Chapel of Ease – St. Helena Island, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County Photos  |  Chapel of Ease

These tabby walls are all that remain of an old chapel-of-ease on St. Helena Island. The chapel was built in the mid-1700s and served the families who owned plantations on St. Helena Island.

Chapel of Ease

Barry Gooch of Port Royal © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The primary parish church, though known as St. Helena’s Church, was actually located in Beaufort, making it too far away for the planters to regularly attend services. Therefore, the Anglican Church established this “chapel of ease” nearer their homes.

Chapel of Ease Beaufort County

Josh Whiteside of Beaufort, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The US Army gained control of South Carolina’s sea islands early in the Civil War. Plantation owners were forced to abandon their land, leaving their slaves behind. The slaves found themselves in legal limbo – no longer enslaved, but not yet officially free.

Chapel of Ease in Beaufort

Megan Pearson of Edgefield, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Northern missionaries and teachers came south and with support from the federal government, established what came to be known as the Port Royal Experiment – the country’s earliest efforts to educate and train former slaves to work outside of the institution of slavery.

Beaufort SC Chapel of Ease

Megan Pearson of Edgefield, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

After the Civil War, the church continued to be used as an outpost by a variety of freedmen’s groups. A forest fire destroyed the building in 1886 and it was never repaired. The ruins were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Chapel of Ease south carolina

Barry Gooch of Port Royal © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Chapel of Ease St Helena

Michael Enloe of Aiken, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Chapel of Ease – Getting Married


The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort manages the Chapel of Ease and does permit weddings to be held at the site. See page 15 of the church’s wedding booklet (pdf) for details and contact information. The Parish Church also manages the old Sheldon Church, another fine spot to be married!

Chapel of Ease Info


Address: Lands End Road near Saturns Circle, St Helena Island, SC 29920

Chapel of Ease Map



Chapel of Ease – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Chapel of Ease, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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10 Comments about Chapel of Ease

MikeNo Gravatar says:
September 10th, 2014 at 9:47 am

Michele, I’m going there this weekend, will be sure to look and let you know.

MicheleNo Gravatar says:
August 23rd, 2014 at 5:55 am

I’m looking for a headstone: Lynes, 1802-1870. Can someone tell me if it’s there? Thank you.

FrankiNo Gravatar says:
January 6th, 2014 at 12:08 am

Love this place – it is enchanting!

PatriciaNo Gravatar says:
September 3rd, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Rodney, contact St. Helena’s Church in Beaufort, S.C. I so want to visit this site in the near future! It’s just beautiful, and I love the history of S.C.

Elaine of SCNo Gravatar says:
June 19th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Beautiful. I’d like to visit someday when I visit my hometown. Intriguing.

MariNo Gravatar says:
May 21st, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Getting married here soon :)

KemNo Gravatar says:
April 18th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I love this place. It is so beautiful. I have visited it many times. Anyone who wants to visit, just make sure you wear long pants and closed toed shoes. The “nettles” are killers.

RodneyNo Gravatar says:
February 26th, 2013 at 11:15 am

Can someone please tell me how to get in touch with the owner of this property?

margaret berryNo Gravatar says:
July 25th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I’m looking for the slave owners of my fathers family, their last name is Hill.

jennyNo Gravatar says:
September 1st, 2010 at 11:29 am

I love this. Beautiful.






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