Tag Archives: Church

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

I admit that up north history was an abstract concept for me (and many people). You may learn of the Boston tea Party, or Paul Revere but visually it’s a plaque between two skyscrapers.

In the Lowcountry you have early US history, starting in the 1600’s, and you can walk up see it. Not long ago we sat on the steps of a rural plantation porch in the delta. The same exact spot also shared with George Washington,  Marquis de La Fayette, and the ‘Swamp Fox’ Francis Marion. Click to view.

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

I first learned of Strawberry Chapel in 2016 from a group of local photographers that documented the history of the Lowcountry. Landmark sites like this but also to the smallest rural General Store that were still standing from the 1800’s. I was hooked. Finally September 2022 we were able to get past the old stone wall and visit the chapel.

Strawberry Chapel is a parochial chapel of ease in the lower part of St. John’s, Berkeley Parish in Berkeley County, South Carolina that was built in 1725. Click here for Wikipedia chapel details.

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

I believe sometime the in the mid 1800’s the prayer and wreath were added. They are made of small pine cone petals sewn together.

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

A restoration was just completed here. Over the years water damage happened, the walls were in need of a re-plaster (using the old methods), and windows were repaired. I’m sure 297 years has taken a toll.

In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White
In Strawberry Chapel, Black And White

There will be a service and baptism here next month. Usually there are four dates a year the chapel opens. This is the only complete Chapel of Ease I have seen, others were ruins. It’s a National Landmark with private owners dating back to it’s creation.

Strawberry Chapel, Childsbury, South Carolina.

Receiving Tomb

This is something I had only seen once before, in an old town cemetery in New England. I know of 3 in the Lowcountry.

A receiving tomb is a temporary shelter to hold the deceased until burial. Having no refrigeration brick structures, partly underground, hold the bodies until burial.

Most times this was used while family and friends came from distances. Here it could a day or more to arrive from Charleston, 20 miles away.

Receiving Tomb
Receiving Tomb

Known receiving tombs in the Lowcountry ;

  1. Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston
  2. Bethany Cemetery, Charleston
  3. Strawberry Chapel, Berkeley County

 

Back Side Of Old Strawberry Chapel

This is a view of the chapel that can rarely be seen. The property is surrounded by tall stone protection walls.

Back Side Of Old Strawberry Chapel
Back Side Of Old Strawberry Chapel

Outside the property was the ‘Town of Childsbury’. In 1707 it was a planned community by a ferry crossing the Cooper River. The chapel is all that remains, the town never fully developed.

Inside Strawberry Chapel

I still find it astounding this small Anglican Chapel has survived intact through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, huge hurricanes, and even large earthquakes. Even the small merchant town here disappeared in the 1750’s.

Inside Strawberry Chapel
Inside Strawberry Chapel

Below looking out chapel doors gives an idea of how small the building is. In the 1850’s a balcony was built over the door. It had to have been just big enough to crawl in. The front wall was damaged during a hurricane and the balcony was removed during repairs.

Inside Strawberry Chapel
Inside Strawberry Chapel

 

Entering Strawberry Chapel

By today’s standards the chapel is small. This photograph was taken looking in through the single front door. Most everything in this image is original to the chapel.

Behind the altar is a welcome sign and a small bough. Created with petals from pine cones I believe these were added in the 1850’s.

Entering Strawberry Chapel
Entering Strawberry Chapel

Even now this is in a rural spot on a dead end road, the only building remaining of Childsbury Town 1707.

Harleston Family Plot, Strawberry Chapel

The Harlestons were a remarkable family, not least because they managed to achieve so much financial, cultural and educational success at a time when the country denied equal opportunity to anyone with one drop of black blood. (Washington Post)

Please follow this link.

The link above is from a review of the book ‘The Sweet Hell Inside’, written by Edward Ball who was given the family papers and documents by Edwina Harleston.

The Ball family plot is a few yards from here in the graveyard of Strawberry Chapel.

Harleston Family Plot, Strawberry Chapel
Harleston Family Plot, Strawberry Chapel
Harleston Family Plot, Strawberry Chapel
Harleston Family Plot, Strawberry Chapel

Members of the Ball family kindly opened  the Chapel and it’s grounds the other day. Representatives of (click here) Drayton Hall plantation along with the Ball family arranged a small group tour and talk… and of course we had to photograph the Chapel and grounds.

For approximately 6 years Ellen and I have ‘peeked’ over the tall rock walls at Strawberry. This a unique historical site, all the more so since it has been kept private to preserve family history and integrity of the property.

Strawberry Chapel, Childsbury Towne, South Carolina.

Strawberry Chapel Of Ease, 1725

Finally Ellen and I got past the old stone fence. The chapel and it’s grounds are only open a few times each year.

Strawberry Chapel Of Ease, 1725
Strawberry Chapel Of Ease, 1725

This is privately owned and maintained by the same families that were here when it was built. Repairs and restorations had just been finished, however little has changed since the original chapel was opened.

We have plenty of work to do developing the photographs from yesterday. As usual I did want to published a black and white format photograph.