• Thaxted, Essex restoration of 1821 Henry Cephas Lincoln 3 manual and pedal organ

    The organ was restored by Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn in 2013-4. It was originally built by Henry Cephas Lincoln for St. John’s Chapel, Bedford Row in Holborn, London (a proprietary chapel, i.e. not a parish church and maintained by private subscriptions and pew rents). The chapel was closed for renovation in 1821 and the organ was installed towards the end of that year before the building reopened. The organist was the daughter of the minister, Theophania Cecil, who published voluntaries in ca1812 and psalms and hymn tunes in 1814 (for the original John Harris organ, which went to Blackheath). A contemporary thought her playing “grave, devotional, and edifying”.

    The new organ would have been more up-to-date and worked more smoothly than the existing organ by John Harris (1724). It had a second Great Open Diapason (though the same scale as the front Open), a mixture divided into Sesquialtera/Cornet (therefore of principal scale) and Mixture, a somewhat extended swell organ (though still with the sliding shutter of the old nag’s head swell), unison pedal pipes played from a full-size pedalboard with German-style sharps, and couplers. It also perhaps sounded less brilliant and more polite.

    In 1856 it was discovered that the ceiling of the chapel had shifted and sunk, and the chapel was abandoned. The organ was moved by G.M.Holdich to Thaxted in Essex in 1858, to the north transept of this magnificent mediaeval church. Holdich was a conservative organ builder; he left the organ more or less as found, though replacing the couplers and re-leathering the bellows, with a new inverted fold in the reservoir. At the opening event Holdich himself contributed, playing a pastoral symphony.

    In the early 20th century the organ was a great favourite of Gustav Holst, who lived in the village for many years and wrote much of the Planets Suite there. The organ remains intact apart from a replacement Great roller board (1907) and the unfortunate loss of the Great Trumpet, Choir Bassoon and Great Mixture (much of which was found crumpled in a box under the organ, and odd pipes in the Sesquialtera). It is the earliest surviving English church organ with (almost) all its original pipes and mechanism surviving intact.

    The restoration owes a great deal to Sybil King, to the Organ Committee, and to the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, Viridor Credits and other funders. The consultant to the project was Nicholas Thistlethwaite who has written a booklet about the organ available from John Brennan (Positif Press Oxford) at The organ from before the restoration can be heard on the Historic Organs Sound Archive pages played by Anne Page.

    Great Organ (FF GG-f³)  
    Open Diapason Front 8
    Open Diapason (C-f³) 8
    Stopped Diapason 8
    Principal 4
    Twelfth II
    Fifteenth 2
    Sesquialtera (FF GG-bº) III-IV
    Cornet (c¹-f³) IV
    Mixture II
    Trumpet 8
    Choir Organ (FF GG-f³)  
    Stopped Diapason 8
    Dulciana (grooved bass) 8
    Principal 4
    Flute 4
    Fifteenth 2
    Bassoon 8
    Swell Organ (eº-f³)  
    Open Diapason 8
    Stopped Diapason 8
    Principal 4
    Trumpet 8
    Hautboy 8
    Cremona 8
    Pedal Organ (FF-cº)   
    Pedal pipes 8

    Coupler Swell [Sw-Gt]
    Pedals Great
    Pedals Choir
    Lever pedal to nag’s head swell
    Straight, flat pedalboard

    pitch: A428Hz at 15ºC
    tuning: slightly modified 1/6th comma meantone

    The sound file is from the Historic Organ Sound Archive of the National Pipe Organ Register. For more recordings go to

  • Powderham Castle Devon Restoration of 1769 Brice Seede Chamber Organ

    The organ was bought for £154 from Brice Seede by William Courtenay 2nd Viscount in 1769. The organ was originally only a single manual organ without pedals and was placed in the old mediaeval chapel on the site of the north range of the west court. It was probably moved to the elegant 1795 Music Room in 1837, and expanded with a Swell organ and pulldown pedals, perhaps by Henry Crabb of Exeter. The famous Axminster carpet has had to be moved away from the centre of the room towards the windows, to accommodate the organ.

    In 1865 Henry Dicker of Exeter altered the Pedal compass to C – c¹ (25 notes), and added the Bourdon and in 1868 he extended the Swell compass down to cº from fº, with extra keys added to the 1837 keys, a new Oboe (‘Hautbois’), and he replaced the Swell Stopt Diapason with a new one. In the place of the Great Trumpet he added a Clarabella from c¹.

    Between January and May 2013 the musical and mechanical parts of the organ were restored by Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn. The case has been repainted with similar colours to the original, through the whole of the Music Room, so it was decide to leave the case. The organ was left essentially as it was found.

    GG AA – e_ (57 notes)cº – e_ (41 notes)C – c_ (25 notes)
    Open DiapasonOpen DiapasonBourdon
    Stopt DiapasonStopt Diapason
    Sesquialtera II (GG-bº)
    Cornet II (c_-e_)
    Trumpet (c_ – e_)

    Couplers: Pedal Coupla (Great to Pedal)
    Copula (Swell to Great)
    Shifting movement reducing to 8.8.2 (“to remove the loud stops”)
    Swell pedal (not balanced, up is closed, down is open)

    The pitch is now a¹=440Hz at 19ºC (it was lower in 1769). The tuning is now a modified 1/6th comma meantone tuning, with good thirds, and a wolf fifth divided over neighbouring fifths, indicated by the pipe lengths, provided in 1865/8.

    The wind pressure is 57mm or 2¼ ins, which is presumably the same as it was originally.

    The metal principals are of a single scale, which was quite usual for the period, and of the same scale as the large church organ which Seede made for Chippenham church, which was less usual. That is, they are ‘church scale’ not chamber organ scale which was six pipes narrower. The Tierce treble and Cornet are the only stop with a different scale, four pipes larger, to give an impression of a church solo Cornet stop in the treble. It is unusual at this period to have the tierce withdrawn from the Sesquialtera/Cornet. The stops together make the usual Sesquialtera 17.19.22 and Cornet 12.15.17.

  • St Patrick’s, Soho Square Restoration of 1793 Robert & William Gray Organ

    St Patrick’s church was probably the first Roman Catholic church to be built after the Reformation which was not a private chapel. It was provided partly for the Irish labourers building the ‘New Road’ (i.e. Euston Road and Marylebone Road). Because Roman Catholic worship was still illegal and could not make a public display, the church occupied the Saloon to the rear of Carlisle House, which had been run by Madame Theresa Cornelys as a venue for parties and masquerades for fashionable society, and also for public concerts, including the then fashionable Johann Christian Bach and Josef Haydn. It was here that Joseph Merlin introduced his newly-invented roller skates, while playing a violin, and crashed into a Chippendale mirror, smashing his violin and himself.

    The present magnificent building was first used on St Patrick’s Day 1893. The organ, which had already been rebuilt by Hill in 1882, was transferred to the new church. In 1936 it was replaced with a new organ by Bevingtons, whose workshop was behind the church. The case was kept but the tonal and mechanical parts were moved to a new church in Maida Vale. By 1980 the new organ had ceased to function and the new church had been condemned. Fortunately for this organ, John Rowntree and Martin Renshaw brought the 18th century pipes and wind chest back to St Patrick’s and stored them in the organ, making the present reconstruction possible.

    An inventory file of 1794 lists “A capital organ, long octaves in a mahogany case. Two sets of keys, great organ and swell, and one octave of double diapason pipes. Made by Messrs. Grays. Cost £262 10s.” In ca1810 Henry Leffler recorded the stop list as follows:

    Open Diapason Open Diapason Pedal Pipes
    Stop Diapason Stop Diapason
    Principal Trumpet
    Twelfth Hautboy

    Key compass:
    Great GG AA – f ³ 58 notes
    Swell f° to f³ 37 notes
    Pedals GG – F# 11 notes

    Pitch: a¹ = 445Hz at 18ºC the pitch established by the Great and Swell Stopped Diapasons, which have never been cut down, and the alterations to the tuning windows of the front pipes
    Tuning: circulating temperament proposed by Thomas Young in 1799 which he claimed was used by the best London builders. Young lived nearby.

