South Carolina Picture Project

St. James Goose Creek Parish Church – Goose Creek, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Berkeley County Photos  |  St. James Goose Creek Parish Church


Edit This Page  |  Leave A Comment

One of the first churches built in South Carolina, St. James Parish Church near Goose Creek was completed in 1719. The parish was one of nine formed in South Carolina following the Church Act of 1706, which established the Church of England as the official state church. A wooden church was initially built for St. James but was soon replaced by this stucco-covered brick church. Construction began on the church in 1713, and it was completed in 1719. Slaves built the church for British planters who settled here from Barbados in order to establish a new colony.

St. James Goose Creek Church

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Notable exterior features of the church include decorative mortar work. Above each arched window sits a stuccoed cherub’s head, and above the entrance are five flaming hearts. Within the triangular pediment over the double doors rests a stuccoed pelican piercing her breast in order to feed her brood (detailed photo below). The bird is a symbol used by the Anglican church to represent the propagation of the Gospel; the church had been sending funds from London to support parishes in the new colony.

St. James Goose Creek Church

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

By 1844, the church and surrounding graveyard had fallen into near ruin. Jonathan Lucas was appointed by St. Michaels Church in Charleston to facilitate repair work. Lucas described the walls as being cracked and needing to be held together with the help of iron rods. The rods were put into place, walls replastered, roof reworked, everything painted, floors repaired and pew bottoms cut off due to rot. The pelican that graced the pediment above the main entrance had deteriorated. A new one was modeled and the original sits inside the church today.

St. James Goose Creek Church Pelican

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Inside the church, the Royal coat of arms graces the area above the pulpit. During the American Revolution, British troops were ordered to burn Lowcountry homes and churches as they left, but legend claims St. James was spared because of the church’s display of the coat of arms.

St. James Goose Creek Church Interior

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Centered on the upstairs balcony is a hatchment bearing the Izard family coat of arms. A hatchment is a large tablet, typically diamond-shaped, with a family’s coat of arms that was placed on a casket during a funeral procession. This is one of two surviving hatchments in the United States; the other is in Virginia.

St. James Goose Creek Church Hatchment

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

On August 31, 1886, tragedy struck Charleston as the Earthquake of 1886 devastated the Lowcountry. The west and eastern gables fell, walls were cracked, memorial tablets and the coat of arms of the interior were broken into pieces. The vestry raised funds for restoration work to begin. The shingle roof was replaced with slate which was allegedly a gift from two Englishman residing in Charleston. It is believed that one of the gentlemen was Cowlan Gravely.

St. James Goose Creek Church Earthquake of 1886 Damage

No history of the St. James Goose Creek Parish Church is complete without mention of the Simmons family. The Simmons have acted as sextons of the church since its beginning. This photo, appearing originally in the Charleston News and Courier (now The Post and Courier) on March 13, 1926, shows a young boy as the “Key Keeper of the Goose Creek Church.”

Goose Creek Church Key Keeper

The Simmons family were the enslaved people of planters who attended this church. For centuries their family have been the protectors of this sacred ground. They looked after the churchyard, greeted visitors and held the keys to the gate and ancient place of worship. Their story reverberates through the trees and old walls of this place as loudly as anyone’s. The photo below shows Mr. Simmons, a descendant, greeting visitors to the church just as generations have before him.

Mr. Simmons, sexton, Goose Creek Church

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Notable residents of South Carolina such as members of General William Moultrie‘s family, Henry and Thomas Middleton of the nearby Oaks Plantation, famed historian Samuel Gaillard Stoney and others are buried within the churchyard of St. James Parish.

St. James Goose Creek Church Graveyard

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Parish is listed in the National Register:

Built 1713-1719 by early planters from Barbados, St. James Goose Creek is one of the earliest Georgian churches in the English colonies. The building is not only early, but generally recognized as one of the real architectural beauties in a category of small eighteenth century parish churches. St. James’ Church is a small, compact, rectangular one-story structure with stucco covered brick walls, and a slate jerkinhead roof. The round arched windows of the church are protected by exterior wooden shutters and framed by plaster architraves adorned with cherub’s heads. The corners of the building are marked by large quoins, and a small stucco cornice adorns the eaves line. The vestry was incorporated in 1778, and it is said that the presence of the royal coat of arms over the pulpit saved the church from destruction in 1779-1780 when British troops moved through South Carolina during the American Revolution. Services were discontinued during the latter part of the war, and the Church of England was disestablished. The revival of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina took place gradually from 1795-1817.

