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Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Yemassee, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County Photos  |  Old Sheldon Church Ruins

The Old Sheldon Church, formerly known as the Prince William Parish Church, has had a tumultuous and eventful history. From its first service in 1757 to its present peaceful setting, the church has followed the travails of our region’s history.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins SC

Dr. Pat Paxton of Aiken, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Originally organized and funded in the 1740s and 50s by William Bull, whose Newberry Plantation bordered the church grounds, the church was set on fire during the Revolutionary War. It was then rebuilt from the remaining walls in 1826.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Paul Gowder © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Common knowledge states that on January 14, 1865, Sherman’s troops burned the church a second time, as part of the “March to the Sea” campaign. While the walls still refused to fall, it was never to be repaired again.

Old Sheldon Church

Blake Lewis © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

However, another possible fate has come to light. In a letter dated February 3, 1866, after the end of the Civil War, Milton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.”

Sheldon Ruins

James Boone of Columbia, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The inside of the church was apparently gutted by whites and blacks who needed the materials to rebuild their homes burned by Sherman’s army. This information comes from “The Leverett Letters,” published by the University of South Carolina Press and can be found on pages 403 and 405.

Sheldon Church at Night

Chad McMeen of Yemassee, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

This tablet located at the Old Sheldon Church reads: “Church of Prince William’s Parish, known as Sheldon built between 1745-1755. Burned by the British Army 1779. Rebuilt 1826. Burned by the Federal Army 1865. Tablet placed by Columbia Committee South Carolina Society Colonial Dames of America 1937.”

Sheldon Church Ruins Marker

Glen Bates of Batesburg, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Directions


Old Sheldon Church is located on Old Sheldon Church Road between Gardens Corner and Yemassee. Coming from Beaufort on US 21 North, as you approach the intersection of US 17 at Gardens Corner, bear left, continue through the stop sign and go about 1/4 mile. Turn right onto Sheldon Church Road, which is directly across from Bull Point Plantation. Go about two miles and you’ll see the ruins on the right side of the road.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Getting Married


The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort now manages Old Sheldon Church 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 manages the ruins at the old Chapel of Ease on St. Helena’s as well, where you can also get married.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Info


Address: Old Sheldon Church Road, Yemassee, SC 29945

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Map



Old Sheldon Church Ruins – 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 Old Sheldon Church Ruins, 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!


62 Comments about Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Mrs. John MaagNo Gravatar says:
March 7th, 2014 at 1:13 am

Lived in Beaufort from 1964 to 1966, husband was Navy Corpsman at the Naval Hospital. I took pictures of the church with a 3D camera. Had the viewer to view my slides with. Very nice. Rochelle

Curtis SpencerNo Gravatar says:
January 29th, 2014 at 10:20 am

I have a print or poster of a painting entitled “Ruins of War” with Old Sheldon Church. Do you know where I might find another non-faded copy? The artist is Thad Warren.

Mike StroudNo Gravatar says:
November 15th, 2013 at 6:20 am

I have stopped here numerous times and never had much of a crowd to inhibit photo ops. May have had to wait a few minutes for the scene to clear of visitors, but never a mob scene. Although a very popular spot for wedding photos … that could take some time.

HeatherNo Gravatar says:
November 3rd, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hello! I was wondering how crowded this can be. I want to take pictures and wasn’t sure how thick the crowd can get.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 15th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Hi, Daniel. This site lists a phone number for reserving the Old Sheldon Ruins: http://scgreatoutdoors.com/park-oldsheldonchurchruins.html Best of luck!

DanielNo Gravatar says:
October 15th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Quick question. What are the open times for the site, and who could I contact about a special event at this location? I have a very special moment planned here very soon and am trying to nail down the details. Thanks in advance!!

W K BaconNo Gravatar says:
September 17th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I was there the weekend of September 13th. I found a very distinct piece of jewelry there on the ground. Please contact me at wandakaye13@yahoo.com with a detailed description of it and the day you lost it, to prove ownership, and I will mail it to you. It had to be lost the specific day I was there because it was shiny and fresh with no leaves or dirt on it, lying right on top of the grass.

AngelaNo Gravatar says:
July 14th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I took my children there one drizzly evening. They were about 2 and 5 and not allowed to watch anything related to ghosts, etc . Having no knowledge of this sort of thing, as we were walking, my daughter whined the whole time wanting to leave because “people” were walking around watching us. Exasperated and knowing nothing of the folklore, I asked her what they looked like, not expecting her to tell me they were dressed funny in dresses and funny hats (exact description of period clothing). My son cried half the time. I thought he was just tired, not scared, but the next day at work, my co-worker informed me of the fact that “people” are seen on the property all the time at dusk.

