Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Yemassee, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Yemassee, South Carolina

Despite being burnt down multiple times, the ruins of this South Carolina church are still standing.  


The haunting South Carolina ruins of the Old Sheldon Church have been standing for well over a century, although given its multiple fires, that’s not for lack of trying to destroy the building.

The gutted, gothic arches of what we know today as the Old Sheldon Church Ruins were originally part of a house of worship known as Prince William’s Parish Church. Built around the mid-1700s, the church was nearly destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War not many years after it was completed. The remains of the church would lay abandoned for decades after its first attempted destruction but the stone foundations that remained were finally rebuilt in 1826.

Unfortunately this second life for the church was to be about as brief as the first. When General Sherman led his troops through South Carolina during the Civil War, they too felt like it would be a good time to put the Old Sheldon Church to the torch, once again burning the building down to its stone foundations. After this second defeat, the church was allowed to simply remain a ruin for the rest of its days.

This may have been for the best since, today, the ruins are a beautiful feature set amongst tall, leaning oaks and smatterings of old graves from the brief periods the church was in service. Now the crumbling remains are often used for wedding photos and other moody photography. However the ruins are put to use, at least they are no longer put to the torch.

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