While watching a show about local churches on ETV, they showed shots of ruins. Doing just a tiny bit of research led us to three easily accessible churches, each with a unique personality. Oddly, the stories of all three are very similar.
Biggin Church Ruins
Parrish Church of Saint John’s, these ruins are just outside Moncks Corner. With only two walls standing, and bricks falling out of those, these ruins aren’t the most unique, but the surrounding cemetery adds some interest. As the historic marker says, this church was built in 1712, burned by a forest fire in 1755, by the British Army in 1781, and again by a forest fire in 1886.
Pon Pon Chapel
Though not a church, the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease is found near Round O. The National Register states that the Chapel was established in 1725 and rebuilt in brick in 1754. Sometime around 1801 the Chapel burnt, was rebuilt between 1819 to 1822, and again was ruined in 1832. Further damage was done in the 1950s due to a hurricane, after which stabilization was required. The area is heading toward being overgrown and ironically there is a new interpretive sign propped up against the rusting steel gate.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
This is by far the most impressive of the three ruins. Built sometime in the mid-1700s, it was burnt during the Revolutionary War. It is debated whether it was burnt by Sherman’s troops or just ransacked and later dismantled by nearby homes and plantations that were in desperate need of building materials after Sherman’s march. In contrast to the English bond style of Biggin and the Flemish bond of Pon Pon, these church ruins are in the Greek Revival style. The grounds are well-kept, with large oaks looming. The graveyard surround the ruins are still used. There is a yearly service and a very large parking lot on the opposite side of the road.
If you visit:
Keep in mind that most of the cemeteries are still used or have members of families that still live nearby. Be respectful.
Mosquitoes are rampant.
The road to Pon Pon is not in best of shape. Drive carefully and watch for large trucks.
Leave everything where you found it. Even if there is a brick on the ground, it belongs on the ground where the church has stood for hundreds of years; not in your pocket or collection.
Driving Directions and More Information:
Stay tuned for the fourth ruin, St Helena!