Lowcountry church to remember its roots


St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley County celebrates is 240th anniversary this weekend.

To mark the occasion, the congregation has organized a special service and family picnic Sunday meant to re-enact the 18th century church experience.

During worship, the congregation will use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Clergy and church members will wear period costumes, according to The Charleston Post and Courier.

Designated a historic landmark in 1970, Stephen’s Church is an excellent and well-preserved example of a small Georgian brick country parish church constructed on a rectangular plan, according to the SC Department of Archives and History.

Built in 1769, the structure “exhibits unusual architectural pretensions, because it includes a high gambrel roof with Jacobean curvilinear gables, exterior Doric pilasters, and an ornamented tray ceiling,” accordingto the information provided by the National Register of Historic Places. “In order to incorporate an ornamented tray ceiling, the high gambrel roof used here is uncommonly heavy and the Palladian window over the altar is too small. The walls are laid in Flemish bond. Doors and windows have fanlights above and are topped by segmental brick arches.”

Francis Villepontoux and A. Howard provided the brick and acted as architects; William Axson was the master mason. The initials of these men are cut into the brickwork.

St. Stephen’s was incorporated in 1788 and regular services were discontinued in 1808. The building was kept up, however, and reopened for regular worship service again in 1932.