    Leffler notes that “Mr Novello” was organist, that is Vincent Novello, organist composer and founder of the famous publishing company. Leffler also made it clear that the pedals were independent, of stopped wood and at sub-octave pitch, the earliest in England, provided for doubling the octave in Novello’s arrangements of orchestral music.
    The organ sounds magnificent in the church, which is lined with marble. It will make an important contribution to a notably musical church. And it can provide an insight into the revival of Roman Catholic service music in England in the late 18th and early 19th century.

    Information about the church, its services and activities can be found at A restoration report with pipe measurements and other technical details is available from the builders.

  • New Wardour Castle Restoration of John England 1776 Chamber Organ

    The organ was made in 1776; ‘Feb 1775’ is written on the GG key. It was made by John England, who was nephew to George England (d.1775). John may have been his successor. He died in 1791 “much afflicted with the gout”.

    Open Diapason GG – F# Stop Diapason with wood helpers, G – e³ open metal
    Stop Diapason bass and treble GG – e³ stopped wood
    Principal GG – e³ open metal
    Flute GG – g² stopped wood, g#² – e³ open wood
    Fifteenth GG – e³ open metal
    Sexquialtra bass and Cornet treble 3 ranks; GG – bº, c¹ – e³
    Trumpet bass and treble GG – F# 4ft, G – e³ 8ft

    Sesquialtera/Cornet III GG 1 3/5’ 1 1/3’ 1’
    gº 2’ 1 3/5’ 1 1/3’
    c#¹ 2 2/3’ 2’ 1 3/5’

    shifting movement reduces to Diapasons and Principal

    pitch a¹ = 435.7Hz @ 19.6ºC
    wind pressure 55mm
    keyboard compass GG – e³

    When first made a small Swell organ was prepared for, but never installed. The organ acquired its façade when installed at Wardour. There was also a second shifting movement pedal, whose pedal still exists, though the plinth only has a hole for one. The organ was tuned by Alexander Buckingham in 1835. The organ remained unrestored till 1967 when Bishop & Son from Ipswich (John Budgen) restored it, presumably for Cranborne Chase Girls’ School. Bishops removed the feeder bellows and replaced it with an electric blower, re-leathered the pallets and cut the pipes down and fitted tuning slides. The flat 18th century pitch may have been raised closer to modern A440 and the original irregular tuning system was changed to equal temperament. The fabric backing behind the feet of the dummy gilded front pipes is synthetic silk, presumably also 1967.

    The organ was restored for Jasper Conran in March 2012, re-leathering the bellows, repairing and cleaning out decorators’ dust and rubbish. The tuning system chosen was an English 18th century organ tuning based on Renatus Harris’s instructions from the 1700s, used by G&G at St Botolph Aldgate ca1704. It is an irregular meantone tuning with good thirds and a spreading of the wolf fifth which makes all the keys playable round the circle of fifths.

  • Odiham, All Saints Church Hampshire New Church Organ

    This new organ was first used at a service of dedication on Sunday September 25th 2011. It is based on early 18th century English organs, mainly the Bernard Smith organs at St Mary Finedon in Northamptonshire and Great St Mary’s in Cambridge, and the Gerard Smith organ at St Lawrence Whitchurch in Middlesex.

  • Walton on Thames restoration of casework and front pipes of 1673 Bernard Smith organ

    The organ was supposed to have been the one made by Bernard Smith for the private chapel at Windsor Castle in 1673-4. It seems an unlikely story since there is no subsequent story about this organ having been royal, and the standard of the casework does not seem to be the same as the rest of the chapel. However, on stylistic grounds there can be no doubt that this organ case was made by Bernard Smith, and that it was one of the first that he made in this country.

    The organ was rebuilt by Hedgeland, by Bishop and finally by Rushworth and Draper in 1936. The organ was seen and photographed by the Revd. Andrew Freeman in 1910 and ca1920. In all this time the 1673 front remained attached in a rather undignified way to the front of an expanding organ. This organ was replaced with an electronic organ in 2003 and finally removed in 2009. Nick Hagen made a new lower case in 2009, as it might have been made originally. It is not impossible that a 6 or 7 stop organ in the style of Smith’s organ may one day again fill the case, alongside the electronic organ. Or that one day Elizabeth Holford may be asked to conserve the painted pipe front and paint the woodwork as it might have been originally.

    There is a Harley monograph about the organ case:

  • St Swithun, Worcester, Restoration of the 1795 Robert and William Gray/ 1845 John Nicholson Organ

    This organ was restored in 2009-10 for the Churches Conservation Trust (in whom the church is vested) and the Friends of St Swithuns (who raised the funds and now encourage the activities associated with the organ). A single manual organ was built by the brothers Robert and William Gray (according to an 1820 list advertising their organs) and installed in August 1795. By 1822 the organist John Baldwin persuaded the vestry that tastes were changing, the Principal and Fifteenth were exchanged for new ones, the Twelfth re-voiced, the Trumpet replaced with a Dulciana, and perhaps the third rank of the mixture removed, presumably all to make the organ quieter, at least in the tenor and treble.

    In April 1845 John Nicholson completed a new Swell organ, and provided Pedal pipes. In case the organist found the latter tricky, they could be played from the Great keys as well as the Pedal keys. Minor repairs and the usual tunings were carried out over the years, the last being the introduction of tuning slides, electric blower and a new stool in 1956. The hand blowing survives. The reservoir is double fold, both folds are inward. Stone weights give a pressure of 60mm.

    The stop list is as follows, as displayed on the stop jambs, with the Swell stops and couplers in italic. The Great stops were identified with paper labels, which have disappeared though the ink has left traces in the wood. The Swell stops and the couplers have inscribed ivory discs.

    Open Diapason Bourdon Pedal Pipes
    Stop Diapason Open Diapason
    Principal Stop Diaapson
    Twelfth bass Oboe
    Twelfth treble
    Sesquialtera bass
    Cornet treble

    The Mixture was in 1795 and is now again 17.19.22 in the bass and 12.15.17 in the treble dividing at bº/c¹. There is a shifting movement to the Great, taking off all except the Open, Stop Diapason and Dulciana (originally working on the Trumpet).

    The Great keys were originally GG AA C D to f³ (55 notes) but were extended to long octaves with GG# AA# BB and C# in 1845, with these keys playing the pedal pipes only. The 1845 Swell organ starts at tenor C, cº to f³ (42 notes). The Swell organ uses the original 1795 Great keys.

    The pitch was established between the open wood Pedal pipes whose highest level was fixed by not needing to saw any tops, and the front pipes whose lowest level did not involve soldering extra metal in the tuning windows. It is a¹ = 440Hz at 16.7°C. The tuning is a modified meantone tuning with good but not pure thirds, with characteristics shared from the tunings used by J.C.Bishop for St James Bermondsey in 1829 and suggested by Thomas Young in 1800.

    Pictures of the church, and news of the activities of the Friends of St Swithuns (Chairman Will Scott) and future events (including a series of lunchtime concerts on the organ organised by Andrew McCrea) are available on their website: Reports written during the project are available as a restoration report from the workshop. There is a historical and technical report on the organ in preparation, available on CD, from the workshop. Dr Jim Berrow carried out the archival research. The advisor for the restoration project was John Norman.

  • Langton by Spilsby, Lincolnshire, St Peter and Paul, Restoration of the 1860s Henry Bryceson organ

    Made by the London builder, Henry Bryceson of Brook Street, Euston Road, according to a paper label behind glass set into the music desk. This label also records a ‘Prize Medal, Class 10 A’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Bryceson’s workshop was at Brook Street between 1859 and 1867. The organ was cleaned by E. Vickery in Sep 1908 and perhaps by others before him. The organ was restored by Edward Bennett and team during the winter of 2009, and returned to the elegant Georgian village church in May 2010.

