St Stephen’s Episcopal Church – St. Stephen, South Carolina

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St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, located in the rural Berkeley County town of St. Stephen, is one of only 125 colonial churches of the Episcopal faith still open for regular services in the United States.

St Stephens Episcopal Church

Elizabeth Carroll of St. Stephen, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The photo above, taken from the southwestern side of the surrounding churchyard cemetery, gives visitors their first glimpse of the church. As you follow the dirt road, your eyes focus on the double door, slightly ajar, inviting you in for a closer examination. St. Stephen’s is a fine example of a small, Georgian, country chapel. Standing in stately simplicity for over 240 years, it is a true treasure of Berkeley County.

St. Stehphen's Episcopal Interior

Don Fraser of Seneca, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The church originally served St. Stephen’s parish, formed in 1754 from the St. James parish, Santee. The first church in the new parish was a wooden frame building, replaced with this brick edifice in 1769.

St. Stephen's Episcopal

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2004 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The brother of General Francis Marion, Marion’s nephew, and many of his comrades played roles in the construction of St Stephen’s. Although there is no written record to verify this, it is probably safe to assume that General Marion himself worshiped here occasionally.

St. Stephen's

Brandon Coffey of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Regular services were discontinued in 1808, though the building was maintained and repaired twice during the nineteenth century. This attention to the church building allowed services to easily resume in 1932.

St. Stephen Episcopal Pulpit

Don Fraser of Seneca, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The cedar pulpit seen above is said to have been modeled from the one in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

St. Stpehen's Berkeley County

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2004 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Landmarks and is one of only 76 National Landmarks in South Carolina. It is also listed in the National Register, which says the following:

St. Stephen’s Church, erected in 1767-1769, is an excellent and well-preserved example of a small Georgian brick country parish church constructed on a rectangular plan. The structure exhibits unusual architectural pretensions, because it includes a high gambrel roof with Jacobean curvilinear gables, exterior Doric pilasters, and an ornamented tray ceiling.

In order to incorporate an ornamented tray ceiling, the high gambrel roof used here is uncommonly heavy and the Palladian window over the altar is too small. The walls are laid in Flemish bond. Doors and windows have fanlights above and are topped by segmental brick arches. Francis Villepontoux and A. Howard provided the brick and acted as architects; William Axson was the master mason. The initials of these men are cut into the brickwork. St. Stephen’s was incorporated in 1788 and regular services were discontinued in 1808. Twice, however, the building was repaired during the 19th century and thus saved from destruction. In 1932 the church was again reopened for regular worship. Listed in the National Register April 15, 1970.

St Stephen’s Episcopal Church Info

Address: 196 Brick Church Circle, St. Stephen, SC 29479

St Stephen’s Episcopal Church Map

St Stephen’s Episcopal Church – Add Info and More Photos

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3 Comments about St Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Sharon F. CoreyNo Gravatar says:
March 26th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Elizabeth Jane White Hood is listed on Find A Grave at

Ed DavisNo Gravatar says:
July 12th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I’m researching my great-grandparents’ origins and understand that they, along with perhaps some of their children, may be buried in the Church Cemetery. Their names are Abraham Joseph Hood (4/4/1865 – 6/16/1921) and Marrie Byrdic Hood (3/14/1881 – 10/1-1949). Children’s names are Wayne Muller Hood (10/15/1908 stillborn), Clinton Adair Hood (11/9/1898 – 9/20/1909), Bessie Hood Hood (3/3/1915 – 3/15/1915), Elizabeth Jane White Hood (?/?/? – 8/28/1921). I would like to know if there are any church records confirming their burials and how I might access them. Thank you, Ed Davis

JP Saleeby, MDNo Gravatar says:
June 16th, 2013 at 11:46 am

The famous Dr. Francis Peyre Porcher, MD, LLD was buried here in 1895. He was a well know herbalist and leader in the CSA medical corps. He was assigned by the Surgeon General of the Confederate Medical corps (Dr. Sam P. Moore) to pen a book on regional herbs and plants for the Confederacy to utilize as the blockade during the Civil War by the North was hurting efforts to supply needed medication for the Southern effort. He went on to do great things post-war as well. MUSC (teaching hospital in Charleston, SC) has a living memorial garden to Dr. Porcher.


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