The ruins of Sheldon Church sit amongst beautiful oak trees draped in Spanish Moss in a quiet forest about 1 mile off the highway. It is easily accessible and there is even a parking lot across the road. This means that anyone can explore Sheldon Church. Just be careful crossing as people drive very fast on that stretch. There are tons of old tombstones and small mausoleums scattered around the property. Some can be tough to find because of being in the ground and/ or covered with leaves. If you are a tombstone reader, this place is excellent. Lots of history around this place. If you are looking for things to see in Savannah or things to do in South Carolina, this could be your place. Its not too far from Hilton Head either. Now its no St. Giles but these old church ruins are a definite place to visit.
My Experience at Sheldon – When I first visited the abandoned church it was later in the day and there was a constant flow of about 15 to 20 people. Some would leave, others would arrive. It became very obvious very quickly that early morning is the time to enjoy this place so I came back the next morning at first light. Its very peaceful here when its empty, not creepy in the least. I had a great time walking around and admiring the beautiful ruins all by myself. It was a little rainy at some point but I think that added to the look of the photos I took. One of the photos can be seen on my Instagram, link at the bottom.
My suggestions – If you are like me and like to be at places alone or with very few people, I would go very early. I was there at first light and didn’t see another soul for 2 hours. Middle of the day in nice weather there could be 20 people there at any given time. ALSO – This is one of those few places where a cloudy day can actually make this place look pretty cool so don’t worry too much about having the perfect weather for your visit.
Some info from Wikipedia – Inside the ruins of the church lies the remains of Colonel William Bull, who “greatly assisted General Oglethorpe in establishing the physical layout of Savannah, Georgia. Bull surveyed the land in 1733 to form the basic grid pattern of the streets and squares.
Some cool history to add – The building was originally known as Prince William’s Parish Church. The church was built as a chapel of ease in the English Georgian style, using the Roman Tuscan or Doric order, between 1745 and 1753. Prince William’s was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. In 1826 it was rebuilt. The following is from an article in the April 1969 Sandlapper Magazine by Charles E. Thomas, “The Picturesque Ruins Of Old Sheldon Church”. “The official South Carolina report on the “Destruction of Churches and Church Property,” after the War Between the States, described Sheldon’s second burning: “All that was combustible was consumed…, its massive walls survive the last as they did the former conflagration,” Bishop Thomas wrote, “Exactly as it happened a hundred years before in 1779, when General Prevost, marching from Savannah into South Carolina burned the Church, so now in February 1865, General Sherman marching from Georgia into South Carolina, burned it a second time.” An alternative view has more recently come to light, however. In a letter dated February 3, 1866, Miton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.” The inside of the church was apparently gutted to reuse materials to rebuild homes burnt by Sherman’s army.
So the next time you feel like channeling you’re inner Adam the woo or Exploring with Josh, be sure to check out Sheldon Church ruins in South Carolina. You wont be disappointed.