    The single manual organ is all enclosed in an oak-grained Gothick softwood case, with gilt dummy wood front pipes. Inside the hinged back panel is a list of ten hymn tunes for each of three barrels. There is no evidence that this was ever a barrel organ, however, and it can be set up and played without its surrounding casework, so the conclusion is that the casework was planned for either a keyboard or a barrel organ. On the same panel is nicely pencilled in large letters ‘Stoke Fleming’. Dimensions of the organ are: Height: 3288mm/ 10′ 9½”. Width: 1610mm/ 5′ 3½”, Depth: main case 1062mm/ 3′ 5¾”.

    The manual keys have 54 notes, C-f³. The ‘pull-down’ pedal board has 30 notes, C-f¹. Above the keyboard are the stop knobs, reading, from left to right:

    Octave Coupler from c¹-f² only
    Open Diapason 8ftC-B open wood, metal from tenor c
    Dulciana 8ft from tenor c
    Stopt Bass 8ft C-B stopped wood
    Stopt Diapason 8ft from tenor c
    Prinicpal 4ft

    The pitch and tuning remain as found, A=446.6 at 18.7° C, and the tuning an unequal equal temperament, perhaps provided in 1908. There have never been tuning slides. The wind pressure is also as found 88mm.

    A trigger pedal operates the swell shutters. Hand- pumped cuckoo feeders fill the double-rise bellows reservoir.

    The restoration owes everything to the fund-raising efforts of David Douglas. A restoration report is available from the workshop.

  • St Teilo’s Church St Fagans Cardiff New Organ in Tudor Style

    The new organ for St Teilo’s church at St Fagans Cardiff

    This organ was made for the project directed by Professor John Harper from Bangor University researching “The experience of worship in late medieval cathedral and parish church”, at the great medieval cathedral church at Salisbury, and the reconstructed parish church of St Teilo’s in the grounds of the Welsh National Museum at St Fagans near Cardiff. A fuller account of the project can be found on the University’s website.

    The new organ is based on the Wetheringsett organ made for the Early English Organ Project in 2001, which was based on the soundboard found in 1977 at Wetheringsett in Suffolk. Its characteristics suggest that this organ was made by an English builder, probably local. They include a long, fully chromatic key compass, choruses of wooden or metal pipes of the same scale and style, each with its own slider, and a voicing style familiar from 17th century English organs, but also Italian and Spanish organs. The organ for St Teilo is physically smaller. Its pipes are based on the only pipes surviving from the mediaeval West Country tradition, from John Loosemore’s 1665 organ for Nettlecombe Court. They are very narrow-scaled and without nicking, so the speech is sibilant and the tone rich.

    The case is a much-reduced version of the case at Old Radnor, copying the carvings. The painted and gilded decoration was provided by Fleur Kelly and Lois Raine, who worked on the painted woodwork at St Teilo’s. painted the wonderful Annunciation and Adoration of the Shepherds on the doors.

    I open metalprincipal 5ft (C – g#_ in front) metalprincipal 5ft (C – g#_ in front) metaloctave metaloctave metalfifteenth
    VI.stopped wood diapason10ft (full compass)

    Key compass: The key compass is C to a², 46 notes, which is the number of grooves in the Wetheringsett soundboard and the compass specified in the contract for Holy Trinity Coventry (1526). It matches the ranges needed for the surviving repertory. This key compass allows for transposition by the player, extended by the sub-octave Diapason for choral and vocal accompaniment in the early 17th century verse style. There is a second keyboard which can be folded down to give ‘singing pitch’ at F – d³, for demonstration purposes.

    Pitch: The nominal pitch is 5ft, i.e. a plainsong pitch a fourth above singing pitch, the basis for all the Tudor organs we know about. The actual pitch is a semitone above A440 at singing pitch.

    Tuning: The tuning system was recommended by Arnolt Schlick in his Spiegel der Orgelmacher published in Heidelberg in 1511, and intended as a guide for good practice throughout the Holy Roman Empire. He was the first writer to give a recipe which mentions every note of the scale. It is a modified form of mean tone tuning, with good (not pure) major thirds and the wolf spread to some extent over neighbouring fifths to allow some modulation (though ab is still much closer to being a g#).


    The outside dimensions of the organ are

    height total340cm (375cm with pinnacles)134ins (148ins)
    height to impost122cm48ins
    plan at pipe level170cm wide x 78.5cm67ins x 31ins
    plan at ground level98cm wide x 78.5cm39ins x 31ins
    ground plan of the wind system134 x 13453ins x 53ins
    staging (= total floor space required)300 x 150120ins x 60ins
  • Dutch Chamber Organ ca1770 Restoration for Christopher Hogwood

    This is a rare example in the UK of a Dutch chamber organ. Its recorded history only goes back to 1956, though the internal markings are Dutch and the style of manufacture is the same as in other historic Dutch chamber organs. The tonal and mechanical parts may have been made by one of the most notable Dutch chamber organ builders. The ornamental pipe front is the only surviving Dutch chamber organ front which imitates a church organ. We don’t know why it came to England, but its musical significance has been enhanced by its acquisition by a pioneer of the Early Music movement, Thurstan Dart, and its use with instrumental ensembles in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The case, soundboard, bellows and pipework were made in ca1760 in Holland, perhaps by Hendrik Hermanus Hess (1735-1794) in Gouda. In ca1800 a new pipe front was added to the case, perhaps in Dordrecht. The dummy metal front pipes are very similar in make to the inside pipes, which suggests a successor worksop, perhaps Pieter Johannes Geerkens (1757-1833) . In the mid 19 th century the organ was restored using letters from the Dordrecht tax office to seal the bar frame. In the early 20 th century the organ came to England. It was found by Thurston Dart in a cottage in Milton just north of Cambridge in 1956 and restored by N P Mander. In 1971 Thurston Dart left the organ to the Oxford University faculty of Music. It was kept in the Holywell Music Room till 1985. In 2004 it was moved from storage to New College Chapel and repaired. In 2009 the organ was sold to Christopher Hogwood and restored by Dominic Gwynn.

    The stop list consists of

    Holpijp 8vt bas/diskant
    Prestant 8vt diskant
    Fluit 4vt bas
    Prestant 4vt diskant
    Octaaf 2vt bas/diskant

    These names are those on the ivory stop labels supplied by Mander in 1956. The lowest pipe of the Prestant 8vt is marked ‘ prest 8 ‘, the Prestant 4vt is marked ‘ Fluijt 4v ‘, the Octav 2vt is marked ‘ octaav 2v ‘. The pipe metal has a high lead content and is thick and soft, unusual because it was evidently thicknessed between metal rollers and not by plane or scraper. The Holpijp and Fluit are stopped pipes made of oak, unusual in Dutch church organs but common in chamber organs. The speech and tone are characteristic, relatively fluty compared with classical English pipework. At some stage a tremulant had been removed, perhaps as late as 1956.

    The key compass is C-d³ (51 notes) divided at bº/c¹. The pitch is now A440 but was originally about half a semitone lower. The tuning is now Werkmeister III, but may originally have been a modified meantone. The metal pipes are now tuned with slides so that the tuning system can be altered (retained at this restoration because the pipe metal is so soft). The wind chest was restored, for the first time since the middle of the 19 th century, a much needed repair.

    The wind is provided with an electric blower only and the original feeder and foot pedal removed in 1956, presumably because the organ was provided with castors. A new blower was placed inside the case at this restoration, which meant that the foot pedal was not replaced.

    The case is 2330mm tall and the bottom case is 1370mm wide and 720mm deep.

  • Liza Caudle’s Georgian Chamber Organ Restoration

    The organ was purchased in 1975 by Dr. Peter Caudle from the Royal School of Church Music at Addington Palace, Croydon in 1975(?). Its earlier owners are not known. For many years the organ had been unplayable.

