On my way back from my paddling trip to Beaufort I decided to take a brief detour and visit a couple of places I had wanted to photograph. These were the St. Helena Chapel of Ease and the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease. There are only ruins left of both chapels, but both places are filled with history and photographic opportunities.
According to Wikipedia, a “chapel of ease” is “a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently.” In colonial South Carolina the large plantations of the sea islands were remote. It was often hard for parishioners to get to the larger towns, so the local Anglican congregations built these chapels to accommodate the parishioners.
Probably the most famous of the Lowcountry church ruins is the Old Sheldon Church, which was once known as the Prince William Parish Church, located on Sheldon Road northwest of Beaufort. Even though Sheldon Church is often grouped with St. Helena and Pon Pon, this is not technically a chapel of ease, as it was a parish church in its own right. The brick columns and walls are much larger than the typical chapel of ease. I had visited Sheldon on several occasions, and wanted to focus on the other two smaller churches for this trip.