Paying Pews

The boxed pews, such as these made of red cedar in old St. Michael’s Church, were a common method of raising money for congregations in historic #Charleston. The boxes were considered the property of those families who leased them, and the lease money would pay for church maintenance and salaries. There are records throughout Charleston’s history of advertisements for pew leases, and in many cases, sub-leases. The concept lasted until the 20th century, when pews were made available to the public in houses of worship all over town, and the collection plate or basket became the method of gathering cash. An old joke among some parishioners at places such as St. Michael’s is that the most sought-after pews were the boxes behind the pulpit, making it easier to go unnoticed if dozing off during a sermon. <img.src=”Charleston Curiosities” alt=”Boxed Pews”

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