    The GG key is stamped ‘3 1777’, which is a plausible date for the organ. It was presumably made by a builder of the second rank for a middle class drawing room, though with an entrancing miniature church organ case. The physical evidence suggests the Georgian organbuilder used an earlier windchest and some of its wooden pipes (c.1680-1700) within a new case and with a new mechanism.

    A brass plate reads: Coleman & Willis/Organ Builders/29 Minories London. This suggests a date before 1866 for Coleman & Willis’ work, which included (from the physical evidence): converting the former wedge bellows to a parallel rise bellows, reconstructing the internal framework, and supplying the ‘inside’ metal pipes. A further brass plate reads: “In thankfulness to God for the memory of/Peter Mawe Greany, late I.C.S./This organ was restored by his widow, Grace/1957/ KHUDA HAFIZ” (This is a common parting phrase in Iran and the Indian subcontinent, with the meaning ‘may God be your guardian’). It is not obvious what work was carried out at this restoration.

    The stops are: Stop Diapason (ca1690), Open Diapason (ca1850 originally from gº, now from c¹), Principal (ca1690 GG-E wood, ca1690 front pipes F-G#, ca1850 rest inside), Twelfth Bass (ca1690 stopped wood) Twelfth Treble (ca1850 open metal c¹-c#², 2008 d²-e³ Keraulophon stopknob), Fifteenth (ca1690 GG- dº front pipes, ca1850 d#º to f¹, rest an assortment of old pipes)

    Key compass: GG AA C D – e³ (C – e³ from ca1850). We made new pipes for Stop Diapason AA, Principal GG and Twelfth GG and lengthened Stop Diapason GG, Principal AA and Twelfth AA.

    The pitch is about a¹=440Hz, derived from the front pipes after taping up the tuning slots to the original level. The tuning is now Kellner-Bach.

  • Crick, Northamptonshire, St Margaret of Antioch, Restoration of the 1819 Thomas Elliot Organ

    This organ was restored in 2008-9, with Nicholas Thistlethwaite as advisor, with Nigel Howard as manager of the project for the church and with generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was made by Thomas Elliot in 1819 for the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, Westminster. It was removed in 1837 and moved to Milverton near Leamington Spa, possibly by train since Milverton was then the terminal station for Leamington. It was installed at Crick in 1841, the gift of John Clark the blind organist of the church. In 1852 Henry Elliston (organist at Leamington) extended the Swell from fº to f³ (37 notes) to cº to f³ (42 notes) and the Pedals to GG/AA to cº (17 notes). In 1896 the organ was restored with C compasses, and in 1978 it was restored to playing condition by John Bowen and Robert Shaftoe. In 2009 it was restored to its original stoplist, including GG compass and Choir and Swell reeds (which had been stored under the organ and in the sexton’s hut in the churchyard).

    George Cooper (1793-1843) writing in The Christian Remembrancer thought the organ “generally esteemed the worst instrument of its maker: the tone being extremely harsh and unmusical. It is quantity without quality; and possesses what organ-builders term a cast-iron tone.” In The Musical World he described it as “a source of unceasing annoyance to the choir and organists.” Cooper seems to have had something against Elliot, but there are indications of hasty work in the organ, as if using parts made for another organ assembled rapidly for a royal emergency, perhaps George III’s lying in state since he died a year later. On the other hand, nobody could accuse the organ of having a ‘cast-iron tone’. It is quite restrained and sweet, though still with some of the brightness of 18th century organs. It is probably the earliest organ surviving in Great Britain with all its parts intact – nothing had to be reconstructed, apart from filling in a few gaps in the pipework, especially in the reeds, and supplying some of the GG-BB pipes.

    The reports written during the project and other pictures and information are to be found on the church’s website at There is a report on the organ in preparation, available on CD.

    GG/AA to f³ 58 notes GG/AA to f³ 58 notescº to f³ 42 notes, with Choir bass
    Open Diapason (8’) Stopped Diapason (8’) Open Diapason (8’)
    Stopped Diapason (8’) Dulciana (8’) Stopped Diapason (8’)
    Principal (4’) Principal (4’) Principal (4’)
    Twelfth (2?’) Flute (4’) Trumpet (8’)
    Fifteenth (2’) Cremona (8’) Hautboy (8’)
    Sesquialtra II
    Mixture II
    Trumpet bass & treble (8')

    Pedals (GG to f¹; GG AA AA# BB separate pedals)
    Bourdon 16’

    Pedal Coupler [Pedals to Great]
    Pedals [Choir to Pedal]
    Swell to Great
    Swell pedal (lever)

      GG a#¹ 
    Sesquialtera I 1 3/5 2 4
    II 1 1/3 1 3/5 2 2/3
    Mixture I 1 1 1/3 2
    II 1 1

    Pitch: A437Hz at 18ºC (revealed by the front pipes – the organ could not be any flatter).
    The tuning is a modified 1/5th comma tuning, with the wolf spread to make all keys more or less usable (though there is a noticeable difference between the good meantone keys and the bad keys). It is the tuning that was discovered more or less undisturbed on the Swell pipework of the 1829 J.C.Bishop organ at St James Bermondsey.

  • Deene Northamptonshire St Peter’s Church Restoration of Nicholson 1890 Church Organ

    The organ was built in 1890 by Nicholsons of Worcester. Casework and painted decoration designed by G.F.Bodley was fitted in the church around the completed organ as part of a complete chancel scheme. In 1906 the original ‘12th & 15th’ was replaced by a Trumpet, and the wind pressure raised to 3ins. The organ was ‘renovated’ in March 1947 in memory of the organist of over fifty years, George Piggott. The restoration by G&G in 2007-8 was led by Edward Bennett.

    The organ was unplayable due to encrusted corrosion on the moving parts of the mechanism; it was frozen solid. The damp conditions caused a build-up of mould particularly on the console. Woodworm was active in many parts of the organ, and moth damage was severe, especially inside the windchests. The theft of lead from the church roof (in early October 2007) allowed water to enter the organ; water actually leaked out of the bellows feeders!

    The object was to bring the organ, silent for many years, back to playing condition. Budgetary constraints meant that there were no cosmetic improvements, but the organ was made to work well. Corrosion meant that most of the pins, wires and screws had to be replaced. Moth damage meant that all the cloth and felt had to be replaced, and the pallets and the bellows were re-leathered. Apart from a split in the Swell soundboard table (which was filled with new wood), the main problem was failure of glue joints, which were re-glued. Fractures in the zinc pipe seams were re-soldered. It is expected that improved ventilation in the church, and some heating in the chancel, will keep the organ in better condition in the future. The Bodley casework, not part of our contract, may yet receive ‘conservation cleaning’ by the Churches Conservation Trust

    Great Organ (6 stops):

    Open Diapason 8ft zinc below cº
    Dulciana 8ft zinc below cº
    Clarabella 8ft wood, open from c¹
    Principal 4ft
    Harmonic Flute 4ft C-B stopped wood, cº-bº open metal, c¹ to g³ harmonic
    Trumpet 8ft 1906 hooded

    Swell Organ (8 stops):

    Open Diapason 8ft zinc below cº
    Gamba 8ft zinc below cº
    Lieblich Gedact 8ftwood bass, metal from gº
    Salicional 8ft bass octave from Gedact
    Voix Celestes 8ft from cº
    Wald Flute 4ft
    Harmonic Piccolo 2ft
    Cornopean 8ft

    Pedal Organ (2 stops):

    Bourdon 16ft
    Principal 8ft zinc below cº

    Great to Pedal
    Swell to Pedal
    Swell to Great
    Sub Octave (Swell sub octave to Great coupler)
    3 combination pedals to both Great and Swell

    Manual compass: C-g³ 56 notes
    Pedal compass: C-f¹ 30 notes
    Pitch: A=447.4 at 11.8ºC
    Wind pressure: 76mm (3ins)

  • Theewes Claviorganum New Copy for Joseph Kung

    In 1579 the refugee Antwerper Lodovicus Theewes made a claviorganum for Sir Anthony Roper, a recusant Catholic courtier and grandson of Sir Thomas More, who lived at Farningham Manor in Kent.  Visitors included Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.  The remains of the instrument survive in the Victorian & Albert Museum.  The harpsichord is the oldest surviving outside Italy.  The organ is the only survivor of a type which must have been common in the courts of 16th century Europe. Henry VIII possessed several, described as ‘regals’.  Philip van Wilder made an inventory of Henry’s musical instruments in 1547; this one might have been described as “an Instrumente with a double Virginall and a double regall with iij stopped of pipes of woode  … with a foote of wainscott and the Bellowes lyinge in the same.”  The surviving parts are now in the Victoria and AlbertMuseum in London, where the case is on display.  The organ parts consist of the wind chest and upperboards, a single wooden pipe (4ft D#), regal boots made of paper, and two bellows.

