Memoir of Cecil Wray

Edited by Henry Wray

Published Winchester: Jacob and Johnson, 1867

View the pdf of A Memoir of the Rev. Cecil Daniel Wray here.

The last burial in 1866 was that of the Reverend Cecil Daniel Wray, Senior Canon of Manchester, aged 88, who had been a Minister at the church for upwards of 56 years.  His is the only tomb to survive the re-landscaping at the end of the 19th century, and it sits to this day outside the Dean’s Door at the south east corner of the Cathedral.  The Cathedral School of the 1930s, now offices, was built around Canon Wray.

Wray had obviously been a popular figure at the Cathedral.  He had started off as a Chaplain, a contemporary of Joshua Brookes, and a rival to the claim of being the most prolific baptiser and marrier in history.  Later, Wray was elected to a Fellowship, and on the elevation of the Collegiate Church to Cathedral status in 1847, he was one of the Canons, eventually working his way up to the position of Senior Canon and Sub-Dean.

Canon Raines describes how Wray would turn up at the Cathedral in a carriage and four, with liveried footmen; he would bow to the Dean, shake his fellow Canons by the hand, and then proceed to shake the hands of the Minor Canons with two fingers, and to curates he would present a single finger.  On the occasion of his 88th birthday, he set up a fund for the provision of socks for the poor on his birthday each year.  He wrote a memorandum in the front of the account book as follows:

‘I, the Reverend Cecil Daniel Wray, AM, Senior Canon of Manchester, being in the 88th year of my age, having been a member of the Collegiate Church 56 years, and being desirous to leave a small memorial of my intercourse with the poorer persons who usually attended divine service there, have paid over to the treasurer of the Corporation of Manchester, by the hands of the Rev Henry Holme Westmore and the Rev John Troutbeck, present Minor Canons of Manchester, the sum of £100, for which the Corporation undertakes to pay to the said Minor Canons, and their successors, the annual sum of £4.  It is my wish that the said Minor Canons should lay out this interest of £4 in the purchase of good worsted stockings, which they shall give yearly on 21st January, my birthday, or on the following day if the 21st happens to be a Sunday, to eight poor men and eight poor women, usually attending the services at the Cathedral, two pairs of stockings to each.  And if any portion of the £4 remain, it must be distributed as the Minor Canons think best, so that the whole sum may be exhausted each year.  It is also my wish that this Charity should be called “Canon Wray’s Birthday Gift”‘.