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Strawberry Chapel

Strawberry Chapel – Cordesville, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Berkeley County Photos  |  Strawberry Chapel

Please note that Strawberry Chapel is located on private property. It is not open to the public except during its four annual services, held each October, November, March, and April.

Strawberry Chapel is the only remaining structure from the 1707 Childsbury settlement. The church was built in 1725 as part of the St. John’s Berkeley parish and is located in Berkeley County at Cordesville.

Strawberry Chapel

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Childsbury was one of the first towns to be laid out by Englishmen arriving in the Carolina colony. It was named after founder James Child, who established a Cooper River ferry and helped design the settlement. Child also donated 600 acres of land for inhabitants to use for farming. Due to the rapid prosperity of other lowcountry plantations, farmers from the Childsbury settlement had a hard time competing, and the town did not last. Eventually the settlement’s buildings were absorbed into nearby Strawberry Plantation (from whence the chapel gets its unusual name).

Strawberry

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

Strawberry Chapel was part of the original Childsbury plan and was built to make it easier for the townspeople to attend worship without traveling to the parish church – Biggin Church – which was 10 miles away in Moncks Corner. This chapel of ease was unusual in that the sacrament of baptism and funeral services, usually reserved for full parish churches, were regularly performed here.

Strawberry Chapel and Childsbury Township

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Four times a year services are held in this historical setting. The silver used in today’s services was unearthed from beneath a barn at Comingtee Plantation in 1946. Owner Keating Simons Ball buried the church silver used in parish services in 1865 when Union troops ravaged the towns of South Carolina at the end of the Civil War. It is said he could not remember where he buried it once the war was over. The mahogany trunk bearing the silver was rediscovered with the help of a mine detector 81 years later.

Strawberry Chapel Berkeley County

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

The Legend of Catherine Chicken


Catherine Chicken, great-granddaughter of James Child, is said to have suffered grave abuse in the chapel’s churchyard as a young child in 1748. Her father, George, sent his seven-year-old daughter to board with her French schoolmaster, Monsieur Dutarque. At one point Catherine was caught trying to run away from Dutarque, so the cruel teacher punished his student by tying her to a tombstone and leaving her there for the night. According to the story, she later was rescued by a slave from a neighboring plantation, who found the girl unconscious while attempting his own escape. Catherine survived the abusive ordeal, and Dutarque was run out of Childsbury for his action. Though Dutarque’s legacy of barbarism continued at the Walnut School for Boys in Camden, Catherine Chicken managed to carry on with her life in this small corner of Berkeley County. However, she is believed by some to haunt the grounds of Strawberry Chapel, where she spent the terrifying night that would forever traumatize her soul.

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Strawberry Chapel is listed in the National Register as the last remnant of the Childsbury community:

Childsbury, one of the early towns to be laid out in South Carolina (1707), is significant as an important archaeological site. Englishman James Child started a ferry here as it was the only practical ferry site across the Cooper River within a reasonable distance. Property was designated for a college, a free school, a house for the schoolmaster, a place of worship, and a market square. To the inhabitants of Childsbury, Child gave 600 acres to farm and pasture. He also gave them the 100-acre hill by the river to build upon as a citadel to protect the town in times of war.

Due mainly to the rise of the new and growing plantations, Childsbury began a rapid decline and the town site eventually became part of a plantation. Strawberry Chapel is the only visible remains of the town of Childsbury. Architecturally the chapel displays the simple, yet dignified and impressive lifestyle of an Episcopalian Chapel of Ease. This one story rectangular brick building has an unadorned hipped gable roof. The double three paneled door of the fa├žade, surmounted by flush fanlight is symmetrically situated between two shuttered windows of the same three panel design. These chapels were built to serve the people for whom the regular parish church was inaccessible. Strawberry Chapel became unique as a Chapel of Ease in that it is operated as a full parish church. Usually these chapels were denied some of the privileges of a parish church. A small cemetery is adjacent to the chapel.

Strawberry Chapel Info


Address: 1042 Strawberry Chapel Road, Cordesville, SC 29464

Strawberry Chapel Map



Strawberry Chapel – 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 Strawberry Chapel, 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!


15 Comments about Strawberry Chapel

Friend of SCNo Gravatar says:
March 13th, 2014 at 12:48 am

I do believe any grave yard visited in dark of night is scary and creepy. Each of us can help protect Strawberry Chapel and other sacred places by promoting history verses peaking curiousity of spirit seekers. Donations to Strawberry Chapel are tax-exempt since it qualifies as a 501(c)3 organization. Due to recent ice storms, tree and debris cleanup is necessary.

Barbara VillegasNo Gravatar says:
January 18th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I am truly interested in the history of this chapel, not to mention the legend. What are services people are talking about? Can I actually go there?

FriendNo Gravatar says:
September 17th, 2013 at 1:59 am

Updates on Strawberry Chapel can be found on Facebook.

BeverlyNo Gravatar says:
September 17th, 2013 at 1:55 am

St. John’s Berkeley parish consists of Strawberry Chapel and Biggin Church ruins. The chapel is in great need of costly restoration due to vandalism, so donations are appreciated.

BeverlyNo Gravatar says:
September 17th, 2013 at 1:51 am

Strawberry Chapel is a chapel-of-ease and was/is associated with Biggin Church (now in ruins) under the name St John’s at Berkeley.

LeahNo Gravatar says:
February 6th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I think it’s horrible that people have to be so immature to go through and ruin everything for everyone. People that are truly interested and want to go to Strawberry Chapel to see what’s there, and can’t because stupid immature people want to destroy things that don’t belong to them, not to mention disrespecting the dead. So sad.

JinxNo Gravatar says:
July 17th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

It is sad that people have vandalized the chapel and graves, this is a place I have visited on many nights. Josh is correct, it is for sure haunted. There is an open empty tomb in the cemetery in which myself and friends have heard voices.

JoshNo Gravatar says:
June 20th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

That place is definitely haunted at night – did not believe it at first, but soon found out it was!

AnonymousNo Gravatar says:
April 24th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Please note: St John’s at Berkeley (Strawberry Chapel) is private property and should be viewed only from afar unless permission has been granted to enter the grounds. Unfortunately, graves and chapel have been violated by destructive individuals.

Brandon CoffeyNo Gravatar says:
August 24th, 2011 at 4:32 am

Laura, you can definitely go see the chapel at any time during daylight hours. It is located on Strawberry Chapel Road in Cordesville. I have always just gone and parked and walked in the cemetery by the opening in the gate, definitely be careful at night if visiting – you used to be able to go and get spooked and be fine but now because of so many vandals it is pretty heavily guarded, with security cameras, flood lights and heavy … HEAVY … police presence.

Laura EllisNo Gravatar says:
March 19th, 2011 at 12:36 am

Hi! Do you know if it is possible to see the chapel or is it off limits except for the services? And how can I get information about the services (times & dates, etc)?

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 14th, 2011 at 8:01 am

Thank you for letting us know, Beth!

Beth StoneyNo Gravatar says:
March 13th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

There are actually four services a year – one in October, one in November, one in March, and one in April. I attended a beautiful service there today. (My husband is the Junior Warden.)

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
February 7th, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hi Esther! It was named for nearby Strawberry Plantation, which you can learn more about here: http://south-carolina-plantations.com/berkeley/strawberry.html

Esther FogleNo Gravatar says:
February 5th, 2011 at 8:30 am

Why was it called “Strawberry” Chapel?

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