    In 2005 Malcolm Rose made a reconstruction of the harpsichord for Dr Joseph Kung.  Malcolm has also researched the history of the instrument.  A detailed description of the instrument can be found in Malcolm Rose Further on the Lodewijk Theewes Harpsichord. Galpin Society Journal vol55  pp279-309 (2002  For the history of the instrument and its ownership see Malcolm Rose, The History and Significance of the Lodewijk Theewes Claviorgan. Early Music vol32/4 pp577- 593 (Nov 2004  For further information about the musical context see Terence Charlston, An instrument in search of its repertoire? The Theewes claviorgan and its use in the performance of sixteenth and seventeenth century keyboard music Royal College of Organists Journal vol3 new series (2009)

    In 2008 we made a reconstruction of the organ for Joseph Kung.  It has the following stops:

    • 8ft regal, with wood resonators, and paper boots
    • 4ft, 2ft and 1ft open wood stops, made of oak
    • ¼ft cymbal, open metal, repeating an octave every octave
    • birdsong and tremulant

    The key compass of the harpsichord is C – c³ 49 notes, and of the organ C, D – c³ 48 notes, divided at bº/c¹. The organ is played from the harpsichord keys.  A register can disengage the organ stickers so that the harpsichord can be used alone.  The harpsichord registers can all be moved off so that the organ can be used alone. So the organ and harpsichord can be played on their own, or together in consort.  The pitch, from the surviving 4ft D# pipe, is A410Hz, the tuning ¼ comma meantone.

  • Evie Burlinson Restoration of ca1810 Astor Barrel Organ

    This small barrel organ was made between 1798 and 1815 when George Astor was running a music shop from his ‘warehouse’ at 79 Cornhill in the City of London. These organs were made for the rapidly expanding middle class market, a sort of Georgian juke box, with popular tunes of the day. In this case there are marches and popular soldiers’ songs, appropriate to a time when Great Britain was fighting a war against revolutionary France. There are the usual Scottish folk songs, one or two English folk songs and a couple of waltzes. They are supplied on three barrels. The stops are: Stop Diapason, Principal, Twelfth, Fifteenth, drum and triangle. They have to be chosen by the player.

    This organ has spent some of its life with the owner’s family in the USA, which is not inappropriate, for George’s younger brother John Jacob Astor, after learning English while working in his brother’s business in London, became the first multi-millionaire in the US. This is the third Astor barrel organ that we have restored, including one for English descendants of John Jacob’s family.

    The organ was restored in 2007 by Stuart Dobbs, with Charles Marsden restoring the finish of the casework. The organ had suffered a bit from its travels to and fro across the Atlantic, but there was no fundamental damage from bugs or inappropriate environment.

  • Leatherhead, St Mary and St Nicholas, Reconstruction of 1766 Thomas Parker Organ

    In 1989 there was a fire at Leatherhead parish church which was for this restoration project providential. It rendered the Victorian organ unusable, but did not touch the parts of the 1766 organ, which had been re-used, and somewhat altered by Walker in 1873. The Georgian parts were identified and stored under the supervision of Martin Renshaw, who also researched the organ’s history.

    It appeared that the organ was not made for Leatherhead, but was moved by J.W.Walker in 1843. It was originally made for Watford parish church, but Walker had taken it in part exchange for a new organ in 1841. A payment for £163 was made to Thomas Parker by the churchwardens of St Mary Watford in August 1766. The pipe marks on the Leatherhead pipework, and the manufacturing style of the keys and pipes also show that they are by Parker. An increasing number of organs can be ascribed to him, but at present no church organs, though the large house organ built for Charles Jennens (librettist of Messiah) survives unaltered at Great Packington near Birmingham airport. This organ was used to supply all the information missing at Leatherhead.

    The organ was restored in 2007, as the culmination of a project which had been a long time in the planning. The funding mostly came through the Heritage Lottery Fund. For the church the project was directed by Mike Lewis. The opening concert was on November 24th with James O’Donnell playing with the Brandenburg Sinfonia directed by Robert Porter. Further information about the concert and the organ is available at Linda Heath the church archivist has written a booklet about the organ, which is available from the church. A restoration report with much technical information is available from the builders.
    GREAT ORGAN (8 stops)

    *Open Diapason (8ft)E to e¹ in front, GG AA C D D# (stopped pipes with helpers) and f¹ to e³ inside
    *Stop Diapason (8ft)GG to bº stopped wood, c¹ to e³ metal chimney flute
    *Flute (4ft)stopped wood, narrow scale
    *Twelfth (2?ft)
    *Fifteenth (2ft)
    *Sesquialtra bass IV GG to c¹
    *Cornet treble IV c#¹ to e³
    Trumpet bass(8ft)based on the surviving parts of a Parker Trumpet at St Mary Barnsley
    Trumpet treble(8ft)

    SWELL ORGAN (4 stops)

    *Open Diapason (8ft)
    Stop Diapason (8ft)wood, re-using 1844 Walker pipes
    *Principal (4ft)
    Hautboy (8ft)

    The ranks marked * are wholly or partly original. The compass of the Great organ is GG C AA D to e³, and of the Swell organ c¹ to e³. The division of the bass/treble stops is at c¹/c#¹. The Walker shop books for 1843 describe the Stop Diapason and Trumpet as divided bass and treble – there was evidence on the surviving wind chest for the Trumpet but not the Stop Diapason. Similarly there was mention a shifting movement, but there was no sign of it on the chest.

    The pitch is determined by the surviving front pipes, where one can often see the alterations. In this case, some of the front pipes have what appears to be the original tuning length. They use a single slit for fine tuning (as at Great Packington), and with these the pitch was a¹=437.7Hz at 19°C. It is surprising that the pitch is so high, but perhaps there was a standard pitch for parish church organs, intended mainly for encouraging congregational psalmody.

    The tuning is based on “Harris the organ maker’s way of tuning his organs. By imperfect 5ths and the true octaves” in a harpsichord tutor of ca1704 by Godfrey Keller (and reproduced elsewhere), but with d# lowered so that the key of b major is not unusable. A meantone temperament of some sort would have been expected. This one is close to a fifth comma meantone, with the wolf spread between c#-g#-eb-bb-f. Such irregular meantone tunings seem to have been usual in England, perhaps for three centuries up to the middle of the 19th century. The tuning system was not discoverable from the surviving parts, and unfortunately it was one piece of evidence entirely removed from the organ at Great Packington (tuning slides provided for a recording in 1958).

    The Great wind chest and the keys survived from the original organ. The keys are unusual, in that the Swell is below the Great, and although the swell only uses the treble half of the keys, they are all cut out, as if this was originally intended for a Choir organ. The missing parts of the organ are all copied from the organ at Great Packington, which is almost the same size. The new oak case was made in our workshop and coloured and finished by Charles Marsden. The design is based on the drawing in the Sperling Notebooks (late 18th century) interpreted to accommodate the measurements recorded in the Walker Shopbooks and the surviving front pipes.

    The recording is available from REGCD382 Handel and his English contemporaries Robert Woolley plays the organ at St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead

  • Crambe, St Michael’s, North Yorkshire Restoration of the Organ

    The organ pipes date from the late 17th century, made into a new organ in about 1840. The organ was found by Francis Jackson and introduced to the church at Crambe in 1962. It came from Keswick College, who bought it from Shalton St Mary church, Long Stratton, Norfolk in 1949.

