Nevermore recently visited the ruins of Sheldon Church in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Originally known as Prince William’s Parish Church, the building was built in the Greek Revival style between 1745 and 1753.
Burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, it was rebuilt in 1826. It was destroyed once again in 1865 during General Sherman’s March to the Sea. Although it has come to light that most of the interior damage was caused by locals looting for building materials to rebuild their homes, which were also destroyed by Sherman.
The grave of Colonel William Bull lies inside the room. It was Bull who assisted General Oglethorpe in surveying Savannah and designing the distinctive grid pattern of the city’s streets and squares. Bull’s Newberry Plantation bordered the church’s property and it was called ‘Sheldon” after his ancestral home in England.
According to 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. Listed in the National Register October 22, 1970.
For more photos of Nevermore at Sheldon Church, see my website here: VictoriaLogue.com