Pearl GrahamNo Gravatar says:
July 11th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I am from Hendersonville and grew up in Beaufort, SC, so I saw this site quite a bit. I have been living in Boston for 40 years and always go by to visit. My cousin from Boston and my daughter stopped by on the 4th of July and had fun taking pictures. A great piece of history!!

Chip from RaleighNo Gravatar says:
July 8th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

We were just there yesterday, and there is parking area across the road from the church. As long as its not too busy, you should be able to maneuver a 30-foot motor home around a large circle, or back up to turn around to come out. There is no parking or vehicle entrance on the church side – foot traffic only!

ChipNo Gravatar says:
May 30th, 2013 at 11:07 am

Could someone tell me if there is enough room for a motor home to park at the Sheldon site?

Will ConnellyNo Gravatar says:
April 25th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Which British unit actually burned the church in 1779? There were several Brit units operating between Savannah, Beaufort, and Charleston in 1779-82. Also some Hessian (German) mercenaries, as well as some area loyalist forces.

Ryan ChavousNo Gravatar says:
April 9th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Drive by it every year, 40 years now, on the way to Fripp Island. My parents would stop so we could get out and look around. Now I do the same with my kids! It is a great family tradition we have every year. My wife had her wedding portrait taken at the church.

Blake LewisNo Gravatar says:
April 9th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Yes, one of the pictures above is mine Jennifer.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
April 9th, 2013 at 11:01 am

Good news, Jennifer! There is no fee!

JenniferNo Gravatar says:
April 8th, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Does anyone know if there is a fee to take photos here? Also does any of the pictures belong to anyone on here?

John M. Clayton, Jr.No Gravatar says:
January 31st, 2013 at 10:10 pm

My wife and I recently visited this very sacred place for the second time and both times definitely noticed the feeling of a special spiritual presence–definitely hallowed ground. I found myself humming the 1962 gospel hymn by Doris Akers “There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.” College and university choirs that are “on tour” in the area should visit the site and sing this hymn while they are there. Of course, in January we experienced no bugs!
John M. Clayton, Jr.

Terry ArchibaldNo Gravatar says:
January 24th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

While stationed at MCAS Beaufort 92-96, went there on numerous occasions. Very peaceful spot and the old fashioned hand pump water well still works. What a great place full of history.

Betsy NoalNo Gravatar says:
December 25th, 2012 at 10:41 am

When visiting my son, a Marine Corps Sgt who lives in Yemassee, and we were taking the kids to school we saw the church and stopped. I have been there three times … it’s the most peaceful place I know of. As soon as you get back to the church and enter you feel as though someone has their arms around you. We stopped with the kids on the way home and the oldest said she felt warm there. I said I knew what she meant. It’s just beautiful!! We were saddened when we were back over Thanksgiving and saw someone destroyed some of the tombstones? Who would do this?

MichelleNo Gravatar says:
November 14th, 2012 at 11:44 am

I am originally from California and my husband is from here so the first time we visited this beautiful place was in 2000 during a family vacation. I instantly fell in love! We have since moved here and live in Columbia but we visit every chance we get. It is a place of great beauty and peace. I have never been so moved as I am while I am there. My husband and I are planning on renewing our vows and this is where we will do it. I wouldn’t dream of any place else!

StaceyNo Gravatar says:
November 8th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have visited this church since I was 1 year old. My family and I vacation at the near by Hunting Island every summer. We always stop and take in the wonderful history of this church. I consider this church a part of my family tradition. I must have two hundred pictures of my family and this church.

LenNo Gravatar says:
October 21st, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I live 5 minutes from this site and have never been bothered by bugs year round at Old Sheldon Church. However, once you get east of US 17, bugs are out when temps are above 60F and below 80F. They hide under the grass and leaves and can be stirred up outside those parameters, though.

AngelaNo Gravatar says:
August 24th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

We are getting married this year at the ruins, but still dont have a idea of who we can get to marry us…Could you please help.
We can travel one weekend soon to meet them. We about 1.5 hours away

DavidNo Gravatar says:
July 22nd, 2012 at 9:58 am

I live in yemassee. Pass it twice a day going to base an never pay it any attention cause I didn’t know it’s history. Quite a lovely place. Congrats Scott. I take it that your with 273. Stay safe

Tabitha GollihughNo Gravatar says:
July 9th, 2012 at 8:11 am

My husband is from Beaufort/Seabrook – and everytime we visit our family, we pass the church. I was finally able to get him to stop this May to let me take pictures. It is an absolutely beautiful place, and the weddings we’ve passed are out of a storybook. I would have LOVED to have had our wedding there.

Patty DavisNo Gravatar says:
July 8th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

What a Great place to visit on a Sunday morning. I imagine the Sunday service in my mind. I ‘m having a spiritual and historical fix all in one. Wow!

