Grace Chapel

Rockville, Wadmalaw Island, SC
Services are held at 9:00 am during June, July, and August

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF GRACE CHAPEL

Antebellum-era Grace Chapel is part of St. John’s Parish, as territorially established in Colonial times. Originally called the Church on the Rock, and classified within the Parish as a Chapel of Ease, Grace was built in 1840 to serve Wadmalaw families who summered in the village of Rockville to escape the heat, mosquitoes and miasma of the plantations.

Grace Chapel was spared during the Civil War, unlike the Parish’s main church, St. John’s, and another summer chapel at Legareville on Johns Island, which were both destroyed by fire.

Parish journals reflect the first references to the Chapel by the name “Grace” in the postwar 1870s, when it served as the main meeting house of the parishioners.

Because of unclear title to the land on which the Chapel sat, it was moved to its present location in 1884. Only a shell of a building, improvements were begun including the Chancel, which was built in 1890.

Following the great hurricane of 1893, the Chapel was site of a meeting held by Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, who came to organize recovery efforts. Young men of the congregation lined the interior with the Chapel’s distinctive wood paneling as part of the storm damage restoration.

In the early 1900s a new altar was installed and the porch and belfry were added. The historic Chapel is still in regular use today, during the Summer and for special services.