(Cheraw). Old St. David’s was the parish church for St. David’s Parish, established in 1768 from portions of St. Mark’s and Prince Frederick’s Parishes, or modern-day Chesterfield, Marlboro, Darlington, and portions of Florence Counties. Construction on the church began in 1770, and the building was in use by 1773. Thomas Bingham was the carpenter.
Similar to other colonial churches, although less ornate, the original frame church was fifty-three feet long and thirty feet wide with a jerkin-head roof. During the Revolutionary War, the British used the church as a hospital, and several British soldiers are buried in the churchyard. Following the war the Anglican Church was disestablished, clergy were scarce, and the church was used only occasionally by other denominations.
In 1819 the Episcopal Church, successor to the Anglican Church, sent the Reverend Andrew Fowler to hold services in St. David’s. In 1826 the congregation added a vestibule and a steeple and relocated the stairs to the gallery. A vestry room was later added to the east end.
During the Civil War the church was in the path of both General William Hardee’s retreating Confederates and General William Sherman’s advancing Union army. One of the first Confederate monuments in the country was erected in the church graveyard in 1867.
In need of more space, the congregation completed a new church on Market Street in 1916, and Old St. David’s was used only sporadically thereafter. Old St. David’s was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Four years later St. David’s Parish gave the old church building to the Chesterfield County Historic Preservation Commission. The commission restored the building to the period of 1826. It is frequently visited and used for weddings and civic events.
Godfrey, William. An Historical Sketch of Old St. David’s Church, Cheraw, South Carolina from 1768 to 1916. Cheraw, S.C., 1916.
Gregg, Alexander. History of the Old Cheraws. 1867. Reprint, Greenville, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1991.
Holcomb, Brent H., ed. St. David’s Parish, South Carolina: Minutes of the Vestry, 1768–1832, Parish Register, 1819–1924. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1979.
Waddill, Helen Brackett, et al. Old St. David’s, Cheraw, South Carolina, 1770–1947. N.p., n.d.