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Strawberry Chapel – Cordesville, South Carolina

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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 Cordesville

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © 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.

Strawberry Chapel

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

Due to the rapid prosperity of other lowcountry plantations, farmers from Childsbury 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 Chapel Rear

Kathie Lee of Hollywood, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Part of the original Childsbury plan, Strawberry Chapel was built to make it easier for the villagers 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.


Thia Beniash of Ladson, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Four times a year services are held in this historical setting. The silver once used in services was unearthed from beneath the rice mill 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 by Comingtee manager Grover and Martha Sullivan some 81 years later. The silver was donated to the Charleston Museum to add to its permanent collection.

Strawberry Chapel Interior View

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © 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.

Strawberry Chapel and Childsbury Township

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Strawberry Chapekl Graveyard

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

Strawberry Chapel Interior View

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © 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 façade, 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.

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

Strawberry Chapel Info

Address: 1042 Strawberry Chapel Road, Cordesville, SC 29434
GPS Coordinates: 33.093504,-79.935082

Strawberry Chapel Map

Strawberry Chapel – Add Info and More Photos

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30 Comments about Strawberry Chapel

Joy HunterNo Gravatar says:
February 13th, 2017 at 3:19 pm

St. John’s Berkeley (Strawberry Chapel)
Communion Services 2017
All Services at Noon

MARCH 12, 2017 – Congregational Meeting 11:00
MAY 7, 2017 – Rev. John F. Scott, Assistant Rector, St. Paul’s-Summerville
Picnic at Kensington (directions provided at the service)

OCTOBER 8, 2017 -Rev. Dr. Peter C. Moore, D.D., St. Michaels Church, Charleston
Picnic at Chapel

NOVEMBER 12, 2017- Minister to be determined
Picnic at Chapel

Our congregation enjoys a community picnic lunch after each service, so please bring a dish to share,
and perhaps some plates, utensils, drinks, and chairs or blankets to sit on.
The Chapel is not heated and tends to be cool inside.

Ann TillerNo Gravatar says:
December 11th, 2016 at 11:26 am

Question: Is there a Christmas service and if so, when?

Thank you,


Louise WilsonNo Gravatar says:
November 14th, 2016 at 11:50 am

I would like to know when the services will be held in March and April of 2017. Thank you, Louise

Ann Tiller says:
July 11th, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Took pictures of the chapel and the Sullivan homestead last week. It's every bit as beautiful today as when built. Am seeing the Communion silver this am at the Charleston Museum.

Mae GentryNo Gravatar says:
September 15th, 2015 at 6:37 pm

My great-great-grandfather, William Harleston, is buried at the cemetery adjacent to Strawberry Chapel. I would like to visit in November. Please tell me specifically how to contact the vestry. Thank you.

Mary BrennanNo Gravatar says:
June 10th, 2015 at 10:49 pm

How do I get in touch with someone who can let me take tombstone pictures for I am a genealogist and also the 8th great granddaughter of the founder of Childsbury, James Child.

Beverly Stoney J says:
April 7th, 2015 at 8:13 pm

You can contact Strawberry Chapel's vestry regarding your inquiry.

JayNo Gravatar says:
April 7th, 2015 at 2:25 pm

We’ve photographed there with permission. A vestry member simply mentioned photographs taken at/of/in Strawberry, from any angle, within property lines should never be sold for profit and informed us vestry considers photographs taken can be copied or used by vestry. We gladly provided our quality shots. I’m hopeful anyone visiting historic sights, or will make a little donation to places each place they visit.
We will never forget our experience and fellowship shared.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
April 7th, 2015 at 11:15 am

Thank you for the clarification!

History BuffNo Gravatar says:
April 7th, 2015 at 9:55 am

There is much found on line regarding Strawberry’s history but do not believe in ghost encounters. Every graveyard is unnerving and creepy at night which makes one’s mind imagine what isn’t there. We’ve never seen a ghost there or anywhere in the Lowcountry we love, and we’ve lived and spent time in OLD houses with fascinating stories.

History BuffNo Gravatar says:
April 7th, 2015 at 9:49 am

The open tomb was never a burial tomb.
It is a “cooling” vault used before burial.
Strawberry Chapel is separate property from the State of SC-owned Childsbury Heritage Preserve property. Strawberry receives NO state or county funding. It is the sweat and private resources of dedicated individuals that continue to maintain, preserve and protect Strawberry from stupid vandals and spirit seekers. We are glad to share of services and story with those respecting history and honoring our past and present. Joey and Dana – it’s unfortunate but due to continual problems, law enforcement has the right to ticket or arrest anyone entering private property at anytime. Much appreciation to those like Brandon who treasure our Chapel’s beauty and respect past, as well as our present.

Joey billskiNo Gravatar says:
January 26th, 2015 at 1:36 am

I was there 1-25-15 around 11:00 pm by myself and was going to lie in a grave and go to sleep.

danaNo Gravatar says:
January 11th, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I wouldn’t suggest to go there during the night. We have seen something that we can’t explain. We don’t go there to mess with anything; we usually stand outside the gate and look. I like to go there because I find it interesting. But we took picture,s and we came out with some unexplainable stuff.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 1st, 2014 at 4:39 am

It is fenced off and part of the Childsbury Heritage Preserve, and Strawberry Chapel is privately owned.

Kati Cardwell Dodes says:
September 30th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Is it available for a very small wedding ceremony?

SeanNo Gravatar says:
August 5th, 2014 at 11:36 am

Just wondering if I could go and see the place. How do I go about seeing it? I hear a lot about the place.

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.

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:

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

Why was it called “Strawberry” Chapel?


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