Tag Archives: Church

Huguenot Church, Charleston

A small change of pace.

Huguenot Church, Charleston
Huguenot Church, Charleston

The first Huguenot Church, located at the site of the present church, was blown up by city authorities in an effort to stop a spreading fire. It was replaced by a simple brick church in 1800. This building was torn down in 1844 to make way for the present church, which was completed the following year. This third church sustained damage during the Civil War and the Charleston Earthquake of 1886, and was restored with funds from Huguenot descendant Charles Lanier of New York.

Huguenot Church, Charleston
Huguenot Church, Charleston

Old Church Yard, Charleston

It’s not just me. When I walk around the old church yards here I see people from all over the world wandering around. They’re fascinating pieces of history.

Old Church Yard, Charleston
Old Church Yard, Charleston

This one more than most. The Circular Church was founded in the 1680’s, was burned, blown up, and rebuilt multiple times.

Old Church Yard, Charleston
Old Church Yard, Charleston

The latest rounded design above,  was by Robert Mills (Washington Monument, Wash. DC) around 1818. Major repairs were again needed after the Civil War. Early photographs from the war show the roof and front in ruins from the bombardment of Charleston.

Old Church Yard, Charleston
Old Church Yard, Charleston

The center of Charleston has numerous old churches and grave yards, some even hidden in plain sight. Each visit always provides something new.

 

Chapel Of Ease, Three

These historic buildings have recently been either damaged by age, or vandalism. They are all a ‘Chapel Of Ease’, old Anglican Church buildings. When built it was to provide a church building far from the main parish church. Travel in the outer lands was difficult at best.

Having visited these in the past I thought a small article and photographs of how they were prior to any new damage might be of interest…like a snap shot of history.

Below is Strawberry Chapel, the most intact chapel. The only one I know of not being damaged during the revolution and civil war.  It was completed in 1725 in Childsbury, South Carolina. The chapel is all the exists of the town.

Chapel Of Ease
Chapel Of Ease
Chapel Of Ease
Chapel Of Ease

Pon Pon Chapel Of Ease is shown below. In spite of on going efforts the structure continues to fall. This chapel, first wood, was also built in 1725. Previous settlements were destroyed in the Yammasee War, a Native American tribe that fought the English here and Spanish in Georgia just south.

Eventually the Yammasee, and Creek, kept going south away from the invaders to join the Seminoles in southern Florida.

The chapel has been burned numerous times and now is a ruin. What has kept it standing is the remote location. A dirt power line road is the only access. However…we found it LOL.

Pon Pon Chapel (1)
Pon Pon Chapel (1)
Pon Pon Chapel Of Ease
Pon Pon Chapel Of Ease

Last here is St. Helena chapel on the St. Helena Barrier Island near the Georgia border.

Built in the mid 1700’s it was owner by the local planters until 1885 when the island was abandon and taken by the union army.

As expected this chapel also has been burned, a few times.

The structure was created using ‘tabby’ as concrete and this is one of the best examples in the US of the technique. Tabby is burnt oyster shells, lime, water and ash, only used in the Lowcountry and Georgia. It is an ancient Spanish concrete. Morocco is known for Spanish Tabby also. Georgia and Florida were part of the Spanish Empire when this chapel was built.

Chapel Of Ease
Chapel Of Ease
An Old Chapel Made With Tabby
An Old Chapel Made With Tabby

No wildlife in the article, brief local history instead.

Strawberry, Chapel Of Ease 1725

This small church, an Anglican chapel, is remote and the last standing piece of history in a town that hasn’t existed for several hundred years.

note; the chapel and cemetery are behind several brick walls as old as the chapel itself. Now it is monitored by CCTV, rimmed with barbed wire, all at the expense of the same family that helped build and maintain this for 300 years. The cemetery was again vandalized a day after these images were taken. One could point to the politics of our time, but this is an old very rural church. Nothing was gained by it, the few that visit here are photographers / historians. Troubling times.
Strawberry, Chapel Of Ease 1725
Strawberry, Chapel Of Ease 1725

In 1707 the town of Childsbury was organized here, the chapel and an Inn several years later. The Cooper River, which runs to Charleston, was the source of all transportation and this ‘T’ was as far as a small cargo boat could navigate.

The Rice Hope, Comingtee, Bonneau, and Strawberry Bluff plantations were the early settlers here. They were small at this time, not what the word plantation evokes.

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

The town did not survive due to a ferry, at Bonneau plantation, that made it faster for commerce than the river boats.

Click any image below to view a monochrome series of photographs.

The chapel survived the Civil War. Towns and nearby plantations were burned as General Sherman moved the Union Army north towards Charleston.

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

As the Union Army advanced Keating Ball of the Commingtee plantation removed all the French silver plates and chalices to a secret spot for safety. The silver was donated to the chapel by the Charleston Huguenot families from the towns French Quarter.

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

The silver was saved from the invading army, but hidden in a very private location…that Keating Ball never could find again.

For years treasure hunters combed the old ruins in these woods, finally in 1947 a family that managed what was left of Commingtee pulled up a ‘bag’ from an old barn floor. The silver is now in the Charleston Museum, except on the rare occasion a service is held in the chapel.

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

I was to have an opportunity to photograph inside the chapel, the Covid-19 virus lock down cancelled it. With luck it will be rescheduled some time.

I had planned to include work from the plantation mentioned here. This would have become much too large.

If you search on the tag ‘historical’ on this site multiple articles in this area will be offered.

Rain At Strawberry

While pulling together some of the history of this ‘chapel of ease’ I wanted to try a darker sepia developed image. It was raining with a little fog which pointed towards a different style of photograph.

Rain At Strawberry
Rain At Strawberry

A Chapel Of Ease was a rural Anglican chapel, not church. This allowed services, baptisms, and burying the dead in places too far from a parish church.

Several of the oldest and furthest southern plantations (1600’s) were along the Cooper River here.

Strawberry Chapel In The Rain

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did it would include being inside Strawberry by myself. I really want to shoot here. Had a date too, the virus screwed that up.

Strawberry Chapel In The Rain
Strawberry Chapel In The Rain

I have published photographs before, and have some new ones to work on.

Before I publish anything I want to get the history here written down. This small ‘Chapel Of Ease’ has seen it all, and is still here.

Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

Built in 1750 this is the oldest surviving church in Charleston.

Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

St. Michael’s sits on one of the ‘four corners of law’ and represents ecclesiastical law. The other corners are the country courthouse, city hall, and federal courthouse. All are 200+ years old and listed on the various national registries.

Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

This building survived both the Revolutionary and Civil War.

Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston
Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

The stained glass windows include works by the famous Tiffany Studios.

Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston
Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

The church grave yard contains a long list of major US historical figures include signers of the US Constitution. Charleston was one of the wealthiest cities before the Civil War and all the church’s in town reflect this.

Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston
Inside St. Michael's, Charleston
Inside St. Michael’s, Charleston

This series of photographs were in shot March 2020.

Also on this web site are similar articles presenting many of the other historical churches in Charleston and the surrounding area.