Brightling Church in Sussex, restoration of the ca1820 Nicholls Barrel Organ

The local squire, John Fuller, gave the organ in about 1820. He had already encouraged the psalmody in Brightling church by providing nine bassoons to accompany the singing.

A printed label at the back of the chest reads: ‘W.A.A.Nicholls, son-in-law and successor to the late G.P. England, No.9 Stephen Street, Tottenham Ct. Rd.’

There are six stops: Mixture, Fifteenth, Twelfth, Stopt Diapason, Principal, Open Diapason

Key compass: AA D F G A B c#-g² c A# G# F# E C (43 keys)

The pitch is 434.17Hz at 20ºC. The tuning is 1/4 comma meantone. The wind pressure is 43mm.

The bellows is blown by foot pedal, independently of the barrel mechanism, which means that the ‘player’ can dwell on a note (e.g. the initial reciting note), without worrying about loss of wind.

There are two barrels with 12 chant and hymn tunes each:

Barrel no.1
0 Hanover (old 104th) g#
1 Lord Mornington's chant e
2 Windsor Chapel d
3 unknown f
4 Bristol d
5 Gainsborough g
6 Falcon Street c
7 Abingdon g
8 chant (by P.Dally) a
9 Montgomery d
10 Morton d
11 Old 100th a
12 Hanover (old 104th) g
Barrel no.2
0 Mount Ephraim  c#
1 Sheldon d
2 Adeste fidelis e
3 St George g
4 Irish f
5 New Sabbath d
6 Oxford New c
7 Islington c
8 Easter Hymn d
9 Surrey g
10 Burford g minor
11 St Anne d
12 Mount Ephraim c

The last ones (12) on each barrel are not available, and have been replaced with the transposed tunes at the opposite end of the barrel, which sound ghastly in meantone of course, which may be why there are no notes played in the bottom octave.