At the annual meeting of the Preston District Congregational Union in 1871, strong representations were made as to the necessity of building a chapel in Grange over Sands with services starting eventually in a room at the Liberal Club 1889, thanks to a grant from the Union.
Built in 1853 in a Victorian Gothic style, it is a light and airy building with fine 20th century oak pews, panelling and parquet flooring, coupled with some beautiful stained glass windows and a number of interesting memorial plaques.
The original church was designed by J Murray. It was built on land given by widow Mrs Susannah Newby, from part of the garden of her farmhouse, and the money for the building was raised largely through the endeavours of another woman, Miss Sarah Clarke of Liverpool. She had come to Grange on holiday and was distressed that the people of Grange had to walk in all weathers either to Cartmel or Lindale to worship.
The church was consecrated in 1853, but has been enlarged and altered over the years. The north aisle was added in 1861, the west porch in 1904, and alterations were made to the chancel and lay chapel in 1932 by Paley (of Austin and Paley), but all is in keeping with the original Gothic style. Recent renovations have included a new kitchen and a social area in the south aisle.
The layout of the building consists of the nave, north and south aisles separated by slender arcades of pairs of polished stone columns to give a particularly broad ground floor plan. A local benefactor, Lt Col Hibberd, donated £1000 in memory of his wife and son (an MP and the first officer to be killed in action in May 1940), for oak pews and matching oak parquet flooring; an oak panelled baptistry with a decorated oak font was added later, and the whole of the west end was panelled in matching oak, to include the churchwardens pews.
On entering from the west end, visitors are immediately aware of a light, warm and airy church, an effect largely provided by the honey coloured oak. There are some beautiful stained glass windows, the most notable being in the Lady Chapel and baptistry. Memorial plaques line the walls; the oldest one commemorates Sarah Ann Clarke, and another the Revd Oswald Sergeant, Canon of Manchester, for his ‘exertions in promoting the building of the church’. Nearby is a memorial to the first incumbent, the Revd Wilson Rigg, who nearly lost his life when his coach was overturned as he was travelling across the sands from Lancaster to take up his post in Grange. Of historical interest is one to Evan Leigh, who drowned when the SS Lusitania sank in 1915, the first ship to be sunk by torpedo from a German submarine.
There are publications about the heritage of the church available to buy.