A History of Radnor, South Carolina

Found on quite a few maps of South Carolina as early as 1764 and as late as 1795, a small village named Radnor can be found west of the well-known early town of Willton, situated along the Combahee River in what is today Colleton County.

According to the Depression Era WPA book entitled, "South Carolina - A Guide to the Palmetto State" within the Federal Writers Project named the American Guide Series, first published in 1941 by the Oxford University Press (NY) - "near the Combahee [River] the town of Radnor was laid out in 1734 by William Bull, and its site unsuccessfully advocated in 1763 as a port of entry."

Apparently, the small village of Radnor continued to exist as of 1941, but I have not been able to find in on any available maps later than the 1790s.

From the book entitled "The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina - Volume 1, 1514-1861," by Lawrence S. Rowland, Alexander Moore, and George C. Rogers, Jr., published in 1996 by the University of South Carolina Press:

"The town of Radnor was carved out of William Bull's Newbury Plantation and laid out as early as 1734. This was at the landing of the Combahee ferry, which was established in 1715. In 1741, a bridge replaced the ferry, but by 1754 the bridge had fallen into the river and was replaced by a rope ferry which served as the principal crossing of the lower Combahee for the rest of the colonial area. Radnor was established as a market town by an Act of the Commons House of Assembly on March 11, 1737. The project was never a commercial success, and William Bull was still left holding almost all the town lots at the time of his death in 1755. By 1754, Colonel John Mullryne of Beaufort had built a store, lodging house, and public house at Radnor. This was the only colonial enterprise in the town. It was housed in a two-story frame building with a one-story veranda across its forty-foot front. In the 1750s, this establishment was managed by Katherine Weyerhuysen.

Radnor Plan - 1734

In "The Statutes at Large of South Carolina - Volume III," Page 486 identifies "An Act for settling a Fair and Markets in Radnor, in the Parish of St. Helena, in Granville County," passed on March 11, 1737/38, but also asserts that "the original not now to be found."
For those interested, Radnor is a well-known place name in the country of Wales. The county of Radnorshire was created early after the English conquered Wales in 1282, and it was on the border with England and its county named Herefordshire. Two very old towns in Radnorshire share the name as well - Old Radnor, and New Radnor, about six/seven miles apart.

Old Radnor had been around since at least 900 A.D., and perhaps was established earlier. New Radnor dates to the 1500s. Both continue to exist to this date. However, they are both simply ancient Welsh towns with little activity, commerce, and virtually no industry other than farming and grazing of sheep.

Radnorshire was abolished in the 1970s when the UK restructured the Welsh counties, and it is now a part of the new Powys County within Wales - still along the border with Herefordshire, England.

Therefore - the village/hamlet in 18th century South Carolina named Radnor would most certainly have had something to do with the apparent Welshmen who had immigrated to the area. Or, William Bull was of Welsh descent.

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved