The Chapel is now over 160 years old, but the site, as a site for religious worship, is 150 years older than that. The Quaker Meeting House was built in 1704, and is the oldest building in the village to look from the outside as it did on the day it was completed.
Toward the end of the century, meeting at Wray was in decline and following the rise in Methodism, a purpose built place of worship was needed. The first Methodist Chapel in the area was built in Lancaster in 1806. Methodists from further away in places such as Wray like many other villages in the country were left to meet in members houses, some not very big at all. The Chapel was built in 1848. The land, fifteen yards by fifteen, just large enough for the erection of a Chapel was sold to them for £15 by a local landowner out one of one of his fields. The site may have been particularly attractive because by this time the Friends' Meeting House had been virtually unused for many years, and they may have had an eye to the possibility of taking it over at some time in the future.
The outer walls stood as they do now. The pulpit was at the east end and either because the ground was not even, or to allow the congregation a better view of the preacher, the floor ran up to the west wall in a series of shallow steps. The entrance faced Hornby Road, over the door was a plaque, now very worn on which were the words "Wesleyan Chapel 1848." A flight of steps and a gate led from the road to the door.
Following the second world war, it was decided a ‘comprehensive scheme for repair and alteration be prepared by a qualified architect.’ The Chapel was nearly 100 years old and there was a great deal to do. It needed adequate heating, electric light, a new entrance, new seating, a vestry and car parking. There was great need for adequate kitchen and toilet facilities. In 1958 the Methodists bought the Meeting House and its orchard and the alterations to the Chapel had gone ahead. The floor levelled, pulpit moved to the west end of the building, the doorway moved to the east end opening into a lobby. The heating and lighting became electrical, the seating was altered and at a later date the much needed vestry was built.
In 2013 a similar redevelopment took place to that fifty years previous. Following a couple of years in the planning the work is now complete and the benefits are being enjoyed. With no changes in over half a century, the interior was beginning to look tired, dated and inefficient. In the view to create a much more modern, up to date worship space which will be more flexible, chairs have replaced the dated and shabby pews. Following a successful dry-lining project to solve an ever worsening damp problem in 2011, underfloor heating and further insulation in the loft space has forever improved the warmth and efficiency of the building. A new, more light and spacious porch has brightened up the entrance and created a much more inviting opening to the building, not least helped by new lighting, a fresh coat of paint and new carpets throughout. The dated audio visual system has also been renewed. Thanks to generous grants from the North Lancashire Methodist Circuit, The Elizabeth & Richard Wilson Charitable Trust and a remarkable response from members and friends of the church to the Gift Day held at the Chapel, the funds for the project were in place before we began to enable us to complete all the required work. We are indebted to those who gave so generously and with this we trust God for his guidance and are excited for what lies ahead in our updated building.
(Extracts above taken from Wray Methodist Chapel (1848 – 1998) 150th Anniversary commemorative booklet written by Miss. M.E.Garnett. A full copy of which is available from the Chapel.)
Wray Methodist Church - Hornby Road - Wray - Lancaster - LA2 8QN