History of Garstang Methodist Church

Surprisingly little detail is known of the history of Garstang Methodist church, or how it first came to be established.

It is known that a chapel was built on the present in 1814 site at a cost of £670, which had been donated by the Wesleyan Body. At that time the land was leased at a cost of £5.0.0d per year from the wealthy Kepple family who, besides owning lands in the area, also owned estates in Norfolk.

Writing about it in 1870, 'Atticus' described it as "a serious looking, plain stone building, with several windows in its walls, and a little gateway in front of it. ... It has a very clear respectable interior, but it is marred at one end with an eccentrically shaped gallery and is no way improved by a large stove and a big iron pipe, which turns from it near the Communion rails. There seems to be very little room in the building, but with tight package, we dare say 200 might be got into it".

By about 1870, it seems that the chapel was a little worse for wear, and in a dilapidated condition. So much so, that the Congregation had to spend the sum of £50.0.0d to renovate it.

Clearly though these repairs were only a temporary measure as soon afterwards they decided to try and buy the Chapel, and the land, which surrounded it from the Kepple family. At the same time, they also decided to buy some land at Bonds from them as well, in order to erect a new house for the Minister there.

As a result, they started negotiations with the Rev. William Arnold Walpole Kepple (the owner) for this purpose. By January, 1872, the negotiations seemed to have made some headway, for on the 20th of that month a deposit of £21.1.0d (£21.05) was put down, £20 being the actual deposit and £1.1.0d (£1.05) being the Agent's fee. On the 15th February, 1872, an agreement was finally reached with the Rev. Kepple for "the absolute purchase of the said Chapel and piece of ground and Hereditaments for the price of £200.0.0d".

Accordingly, on the 12th March, 1872, the balance due was forwarded - namely £189.8.0d (£189.40). Of this, £180 was for the remainder of the sum due for the Chapel and its surrounding land, and £9.8.0d (£9.40) was for the Agent's commission.

Around the same time, the land at Bonds for the Minister's house was also purchased. The manse (Prospect House) was completed in July, 1874 at cost nearly £1,000.
Having become the owners of the chapel and its surrounding land, the chapel Trustees decided that it was time to build a new chapel. Led by Messrs. John Storey, James Webb and John Till, the trustees formulated a plan to build a new Chapel and Vestries at a cost of £914.This was approved by the Wesleyan Body on the 9th July, 1877, however, it was apparent that someone, somewhere, had a change of heart, for a modified plan, not only for a new Chapel and Vestries, but also for a Sunday School as well, at a total cost of £1,530.0.0d was approved on the 15th October 1878.

The work must have started quickly, for some-time in 1879 the new Chapel was completed. We know it was completed in this year, as 'Mannex' writing in 1881 said that the Wesleyan Chapel had been "rebuilt in 1879".

But just as today, the Victorian's suffered from inflation, for it had cost nearly £2,000 to build - £470 more than had originally been anticipated.

Since these times successive congregations have not only kept the church in good repair, but have developed it and up-graded it to match the demands of the day and to keep it part of, and in the Garstang community.
In the early 1990's the former caretakers cottage (rear far left of the pictures above) was to become 'The Mustard Seed' a One World shop selling FairtradeTM and other fairly traded food, gifts and card.

In 2005 our Sunday school room was completely re-vamped and became 'Wesleys' our Community Coffee Lounge.

In 2015 the Church again committed itself to be a FAIRATRADE CHURCH and began working towards being accredited as A FAMILY FRIENDLY CHURCH.