ScottNo Gravatar says:
July 3rd, 2012 at 8:08 pm

My fiance has selected this location for our upcoming wedding… I am looking forward to previewing the Ruins when I return from Afghanistan. I am sure its as special as everyone says.

benjamin smithNo Gravatar says:
July 2nd, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I always go past here everyday. I’m from Charleston and work in Hilton Head. I always see this sitting back in the woods and never stopped, but today I did and the place was cool. Just the feeling of being somewhere where history took place was an awesome feeling…..BTW good place to get married

Melissa CookNo Gravatar says:
June 28th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I just recieved pics in mail from an aunt and this is Church is one of them. Apparently my family dates way back in the South as I had relatives that were married in this church. Who knew, go figure. And she even included the Bishops name of Stephen Elliott, however, she did not include dates.

Calvin J.No Gravatar says:
May 14th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I visited there on Sunday May 13th, 2012 with my mother and father. It was such a beautitul and sacred place to be. I noticed several things while being there. One of the trees (Located in the front entrance) had bricks inside of it, I guess from another building or structure from the area that once was there. It was very wierd but interesting to see. On the church structure itself, you can see past visiters who carved their name and date in the brick. And, strangely out the corner of my eye, I could’ve sworn I saw a spirit or appericition walking near the woods. It was very cool and I enjoyed being able to walk on such historic grounds.

Charlie DeLoachNo Gravatar says:
May 10th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I am a native South Carolinian. When I was young back in the 1930′s, I attended the annual Memorial Services held each year in the Spring with my Mother and Aunt. Many of my Chisolm relatives are buried in the Church Yard. I have done extensive travels in my life time, but I have found few sites that are more beautiful and serene. I never hesitate to visit the Church when I am in the area and I take pride in taking my family and friends there so they, too, may enjoy the experience.

SuthunbelleNo Gravatar says:
May 1st, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I LOVE visiting historical places & have been to plenty but have never experienced anything like I did when I visited this site a couple of days ago. I was awe struck & moved beyond comprehension as I entered the walls of the church. I was compelled to sing & so sang part of “Savior like a Shepherd Lead Us”. I was moved to tears just being there & felt as though I just awoke from a dream when I returned to my car. I will definitely visit again!

DarwinNo Gravatar says:
April 24th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I have passed by here several times when I am working in Beaufort. Stopped for the first time today. Such a peaceful spot. Beautiful pictures. You feel like you are stepping back in time.

CCWNo Gravatar says:
April 23rd, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I am curious are there any orginal sketches or drawings around of what the church looked like in it’s original glory…(before being burned)?

DanaNo Gravatar says:
April 17th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Natalie, My husband and I got married here in early March of 2007. There were no bugs (no, we didn’t spray either) and the weather was perfect. Would have liked a few more flowers blooming, but we only had snowbells in March. It was a beautiful wedding and our reception was held at the Beaufort Inn. December is usually mild in South Carolina, but you do take some chances. You are shooting for early December so you should be safe. The usual high is somewhere in the 60′s. I think the bugs would definitely be less bothersome in December-they weren’t an issue at all in March. I did all of my planning over the phone and in two day trips. I loved my wedding, but I wouldn’t do another outdoor wedding- just too stressful! I wish you all the best!

NatalieNo Gravatar says:
April 14th, 2012 at 11:52 pm

What is the weather like here in early December? We are thinking about this site for our wedding and are very excited, but unsure if it will be too cold. Perhaps the bugs are less abrasive in the winter?

Tim DrakeNo Gravatar says:
March 23rd, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I recently visited Sheldon Church. It is a beautiful place, and the resting place of several of my ancestors (William Bull, Mary Bull, etc.). The grounds are well kept, but I was disturbed to see the poor condition of the Bull tombs. They have deteriorated to a great degree from tourist and other traffic since the 1960s when I first saw them. I know that most visitors and users of the grounds are sensitive to the history and importance of these monuments, but wish that others would respect the fact that many of us still see this as sacred ground where our ancestors once worshiped. I want future generations of our families to have the opportunity to go there and see the graves of their ancestors too.

Barbara Jordan AndersonNo Gravatar says:
January 4th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

My husband & I visited while heading to Florida on vacation and this is the most beautiful area!
In the pictures I took of the church and grounds, I was amazed to see light filling the open windows of the church from above! Looked as if it was filled with the Light of God. Absolutely beautiful!

Blake LewisNo Gravatar says:
December 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Hey LizB1979, the bottom picture of the two is mine. I sell prints all the time and I’d be happy to get one out to you if you’d like. You can just click my name above there and it takes you to my site.

LizB1979No Gravatar says:
December 18th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Does anyone know where I can find/buy prints of the church? My husband and I were there a couple years ago, and I would love to frame a nice photo or painting of it for our home.

