Christ Church Parish

1706–1865

With the introduction of rice as a staple crop in the early eighteenth century, Christ Church became a parish of planters and slaves.

Located on the low, sandy strip of land “Southeast of Wandoe river” in modern Charleston County, Christ Church was one of the ten original parishes created by the Church Act of 1706. Shortly after Charleston was founded in 1670, settlement spilled across the harbor onto the Wando peninsula. A brisk provisions trade in beef, vegetables, and orchard products soon developed between the small farmers of the area and the city. With the introduction of rice as a staple crop in the early eighteenth century, Christ Church became a parish of planters and slaves. By 1720 African slaves made up nearly eighty-six percent of the parish population, and by 1730 the threat of insurrection in Christ Church had become so great that, as one early rector noted, “the People are forced to come to Church with Guns loaded.”

The first church to serve the parish was a small timber structure built in 1707. The congregation quickly outgrew the church and was already in the process of planning a larger one when the building was destroyed by fire in 1725. Construction of a new brick church began immediately and was completed in 1727. Although the edifice was burned by the British in 1782 and its interior demolished by Union troops in 1865, the original walls still stand as part of the present Christ Episcopal Church in modern-day Mount Pleasant. With the abolition of the parish system in 1865, Christ Church Parish became part of Berkeley County.

Gregorie, Anne King. Christ Church, 1706–1959: A Plantation Parish of the South Carolina Establishment. Charleston, S.C.: Dalcho Historical Society, 1961.

Linder, Suzanne Cameron. Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Christ Church Parish
  • Coverage 1706–1865
  • Author
  • Keywords Christ Episcopal Church, planters, slaves
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date May 18, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 11, 2016
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