounts of the second burning are somewhat conflicting. The tablet on the church claims it was burned by the federal army in 1865. However, the state historical plaque claims that it was dismantled by locals after the civil war. Whatever the specifics are, the church was never rebuilt again and the brick structure and columns have stood alone ever since. It is a remarkable historical landmark that has stood for over 250 years.
When visiting the church, please remember to be respectful of the grounds, ruins, and grave markers that are present. St. Helena’s church has been tremendous stewards of this historical treasure and generously allow the public to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the grounds. Responsible enjoyment of this area will ensure continued public access.