The Chapel at Gray’s Inn dates to 1315, and is in fact more ancient than the legal institution it now serves. In its seven-hundred-year history, it has been rebuilt many times, including during the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and again after suffering bomb damage during the Second World War. The first record of a chaplain being employed by Gray’s Inn, dates to 1400.
In 1574, William Charke was appointed as Chaplain. Whilst teaching at Cambridge, he had preached a sermon claiming that the Devil had introduced church hierarchies to subvert true religion. After being expelled for his fanaticism and arriving at Gray’s Inn, the Bishop of London attempted to subdue his extreme views, and had him sent to convert Catholics in the far reaches of the kingdom. He eventually moved to preach at Lincoln’s Inn, during which time he was involved in the imprisonment of Catholic priests.
Thirty years later, in 1599, Roger Fenton began to preach at Gray’s Inn. Like Charke, he was a prolific scholar. He was a vocal advocate of a strict form of Protestantism, whereby Christians should use misery as a means to live closer to God. His most lasting contribution to Protestantism was his involvement in the publishing of the King James Bible, which later became the standard bible in use in the Church of England.
After suffering damage during the Blitz, the Chapel structure unfortunately retains very few features of historical significance, other than a few fifteenth- and sixteenth-century windows. After the Second World War, some of the nineteenth-century stained-glass was removed and put into storage, only to be rediscovered in 2009. The Chapel was rebuilt to designs drafted by Sir Edward Maufe.
Gray's Inn Website