St. Philip's Parish

November 30, 1706–1865

St. Philip’s was one of the ten original parishes created by the Church Act of 1706. The parish consisted of the city of Charleston and was served by St. Philip’s Church, built between 1683 and 1692, which sat at the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets. The rapid growth of the city made it necessary to build a larger church. The first services held at the new St. Philip’s Church on Church Street took place sometime in the mid-1720s. In 1751 the city was divided into two parishes, with everything south of Broad Street in the new parish of St. Michael’s. St. Philip’s Church burned in February 1835, and the rebuilding project was completed in 1850. The 1850 church continues to serve Charleston’s Episcopal worshipers into the twenty-first century.

Charleston was the cultural and social center of the lowcountry, and the city’s parishes were the most demographically diverse in the state. Along with the planters, free blacks, and slaves in the city there were also many ethnic Germans and Sephardic Jews who worked in a variety of trades. Nevertheless, Charleston was dominated socially and economically by planters and the businessmen who shipped their staple crops. In 1847 over seventy-four percent of the U.S. rice crop was exported from the city.

St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s Parishes were combined into one voting district for the purpose of electing the city’s legislative delegation, and they jointly elected two senators since each parish and district was allotted one delegate to the state Senate. The parish system was abolished with the adoption of the constitution of 1865, and St. Philip’s Parish was incorporated into Charleston District.

Fraser, Walter J., Jr. Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989.

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

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The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title St. Philip's Parish
  • Coverage November 30, 1706–1865
  • Author
  • Keywords St. Philip’s was one of the ten original parishes created by the Church Act of 1706, Charleston was the cultural and social center of the lowcountry, and the city’s parishes were the most demographically diverse in the state, dominated socially and economically by planters and the businessmen who shipped their staple crops, incorporated into Charleston District
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date December 3, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 2, 2016
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