Short History of the Church

A Short History of West Horsley Chapel.

West Horsley Methodist Chapel was built and opened for worship in April 1876 as reported in “The Surrey Advertiser and County Times” -

“Easter Monday was quite a red letter day for the history of Methodism at West Horsley. For many years the Wesleyans have had a cause in the village and a chapel has been sadly needed but until lately they have not been in a position to arise and build.”

Our Chapel is one of several built during a resurgence of Methodism in Surrey. Chapels were built in Effingham in 1854, in Cobham in 1862 and Ripley 1869. Open air services were being held under the oak tree on the green in West Horsley and local people decided to raise money to buy land and to build. The grocer’s shop next door to the Chapel was run by a Devonian, Charles Bruce, who was a Wesleyan preacher, so it appears likely that he was one of those preaching under the tree and influential in getting the Chapel built.

The Chapel flourished. In the early days preachers came on foot, by bicycle, pony and trap or on the train. They usually brought their lunch, stayed for two services and played the harmonium. At the turn of the Century a group of young people cycled out from Guildford to help with the Sunday School.

The Congregation was always small and Its fortunes were closely linked with those of the Sunday School which went through several closures followed by recovery. In 1936, the Diamond Jubilee of the Chapel, a hall was built, known as the School Room. This was at first mainly used by the Sunday School children, but from the 1980s onwards used for outreach activities. In the sixties the Chapel was near to closing, but the congregation was always very committed. Some families have been loyal supporters for two or more generations. The Chapel building has been very carefully maintained and modernised. In 2011 the old hall was demolished and the new Wesley room is now the focus of many activities.  Thus for one hundred and thirty five years the tradition of Methodist worship has been upheld in West Horsley.

If you are interested in reading a fuller account, copies of John Lawn’s History are available.

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