In This Sacred Place: Sheldon Church Ruins

Posted By on January 7, 2020


(female singer) § Hush…hush. § § Somebody callin’ my name. § § Listen to me. § Hush… oh, hush, § § ’cause there’s a somebody a-callin’ my name.
Listen to now. Hush… oh, hush,§ § ’cause there’s a somebody a-callin’
my name. § § Oh, my Lord… oh, my Lord… §
(Rowland) The parish church of Prince William Parish
are the famous Sheldon ruins that you see on your way between Columbia
and Beaufort. That particular church, built in 1751,
was regarded by many people as being the finest country church in America when
it was built, because the rice planters were all very rich,
and that was a very avant-garde– it’s the oldest–
that church, Prince William Parish Church, or the Sheldon ruins as we now know them–
is the oldest neoclassical temple-form building in America.
So that was a very avant-garde, very expensive, and very fine church
when it was built in 1751, because all those planters, led by the Bull
family, were very rich, some of the richest Americans
of that time. It was burned by British troops during the
American Revolution because it was the muster ground
for the patriot militia of this area, and they were storing ammunition there.
So for one reason or another, during the disturbances of the American Revolution,
it was burnt and was not rebuilt. And when Charles Fraser painted it in 1819,
it was still a ruin from the Revolutionary War.
Well, the year after that, the congregation raised the money to rebuild
the church. When he came back, he said,
“My goodness, they’ve taken a beautiful ruin and made it into an ugly church.”
During the Civil War, when Sherman’s troops moved through,
they burned it again and made it into a beautiful ruin,
which it remains to this day. (female soloist) § Oh-oh-oh, my Lord… §
§ tell me whatever shall I… § § doooo… §
(choir) § Tell me what I’m gonna do. §§

Posted by Lewis Heart

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