The Beauty of Holiness: Anglicanism & Architecture in Colonial South Carolina

By Louis P. Nelson | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
BUILDERS AND BUILDING
CULTURE

Positioned above the chancel window of St. Stephen's Parish Church is a curious signature, two perpendicular bricks inscribed with fine lime mortar (FIG. 3.1). The horizontal brick reads, “W Axson 1767,” naming a cabinetmaker who played a key role in the design and construction of the church and the year of its completion. Drawn from contemporary print sources, the vertical brick includes a caricature of Freemasonry, the mysterious fraternity with roots in the guilds of ancient masons (FIG. 3.2). The crossed square and compass below William Axson's name confirms the cabinetmaker's membership in the organization. Such a bold self-promotion by an artisan only a generation before would have been unthinkable, suggesting that by the second half of the eighteenth century, the roles of artisans and commissioners as church designers was beginning to shift. South Carolina's Anglican churches provide an extraordinary opportunity to explore transformations in traditional building culture in colonial America. To what extent were artisans like Axson designers of colonial churches, and to what extent did his identity as a Freemason shape his career?

From the beginning of the century, a small group of local elite men was selected by the parish vestry to oversee the building process. Taking the vestry's instructions regarding the location, size, and building materials, these commissioners began by translating those expectations to a plan on paper. In considering the form and details of the new church, the commissioners consulted with other builders, visited other churches in the region, and consulted the most recent architectural literature. They then took responsibility for the delivery and approval of all building materials and contracted with the various tradesmen essential to the construction of a large public building— carpenters, masons, joiners, plasterers, and glaziers, among others. The commissioners remained intimately involved with the process from the drafting of a plan to the completion of the building. But this model for construction management was slowly transformed over the course of the century. By later decades, commissioners began to negotiate not with multiple craftsmen but with a single undertaker, who contracted with the commissioners to oversee the entire project for a set rate. Simultaneous with the rise of the undertaker, certain artisans found greater success in an increasingly competitive market by demonstrating fluency in architectural fashion and becoming tastemakers

FIGURE 3.1 William Axson
signature brick at St. Stephen's
Parish Church, Berkeley County,
1767 (Historic American Build-
ings Survey, Prints and Photo-
graphs Division, Library of
Congress; photo by Charles N.
Bayless, 1978)

-113-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Beauty of Holiness: Anglicanism & Architecture in Colonial South Carolina
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 483

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.