196 Brick Church Road
City Directories and History: St. Stephen’s Church, erected in 1767-1769, is an excellent and well-preserved example of a small Georgian brick country parish church constructed on a rectangular plan. The structure exhibits unusual architectural pretensions, because it includes a high gambrel roof with Jacobean curvilinear gables, exterior Doric pilasters, and an ornamented tray ceiling. In order to incorporate an
ornamented tray ceiling, the high gambrel roof used here is uncommonly heavy and the Palladian window over the altar is too small. The walls are laid in Flemish bond. Doors and windows have fanlights above and are topped by segmental brick arches. Francis Villepontoux and A. Howard provided the brick and acted as architects; William Axson was the master mason. The initials of these men are cut into the brickwork. St. Stephen’s was incorporated in 1788 and regular services were discontinued in 1808. Twice, however, the building was repaired during the 19th century and thus saved from destruction. In 1932 the church was again reopened for regular worship. Listed in the National Register April 15, 1970. Designated a National Historic Landmark April 15, 1970. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
AFLLC’s database of historic artisans in S.C. list Mr. William Axon as a partner of one Mr. Stephen Townsend who were both listed and considered furniture makers as well as “perhaps” contractors. If they laid the brick at the Chapel, it was under their supervision and not manual labor. Mr. Francis Villepontoux was a well respected brick maker in Charleston County.
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IMAGE GALLERY via photographer Bill Segars – 2004