Huguenot Church

Infobox_nrhp | name =Huguenot Church
nrhp_type = nhl

caption = Hugenot Church
location= 136 Church St., Charleston, South Carolina
lat_degrees = 32
lat_minutes = 46
lat_seconds = 49.97
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 79
long_minutes = 55
long_seconds = 45.01
long_direction = W
locmapin = South Carolina
area =
built =1844, consecrated 1845
architect= E. B. White (architect)
architecture= Gothic Revival
designated= November 07, 1973cite web|url= |title=Huguenot Church |accessdate=2008-03-08|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service]
added = November 07, 1973cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
governing_body = Private

The Huguenot Church, built in 1844 in Charleston, South Carolina, was the first Gothic Revival church in South Carolina and was designed by architect Edward Brickell White. It is also known as the French Huguenot Church and was originally affiliated with the Calvinist Reformed Church of France, but it is now the only independent Huguenot church in the United States.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.citation|title=PDFlink| [ National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: The Huguenot Church] |32 KB|date=April 20, 1973 |author=Tray Stephenson and Bernard Kearse |publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [ "Accompanying one photo, exterior, undated"] |32 KB]

History of the Huguenots in Charleston

Huguenot cross, a symbol of the Huguenot community] The Huguenots, who were French Calvinists who faced massive persecution in France, began to settle in other areas in the sixteenth century, founding such failed colonies as Fort Caroline in Florida, as well as settling in established areas, such as South Africa, Britain, and existing colonies such as New Netherlands and Virginia. More than 400,000 Huguenots left France in search of religious freedom. A group of 45 Huguenots arrived in Charleston in 1687, where they constructed the first French Huguenot Church. This church was destroyed, in 1796, due to fire, and a second church was built in 1800. Due to a decline in membership and attendance, the church closed in 1832. It was reopened in 1844 when it was torn down to make way for the current church.

Design and Construction

The present church was constructed in 1845 by Edward Brickell White, a local architect who had also constructed a number of Greek and Roman Doric buildings in the area.

According to the South Caroline Department of Archives and History, "the Huguenot Church was the first Gothic Revival building built in Charleston.... The building is stucco on brick with a single tier of Gothic windows and is three by six bays in proportion. It shows a quantity of pinnacle-topped buttresses, a battlement parapet, and dripstones. Cast-iron crockets are located on the pinnacles over the front windows and front gable. The use of pinnacled buttresses on the front elevation as well as the flanks might lead one to expect an interior with nave and aisles; however, the interior is a single cell with plaster ribbed grained vaulting. Its width in relation to its height gives it an unexpected sense of spaciousness for a building of its size."cite web|url=
title=Huguenot Church, Charleston County (136 Church St., Charleston) |accessdate=2008-03-28|work=National Register Properties in South Carolina listing|publisher=South Carolina Department of Archives and History

This third church also sustained damage, during the Civil War and the Charleston Earthquake of 1866. For most of the 20th century, the church was not used for regular religious services. The local community of Huguenot-descended did occasionally open it for weddings, organ recitals, and some occasional services organized by the Huguenot Society of South Carolina. Today's congregation dates from 1983.

Current use

The church now holds regular services, which are in English, although since 1950, an annual mass has been said in French to celebrate the spring. The congregation still teaches Calvinist doctrine, and its liturgical services are derived from those developed by Neufchatel and Vallangin, from 1737 and 1772, respectively.


External links

* [ Huguenot Church, Charleston County (136 Church St., Charleston)] , at South Carolina Department of Archives and History
* [ French Protestant {Huguenot) Church website]
* [ National Park Service description of the church]
* [ Historic Charleston's Religious and Community Buildings, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]
* [ Powder Magazine listing for the church]

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