St. James Historic

More Pictures of St. James Parish


St. James Goose Creek

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Goose Creek Church

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Goose Creek Church Gate

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Marker

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Marker Back

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Alter

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Parish Church

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Lod's Prayer

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Ten Commandments

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Coat of Arms

Andy Hunter of North Augusta, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Goose Creek Church Stairs

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

St. James Goose Creek Parish Church Info


Address: 100 Vestry Lane, Goose Creek, SC 29445
GPS Coordinates: 32.975483,-80.032627


St. James Goose Creek Parish Church Map




St. James Goose Creek Parish Church – 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 St. James Goose Creek Parish Church, 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!


Please Share Your Thoughts!


The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!



10 Comments about St. James Goose Creek Parish Church

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
September 20th, 2017 at 1:49 am

Hello, when we researched this we did come across this contact information: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/parish/st-james-episcopal-church-goose-creek-sc.

This church is one of oldest but not quite the oldest, that title belongs to Middleburg Plantation, built 1697 (for a wooden structure) and Medway Plantation, built 1704-05 (for a brick structure). The oldest church is the Old St. Andrews Parish Church, built 1706-08.

If you would like to see more about these places, here are the respective links:

http://south-carolina-plantations.com/berkeley/middleburg.html
http://south-carolina-plantations.com/berkeley/medway.html
https://www.sciway.net/sc-photos/charleston-county/old-st-andrews-parish-church.html

We hope this helps and good luck!

Jodie MooreNo Gravatar says:
September 19th, 2017 at 11:01 am

Hello, I am a Freelance Photographer who travels around South Carolina taking pictures of historic buildings. I am extremely interested in photographing St. James Goose Creek Parish, as it is the oldest structure still standing in South Carolina. Please share any information you may have on whom I may contact about visiting this lovely place. Thank you!

Joseph W ThomasNo Gravatar says:
September 13th, 2017 at 9:52 pm

The Society For The Propagation of The Gospel in Foreign Parts sends missionaries to South Carolina, the first, The Reverend Samuel Thomas.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
June 8th, 2017 at 9:41 pm

The church is located behind a gate because it has been the victim of vandalism and is in a vulnerable position. Visitors are welcome to contact the vestry to inquire about an appointment for visitation. The website with the contact information is here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/parish/st-james-episcopal-church-goose-creek-sc. Hope this helps!

Daniel ChenowethNo Gravatar says:
June 8th, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Why is it now behind a gate? Why can’t we see our national historic landmark anymore?

James B. Godfrey,IIINo Gravatar says:
March 17th, 2017 at 3:26 pm

I am looking for any information on James Warren Godfrey. I see there is a comment from Jean Godfrey, who is my first cousin once removed, and also from a James Warren Godfrey who is maybe kin, as James W. Godfrey was my great-great grandfather.

Jean GodfreyNo Gravatar says:
November 4th, 2013 at 9:56 am

I misunderstood that I should put my name in the first space. I am looking for James W. Godfrey. My name is Jean Godfrey. Sorry for the error.

James Warren GodfreyNo Gravatar says:
November 4th, 2013 at 9:53 am

I am looking for my great grandfather, James W. Godfrey, who died Nov. 9, 1861 in Savannah, Georgia, but is believed to be buried in this area, as this is where he was born.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 19th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Janice! Try taking a look at our Berkeley County Genealogy Resources. Here you’ll find a variety of resources to help you find this information. Hope this helps and good luck! – SCIWAY

janice prestonNo Gravatar says:
March 15th, 2012 at 9:53 am

I am looking for my great grandfather, James Sanders. Where could I find a list of the people buried in the graveyard?





St. James Goose Creek Parish Church - Related Entries


Goodwill Parochial School

Bethel CME in Johnston, SC

Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

Zion Presbyterian Church Lowrys

Lutheran Church in Sandy Run

Downtown Baptist Church

Wedgefield Presbyterian

Wedgefield Baptist Church

Liberty Universalist Church




SC PICTURE PROJECT

Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks

SC TOWNS & LANDMARKS

Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York

© 2017 SCIWAY.net, LLC All rights reserved.