    There is a single keyboard with a compass of GG – e³, short compass 54 notes, the lowest key (GG) appearing to be BB.

    There are five stop knobs in a straight line above the middle of the keyboard. From left to right they are:

    Fifteenth 2ft
    Twelfth 2 2/3ft
    Stop Diapason 8ft
    Open Diapason 8ft
    Principal 4ft

    The wind pressure is 51mm. The pitch is about a = 432Hz at 14°C. The temperament is one described sometime around 1700 as being used by Renatus Harris. It is around 1/5 comma meantone but has the D# sharp raised so that the key of b major is usable. The one deviation from the described tuning method has been to raise the G# as well, so that the key of Ab is also (just about) usable.

    Work was completed on 12th May 2006, in time for a concert of sixteenth century English church music sung by the workshop choir with Derek Adlam playing the organ. In the following year Francis Jackson gave a concert on the organ. For the church the restoration project was guided by Fiona le Masurier.

  • 17th century style New Chamber Organ for Private Collection

    This is a 5 stop organ, with a single manual with pedal pulldowns. It is for the performance of 17th century music. The sound and some of the mechanical details are based on the organs at Wollaton Hall near Nottingham (ca1690), and at St Lawrence Whitchurch, Little Stanmore in Middlesex (1716). These organs were probably made by Gerard Smith, and represent a tradition of building small organs which stretches back through the 17th century in England.

    Stopped Diapason 8ft stopped wood
    Principal 4ft open metal
    Twelfth 2 2/3ft open metal
    Fifteenth 2ft open metal
    Tierce 1 3/5ft open metal

    There is a shifting movement reducing to the Stopped Diapason.

    The key compass is as follows:

    C D E F – d³ 49 notes. There is a short, broken bass octave, with the E key playing C, F# playing D at the front and F# at the back, and G# playing E at the front and G# at the back. There are split keys for the enharmonic notes eb/d#, eb¹/d#¹, eb²/d#². There are toe pedals for C D E F G A Bb B (short octave arrangement, 8 notes).

    The pitch is A415Hz. The tuning is quarter comma meantone.

    The natural keys are covered with cow bone and the sharps are covered with ebony. There is a pair of traditional wedge bellows, four-fold, with feeders, pumped either by hand or by electric blower.

  • Morcomblake and Stanton St Gabriel, Dorset, Restoration of the 1850s church organ

    The organ was probably made in the 1850s, perhaps by craftsmen associated with Sweetland of Bath. On the underside of the keyboard rail (behind the keys) is the pencilled inscription ‘C. Ayton London 1855’. On the bass backfall is written ‘For SWEETLAND 1854 rebuilt by W. Freeman’ and on the other side ‘C.Fleetwood 1854’ (this was noted by Derry Thomson in 1973, not by us). The organ came from Lyme Regis Wesleyan Church in about 1973, when it was restored by Derry Thomson (Musical Opinion, April 1975. Vol 98 (1170), 363-367). The organ evidently reached this Methodist church from another Methodist church in Lyme Regis.

    Derry Thomson may have removed the pedals and pedal pipes. The chipboard swell box was added in 1958 (A.L. Flay, Dorset Organ Specifications, 1974), which meant raising the pipe front. At some time the ivories were replaced with plastic, and the sharp keys were rounded over, in imitation of cinema organ keys, which work may date from 1972, or 1958, but may be older.

    In 2005-6 the organ was restored with the help of a grant from the Council for the Care of Churches, and the money raised and the project initiated and guided to fruition by Brian Waldie of St Gabriel’s. The case was restored to its original height, and the finish restored by Charles Marsden. The restoration work was carried out by Stuart Dobbs and Timothy McEwen. A concert was performed by the Organ Advisor for Salisbury Diocese, Richard Godfrey, on October 7th 2006.

    The organ has the following stops:

    Open Diapason 8’ (c° – f³)
    Stop Diapason bass 8’ (C – B)
    Stop Diapason treble 8’ (c° – f³)
    Dulciana 8’ (c° – f³)
    Principal 4’
    Flute 4’ (open wood; c° – f³)
    Twelfth 2 2/3’
    Fifteenth 2’

    The composition pedals reduces to Stop Diapason bass and treble, Dulciana, and Flute (left pedal) and produces full organ (right pedal), if these four stops are already out.

    The key compass is C – f³ 54 notes. The organ had a pedal keyboard, with a compass of 20 notes (C – g°), removed in 1972. It had a Bourdon, presumably clamped to the back of the organ. There was also a pedal coupler.

  • St Botolph, Aldgate London Restoration of the 1704 Renatus Harris Organ

    This organ was restored in 2005-6.  It can be argued that it is England’s oldest surviving church organ.  Although there are older pipes and cases, this is the oldest collection of pipes in their original positions on their original wind chests.  It looks as if the organ dates from shortly before 1704-5, when Renatus Harris was paid for the Trumpet and Echos.  In 1744 the organ was stored while the new church by George Dance was being built, and was restored by John Byfield the elder, who replaced the Great Larigot and Tierce with a Furniture.

    The organ was rebuilt by Hill in 1866, Bishop in 1898 and Mander in 1966. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is playing a central role in restoring our classical organ heritage, it has now been restored as far as possible to its original disposition.  It had previously been possible to appreciate it in the Mander restoration of 1966.  At that time most of the Victorian additions were removed, though more tonal additions were made which in 2006 seem inappropriate, and a mechanism introduced which had started to become unreliable.

    The 2005 restoration project owes a great deal to John Bamford, organist at St Botolph’s, Ian Bell, consultant, and David Francis, project co-ordinator.  The case was restored to its original condition; the paint was investigated by Catherine Hassall, the case was painted by Paul Knibb, and the front pipes gilded by Kate Pickin.

    Great Organ Chair Organ Swell Organ Pedal Organ
    *Open Diapason (8') *Stop Diapason (8') Open Diapason (8') Bourdon 16'
    *Stop Diapason (8') *Principal (4') *Stop Diapason (8') Bass Flute 8'
    *Principal (4') *Flute (4') Cornet IV Pedal couplers for Great and Choir
    Twelfth (2 2/3') *Bassoon (8') Trumpet (8')
    *Fifteenth (2') Vox Humana (8') Hautboy (8')
    *Sexquialtra IV
    Furniture III
    Cornet treble V
    Trumpet (8')

    Drum (tuned to D)
    Great and Choir GG C AA D – d³ (52 notes)
    Echo/Swell c¹ – d³ (27 notes)
    Pedal C D – d¹ (26 notes)

    The asterisks indicate pipes which are largely original.  The Furniture has three pipes from the very treble which were re-used elsewhere in the organ when the Furniture was removed.

    The Great Open Diapason is in the front, the pipes made by a craftsman who had worked for Bernard Smith.  The metal stopped pipes (in the Great and Swell Stop Diapasons, and Choir Flute) were all made by the slightly different people.  This suggests that Renatus, perhaps under pressure, was drawing on the available pool of self employed craftsmen in London.  The Swell/Echos are placed above the two Great chests, which are off-set to the treble and spaced wide enough apart for the key action to pass between them, which suggests that the organ was planned that way, but it does feel like an afterthought.

    The Great Fifteenth is small in scale, whereas the Sesquialtera is quite wide and contains a Fifteenth, which suggests that there were three registrations for full organ: 1. Open, Principal and Sesquialtera, 2. Open, Principal and Furniture (after 1744) and 3. Open Principal and Fifteenth, a ‘small’ full organ.  Before 1744, when the pipes of the Larigot and Tierce were incorporated into the Furniture, there would also have been a variety of mutations making more or less full choruses.  Their principal scale would have contrasted with the flute scale of the mounted Cornet.  The Chair organ was definitely the ‘soft’ organ, with only one rank of principal scale, and the Bassoon very narrow.  The Drum is recorded by Henry Leffler, but the Tremulant is a modern addition.