TerryNo Gravatar says:
December 4th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

My sister and I were there 10-11-11 about 10AM and she waited in the car with the sun roof open while I ventured to take photos. The church and grounds are very beautiful and moving. The silence brings you to imagine what the church must have been like when in use by the parishioners. BUT I was there before anyone else ventured out and the mosquito were looking for brunch. I am glad I braved the bugs to get the photos, as I was not disappointed. On my run back to the car, my sister was battling the bugs trying to get in the sun roof, but it was all worth it.

JenniferNo Gravatar says:
November 26th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Have been several times, never fails to impress me. It is amazing the history surrounding the site and really shows the perseverance of the American people.

AmyNo Gravatar says:
November 17th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Sarah, check out Richfield Plantation! It is absolutely beautiful and it will continue the old southern feeling you get from the ruins! I just had my engagment party at Richfield and we were very happy!

SarahNo Gravatar says:
November 16th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Hi everyone! My dream has always been to get married here but I’m so concerned about a venue for my reception. Can anyone help point me in a good direction on places nearby for a reception?

DelcenaNo Gravatar says:
November 16th, 2011 at 10:38 am

This is a beautiful place! For many years I took my sons to see this place — you can obtain peace here.

CharlotteNo Gravatar says:
October 6th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Old Sheldon works its magic on everyone who visits here. There is a feeling of time stopped – as if someone from the past could easily step out of the shadows! The light, the air, the mood of the ruins are awesome and addictive – you make a promise to yourself that you will return.

GeorgeNo Gravatar says:
September 16th, 2011 at 9:47 am

One of the most beautiful spots in Beaufort County!

Natarsha AdamsNo Gravatar says:
August 29th, 2011 at 11:14 am

Absolutely beautiful place… so peaceful! Got great photos in just a matter of minutes as I was passing through. But I DO, DO, DO recommend the bug spray as said before…

MikeNo Gravatar says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Can’t emphasize enough about the bug spray. I was just there at dusk on July 20 to photograph, and the place has BOTH black flies AND mosquitoes. The photos were worth the effort.

PattiNo Gravatar says:
July 2nd, 2011 at 7:05 am

Ally- plenty of people go there to take pictures- just go and plan on waiting if there are others/tourists/etc. They will be gorgeous!

AllyNo Gravatar says:
June 15th, 2011 at 11:34 am

I would love to take my bridal portraits here..does anyone know if there is a charge to take pictures?
Thanks!

RachelNo Gravatar says:
May 31st, 2011 at 8:34 am

My family has a house close to there. We stopped by and looked around. Its really cool to see that the church is still standing and is a wonderful piece of history.

Gail LaneNo Gravatar says:
March 17th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

A wedding at Old Sheldon Church is beautiful, and nearby Richfield Plantation is a great place for a reception

AshleyNo Gravatar says:
February 2nd, 2011 at 11:37 am

I am getting married at Old Sheldon Church in May. The cost is $1000 which includes spraying for mosquitos and is a tax deductible donation. The number to call is 843-466-0151.

ErnieNo Gravatar says:
January 22nd, 2011 at 6:17 pm

My son and my daughter in law were married at this beautiful spot in 2008. Contact St. Helena’s Church in downtown Beaufort to find out the contact person regarding weddings. In 2008, the cost was $200 but it may be more now. Don’t wait as dates fill up quickly.

HaleyNo Gravatar says:
January 13th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I went there today, it was beautiful.

DinoNo Gravatar says:
October 11th, 2010 at 8:38 am

There is a phone number posted right inside the gate to call if you want to use the grounds there (for weddings etc). Sorry, I didn’t write it down. This is outside with swamps around it so if you plan a wedding it might be smart to also plan to have some type of bug (mosquito) spraying done to make it more pleasant.

BenNo Gravatar says:
October 10th, 2010 at 9:15 am

What a beautiful setting! Saw a wedding there yesterday. It must be one of the most delightful places to start a marriage in America if you appreciate history and especially Southern history.

MarkNo Gravatar says:
October 2nd, 2010 at 8:42 pm

My wife and I visited the ruins today (Oct. 2, 2010). It was a beautiful clear day, mid 70′s, low humidity – a perfect day. If you are in to history the ruins are a very moving place. Anyway, there is a sign there with a phone number to call if you want to hold an event there. I took plenty of pictures, but unfortunately (sorry to Melissa) I didn’t take any of the sign (no reason too). If you search enough I’m sure you will find who to contact. It would be an absolutely memorable place to have a special event!

CamdenNo Gravatar says:
September 29th, 2010 at 9:42 am

Melissa – did you find out any information? I am interested as wel.

David DeckerNo Gravatar says:
September 2nd, 2010 at 8:06 pm

My wife and I were married at the Old Fort Dorchester State Park. It dates back to the Revolutionary War times as well and the bell tower is still standing.

MelissaNo Gravatar says:
August 10th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Is there a fee to get married at the church? If so, how much and whom do I speak to?

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