The St. Helena Chapel of Ease was built around 1740 to serve planters in St. Helena Parish who lived at great distances from the parish church in Beaufort. During the Civil War, Federal troops occupied St. Helena and the church was used by several of the Northerners who had come to the island to educate and train the freedmen. It was also used as a sanctuary by Methodist freedmen as early as 1868. The chapel of ease was burned by a forest fire in February 1886 and was never repaired.
The beautiful and haunting Old Sheldon Church ruins. The pre-existing building was originally known as Prince William’s Parish Church, built between 1745 and 1753. But Prince William Parish Church was to be a casualty of not one war, but two. First, the Revolutionary War, when British troops burned down the church as well as the plantations around it. The church was rebuilt (and renamed Sheldon Church) in 1826. Forty years later it would be caught up in the Civil War. Markers on the church today will tell you that Sherman’s men burned down the church, but some historians think that the building was looted by locals, who tore out the interiors and stole materials so that they could rebuild the homes and communities destroyed by Sherman’s armies.
What is old has been made new by visitors who come here to roam the grounds and see these ruins that continue to stand the test of time.