(Berkeley County). James Child, founder of Childsbury Town on the Cooper River in St. John’s Berkeley Parish, bequeathed an acre and a half for a chapel. The building was complete by 1725, when the South Carolina legislature passed an act establishing a parochial chapel of ease at the site. Chapels of ease made services more accessible to those who lived far from the parish centers, but most had to share ministers with the parish churches. The minister in 1726, Brian Hunt, reported that he preached at Childsbury once a month, every second Sunday afternoon. In addition to being at the intersection of two Indian trading paths, Childsbury was located at the farthest point that oceangoing vessels could travel up the west branch of the Cooper River. The town boasted a school, a chapel, a tavern, and a ferry.
The plan of Strawberry Chapel is typical of Anglican churches in colonial South Carolina: rectangular with entrances on the north, south, and west sides. The roof is called “jerkin-head” style because the beveled gable resembles a hooded jacket or jerkin. Bull’s-eye windows ornament both gable ends, while single windows flank the doorways and the altar.
In addition to inhabitants of Childsbury, Strawberry Chapel served families from prosperous Cooper River rice plantations. The churchyard at Strawberry contains a special enclosure for the Ball family. The elaborate kinship network of the Balls included people of other names as well, and Strawberry Chapel became a symbol of family continuity in the area. Although no longer in regular use, services were still held at Strawberry Chapel several times per year into the twenty-first century. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Linder, Suzanne Cameron. Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000.
Terry, George D. “‘Champaign Country’: A Social History of an Eighteenth Century Lowcountry Parish in South Carolina, St. Johns Berkeley County.” Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1981.