“When God inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, I (wisdom) was there.” – Proverbs 8:27More about Circles. I am practically jumping with excitement over the book that arrived in today’s mail. It is called The Circular Church, Three Centuries of Charleston History by Joanne Calhoun. It was printed by The History Press a local press that prints regional history books. Their books are a visual and sensual delight, beautifully designed and carefully printed. This book is no exception; it is loaded with quality photographs and visuals. And a whole chapter on the graveyard! I am so interested in details about the sculptors, the mysterious stonecutters who rarely signed their art.
The White Meeting House, as it was called then (because of its color, according to McCrady’s History) was organized in 1681 as a dissenter church which meant “not” Anglican. It promised religious freedom, and set out to attract nonconforming settlers. The round design is said to be the idea of Martha Laurens, wife of the great physican and historian, Dr. David Ramsay. An intellectual equal to her husband who could read fluently by the age of three, she is credited by her husband for a the idea of a circular design for the new church building in 1806.
There is so much to say about the art, the architect, the stone sculptors, the congregants (masters and slaves, who were, indeed, members here, and that whole complicated arrangement) the buried, the ministers, one of whom was, of course, the interesting actor turned pastor, William Hutson, my ancestor. Today I will simply begin to draw this circle.