Fenwick Hall

1730 –

In the mid–eighteenth century Fenwick’s son, Edward, constructed two-story brick flanking buildings, one a stable for fine racehorses, the other for coaches and carriage horses.

(Johns Island). Fenwick Hall, earlier known as Headquarters Plantation, stands on Johns Island near the Stono River, presenting its primary facade toward River Road. About 1730 John Fenwick constructed the original section, “a fine example of the symmetry and grace of Georgian design.” The regular proportions of its two-story brick facade are accented by strong brick quoins.

In the mid–eighteenth century Fenwick’s son, Edward, constructed two-story brick flanking buildings, one a stable for fine racehorses, the other for coaches and carriage horses. These flankers, on line with the residence, lengthened the visual plane of the domestic compound. A half-century later John Gibbes added a perpendicular wing along one end of the house, its ends projecting as polygonal bays in a style made fashionable by the Adam brothers of England. Robert Brown offered the plantation for sale in 1810, two thousand acres with “an exceeding good dwelling house, containing 13 upright rooms, a large kitchen and stable all built of bricks. . . . The grounds around the buildings are elegantly laid out.”

After several planters enjoyed Fenwick Hall and profited from its rich land, Daniel J. Townsend purchased the tract in 1840. His family held Fenwick Hall until 1876. By 1930 the property was in deplorable condition, mirroring the decline of many former showplaces after the demise of Sea Island cotton. The Charleston architects Simons and Lapham thoroughly reworked the building for Victor Morawetz of New York, retaining the notable interior detail and adding small side wings. Morawetz also constructed a swimming pool building and improved the grounds with rows of live oaks parallel to the ancient avenue.

Iseley, N. Jane, William P. Baldwin, and Agnes L. Baldwin. Plantations of the Low Country: South Carolina 1697–1865. Greensboro, N.C.: Legacy Publications, 1985.

Shaffer, E. T. H. Carolina Gardens. 2d ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1939.

Stoney, Samuel G. Plantations of the South Carolina Low Country. 5th ed. Charleston, S.C.: Carolina Art Association, 1964.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Fenwick Hall
  • Coverage 1730 –
  • Author
  • Keywords Georgian design, Headquarters Plantation, Daniel J. Townsend, Sea Island cotton, Victor Morawetz
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 31, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update September 26, 2016
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