    The Pedal organ and its couplers are a compromise.  The organ may originally have been set further back, though the size of the wedge bellows (now restored) fill the bottom of the organ, as they may always have done.  The galleries were rebuilt during the G.F.Bentley restoration of the church in 1895.

    Organists are welcome to play the organ; contact the church office on 020 7283 1670, during office hours.

    The recording below is available from  SFZM0207 Timothy Roberts plays organ pieces and solo (Julia Gooding soprano, Clara Sanabras soprano, and Richard Savage bass) and congregational psalms and hymns by John Blow and his pupils at the ca1704 Renatus Harris organ at St Botolph Aldgate
    also DXL1124 Terence Charlston plays Albertus Bryne and Christopher Gibbons music for harpsichord, spinet and organ
    and PRCD 1034 The Choral Music of Thomas Tudway performed by the Choir and Orchestra of Ferdinand’s Consort directed by Stephen Bullamore (Edmund Aldhouse organ)

  • Waddesdon Manor Clock Organ

    The clockwork barrel organ is part of an elaborate clock in the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor It was restored in 2006 by Dominic Gwynn and Stuart Dobbs for the National Trust. The clock and clockwork were restored by Peter Watkinson of Chard, Somerset, and the case was restored by Tankerdale Workshops of Sheet, Hampshire.

    The case of the clock is made up of a lower pedestal, embellished with French style carving and painted in a marble effect. Standing on top of the pedestal is a carved wooden figure of Orpheus playing a flute. Behind him is a large tree trunk, which has a serpent circling around it up to the top. The gut line for the clockwork motor travels up to the top of the trunk and over a lignum vitae pulley and back down to a double line with the weight attached. On the hour the clock sets the organ playing its tune. The organ part of the clock is quite a simple but very well engineered device consisting of the clockwork motor, bellows and feeders, windchest, pipes and barrels.

    There is no sign of any manufacturers name on the organ but on the bottom of the feeders in pencil is written Imhof & Muckle, London. Imhof & Muckle were a German company who eventually built organs in England but at a later date than this organ seems that they were just the supplier in this case. During the removal of the leather from the reservoir a pencilled name was discovered: Sorg 1869 inside the leather and Henry Sorg London on the middle board. On the end of each barrel there are inscriptions again in pencil about the tunes. These are written in Dutch so it is thought the organ may be of Dutch origin.

    The windchest is laid out with two wooden ranks on either side of the centre line, the largest pipes in the middle, one being a Gedekt and the other an Open Fluit. The Open Fluit also has an Octave Open Fluit, which can be manually shut off using a slider. The notes of the organ from the centre out are d – e 27 notes covering just over two octaves chromatically. The windchest is constructed using beech throughout and consists of a small well with 54 pallets. One of the barrels has been restored, and plays movements of a concerto, not yet identified. The other barrel will be difficult to restore; it played an overture called Tancredi.

  • Fawsley, Northants restoration of 1839 Joseph Walker finger and barrel organ

    The chamber and barrel organ now in Fawsley church in Northamptonshire has a brass name plate under the centre of the keyboard which gives the date and the builder “JOSEPH WALKER LONDINI, FECIT. 1839”. It was made for the Knightley family of Fawsley Hall. See Hilary Davidson Choirs, Bands and Organs: a history of church music in Northamptonshire and Rutland pp93-4 (Positif Press 2003)

    The organ is untouched, except for tuning slides and tuning in Equal Temperament. In 2005 the organ was repaired by Martin Goetze and Verners Kalacis, chiefly dirt, and mouse and woodworm damage.

    There is a single manual and a pedalboard which acts on the lowest octave of manual keys. The stop knobs are arranged in a horizontal row, three each side of the keyboard.

    From bass to treble:

    Principal Bass (stopped wood GG, AA – F#)
    Stopt Diapason Bass (GG, AA – f#º)
    Dulciana (gº – f3)
    Stopt Diapason Treble (gº – f3)
    Principal Treble (G – f3)
    Flute (gº – f3)

    The bellows occupies the space at the bottom of the organ. A single fold wedge feeder operated by a hand lever at the bass side of the organ supplies the horizontal rise reservoir, which has one inward and one outward fold. It is also possible for the organist to pump the feeder by foot, the iron roller providing two possible positions for the pedal, either side of the pedalboard. In 2005 Martin and Verners added an electric blower inside the Victorian dais, chopping out woodworm-ridden wood in the process. The manual and foot blowing is still operational.
    This instrument was made as a ‘finger or barrel organ’, and although it is now only possible to operate it with the keyboard, evidence remains of the barrel section: the space for the barrels, just behind the music desk, the pull-down holes (and presumably the pallets), and the case door on the treble side where the barrels would have been slid out, the back of the little door still listing the tunes supplied. In 2007 a barrel was found in the church, riddled with woodworm.

  • Dutch ca1775 Chamber Organ for a Private Collection

    The organ was made in around 1775, perhaps by Hendrik Anthonie Meyer (1744-1812), a German who worked in Amsterdam. It was purchased by Alan Rubin for his collection in 2004. The previous owners purchased it in 1910. It is listed as catalogue number 383 in Jan Gierveld’s Het Nederlandse Huisorgel in de 17de en 18de eeuw (Utrecht 1977), where it is illustrated in colour on the front cover. The date and attribution are Gierveld’s. The organ was restored under the direction of Edward Bennett in 2005-6.

    The stoplist is

    Holpijp8’ bass/treble
    Prestant4’ treble
    Fluit4’ bass/treble
    Quint prestant3’ bass/treble
    Octaaf2’ bass/treble
    Ters1 ⅗’ treble

    The key compass is C – e³ (53 notes). The pitch is A412.2Hz (16ºC) and the tuning is an 18th century circulating temperament. The case is veneered in satinwood, and was restored by Chris Wells of Stannington near Sheffield.

  • Great Budworth, Cheshire, St Mary and All Saints, Restoration of the 1839 Samuel Renn organ

    This organ is a remarkable survival, since so many of Samuel Renn’s organs has been wholly or partially destroyed, much of it in recent years. An account of his work can be read in Michael Sayer’s Samuel Renn, English Organ Builder (London 1974) and Industrialized Organ-Building – a Pioneer (in Organ Yearbook vol VII 1976). This organ was restored by Alexander Young in 1886 (who expanded the Pedal organ and reduced the manual compass), and again by Jardines in 1918 and 1959. We restored it in 2004.

    The organ was made for a gallery against the chancel arch, facing westwards, but was soon moved to a position facing across the chancel, in the north aisle. It is made in Renn’s highly standardised manner, adapted to suit the customer and local conditions. Despite space originally provided on the chest and the stop jamb, there seems never to have been a Great Trumpet, till now. The new Trumpet is based on Renn examples at St Philip Salford and The GG manual compasses have been restored, the wind chests dismantled and restored, the bellows re-leathered and the wind system made wind-tight.

    Open Diapason (8’) Open Diapason (8’) Bourdon (16’)
    Stop Diapason bass (8’) Stop Diapason (8’)
    Stop Diapason treble (8’) Principal (4’)
    Dulciana (8’) Hautboy (8’)
    Principal (4’) Cornopean (8’)
    Flute (4’)
    Fifteenth (2’)
    Sesquialtera bass III
    Cornet treble III
    Trumpet (8’)

    The manual key compass is GG AA – f³. The pedal would originally have been GG – c°, with unison open pipes, but Young’s Pedal of 1886 has been kept, C – e¹ with a Bourdon.

    The Swell has a chest starting at c°, and the keys GG – B operate a Choir Bass playing the Pedal Bourdon (following the organ Renn made for the Chester Festival of 1829). The Great Stop Diapason bass is GG – B, the treble c° – f³. The Great Sesquialtera is GG – b°, Cornet c¹ – f³.

    The pitch had been altered to A440, with tuning slides, which has been retained.

    The swell has a hitch down pedal, and a box with Venetian swell shutters and straw-filled hessian panels covering the inside surfaces.

    The project profited from the guidance of Jim Berrow as consultant and Norman Baker as organist.

  • Elmton, Derbyshire, St Peter’s, Restoration of the 1865 Brindley Organ

    The organ’s history appears in a report by Rodney Tomkins. It was made by Charles Brindley of Sheffield in 1865. The stoplist in the estimate gives

    Great Open Diapason 8'
    Great Stopped Diapason 8'
    Great Dulciana 8'
    Swell Principal 4'
    Swell Open Diapason 8'
    Swell Principal 4'
    Swell Oboe 8'
    Pedal Bourdon 16'

    Great, C – g³, Swell, c° – g³, Pedal, C – g°

    This is basically as the organ now is, though the Stopped Diapason is on the stop label as a Lieblich Gedact (a type of stop Charles Brindley took over from his mentor, Edmond Schulze, the celebrated German builder). There are pilot holes in the Swell rackboard for an extra stop, perhaps showing that Brindley made standard parts rather than that this was a prepared-for stop.

    In 1894 a new organ chamber-vestry was built. Before this date, the organ must have been in the SW (or opposite) corner, since the case panelling and impost moulding are on the treble side only. Brindley and Foster added a stopped bass to the Swell, outside the organ on the treble side. Otherwise the organ may be entirely unaltered since 1865.

    The organ project was fostered by Sue Broomhead, the organist of the church, who raised much of the money through the A4A Lottery funding in 2004.

  • Ponsonby Baptist Church New Zealand Restoration of 1779 Avery Chamber Organ

    The organ was made in London, England, by John Avery, in 1779. He was living in John Street (now more or less Rathbone Place) off Tottenham Court Road in 1787. The organ’s early history is not known, until it was acquired by Bishop Selwyn of Auckland in 1859 and installed in old St. Paul’s Church on Britomart Hill, Auckland. Dr. (later Sir George) Elvey, organist of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, selected this Avery organ, and was invoiced (£270-5 shillings) for the organ’s rebuilding and shipping to Auckland in November 1859. This date is corroborated by a faint pencil inscription on the windchest table: “This organ was repaired by John Smith for Bishop, Starr and Richardson, Lisson Grove, London, Novr. 1859”

    The organ was bought in 1897 by Ponsonby Baptist church. It was altered considerably over the years, in 1879, 1909 and 1964. In March 2004, it was returned to the workshop at Welbeck and restored in 2004-5. John Maidment was advisor. The restored organ was played by John Wellingham at a workshop recital on 3rd June 2005 before being reassembled at Ponsonby Baptist Church. A dedication service and celebratory opening took place on Sunday, July 3rd. James Tibbles (Auckland University) and John Wells (Auckland City organist) played. James Tibbles has made a CD of 18th century English organ music on Atoll ACD 406.

    Bass JambTreble Jamb
    Cornet TrebleHautboy
    Sesquialt BassFifteenth
    StDiapason BassStDiapason Treble

    The keyboard compass is again GG,C,AA,D—e³ 54 notes.

    A new ‘Shifting Movement’ pedal operates the original slider to cut off the following stops:
    Twelfth, Fifteenth, Dulciana, Sesquialtera Bass and Cornet Treble.

    There is a new pedal for the Hautboy swell.

    The height (cornice top) is 3050mm, width (cornice) 1730mm, depth (cornice) 830mm. The mahogany case is of the finest London cabinet quality. Veneers are used around the oval pipe display, and elsewhere on the front, while the sides are of plainer solid mahogany.

    The recording is available from ACD 406 James Tibbles plays Blow, Corelli, Handel, Stanley and Nares on the 1779 John Avery chamber organ at Ponsonby Baptist Church, Auckland New Zealand

  • Gibside Chapel, Restoration of the 1793 Avery Bureau organ for the National Trust

    The nameplate reads: Avery Londini Fecit 1793 St. Margarets Church Yard. It is a bureau organ of a type apparently unique to John Avery, shaped like a small upright piano, with a mahogany case. The bellows and windchest are low in the lower case, and the keyboard is attached to the inside of the front panel of the upper case, folding down and engaging with backfalls and stickers.

    Stopt Diapason bass/treble 8ft stopped wood
    Dulciana treble c¹ – f³ 8ft metal
    Principal 4ft metal

    Keyboard compass: C, D – f³ (lime bodies, ivory naturals, ebony sharps)
    Bellows: single rise horizontal reservoir with feeder, foot pumped
    Dimensions: Height 1250 mm, Width 1040 mm, Depth 560 mm (782 with keyboard open)

    Mr Simon Elliot and his mother donated it to the Trust, Gibside Chapel, in 2002, Mr Elliot recalls that the organ was in his Mother’s house ‘near Alderley Edge’ in his childhood. Before that time it belonged to her father, Edward Ashworth Radford, who was the MP for South Salford 1924-39 and Rusholme 1933-44. His dates were 1881-1944 and he lived at ‘White Gables’, Wilmslow. He was the son of George Radford of Manchester and Church Stretton. The Elliotts loaned the organ to Manchester City Council, so it must have been the one recorded at Heaton Hall in 1978 (NPOR). The final resting place before Gibside was Mr Elliott’s house in Westmorland.

    The organ was cleaned by R. Johnson for Jardine and Co of Manchester in 1975 according to an inscription in the bellows. It was restored by Timothy McEwen at Welbeck in 2003.

  • Santiago de Compostela, Convent of Santa Clara, Restoration of the ca1700/1865 organ in the chapel

    The organ dates from the building of the new church, completed in 1702. Although the church is large, based on a Greek cross with small dome, and with a considerable acoustic, the organ stands in the nun’s choir, a much smaller room with a grilled opening to the church. It was made in 1709 by Manuel de la Viña, who was working at the Cathedral at about this time. In 1865 it was rebuilt by a local builder, Ramon Cardama, who extended the key compass, with new chest, key and stop action, and provided a new bellows and wind system. He also extended the horizontal Trompeteria from the original Dulzayna to six half stops.

    In 1930 the organ was rebuilt by Fray Manuel Fernandez, a Franciscan brother, who replaced the key and stop action to provide a detached console with pneumatic action, a considerably extended and altered stop list, and new painting to the original casework. In about 1970, the organ was again rebuilt by a Franciscan friar, P. Antonio Montero, whose attentions included painting every pipe with silver paint. Between them the two friars polished the organ off.

    Our restoration work in 2003 has been a reconstruction of Cardama’s organ, based on the organ he built at a nearby convent of Dominican nuns. Cardama’s wind system has been restored. His wind chest has been restored and brought into line with the 1865 stop list. The keys and stops have been made new after the 1865 pattern, and fitted to the surviving stop jambs. The pipes required the most time-consuming and painstaking work, removing the silver paint, and numerous zinc beards and extensions, etc. Some of the reed shallots needed to be replaced and most of the tongues. Cardama was a very conservative builder, so this has turned out to be a classical Spanish organ.

    Bass  Treble  
    Violon 8' Violon 8'
    Bajoncillo 4’ Corneta VI
    Lleno VI Lleno VI
    Dulzaina 8’ Flauta 4’
    Decinovena 1 1/3‘ Decinovena 1 1/3‘
    Trompeta Real 8’ Oboe 8’
    Quincena 2’ Quincena 2’
    Clarin 4’
    Docena 2 2/3’ Docena 2 2/3’
    Trompeta Magna 16’
    Octava 4’ Octava 4’
    Dulzaina 8’
    Flautado 8’ Flautado 8’
    Trompeta Real 8’

    Compass: C –g³, 56 notes.
    Pull-down pedals for bottom 12 notes C – B
    The Corneta is housed in a swell box, with a lid operated by a knee lever.

    The recording is available from TRAMU 001 Convento de Santa Clara Organo Barocco 1709: musica para organo hispanico 1555-2005, played by Timothy Roberts with Clara Sanabras soprano and guitar