Church launches appeal to repair historic organ

Fiona Law, organist at All Saints in Misterton, at the keyboard of the church's historic organ
Fiona Law, organist at All Saints in Misterton, at the keyboard of the church's historic organ

The congregation of All Saints’ Church in Misterton have issued a plea for people to help them save their unique 1875 pipe organ.

The organ has been played at weddings, funerals, and services in the church for than 140 years.

It is almost entirely in its original condition.

A pedal mechanism broke recently and was repaired at a cost of £2,500.

While carrying out repairs, a further £3,800-worth of urgent work to the sub-bass (the deep, low-register that gives the organ its distinct quality) was identified.

Both these unplanned repairs have been paid from the church’s organ fund – a pot of money that local parishioners have paid into for 15 years.

But now the organ fund is now exhausted and yet more work is needed to overhaul the rest of this magnificent instrument, costing an estimated £30,000.

The collection taken at December’s village carol service came to £229, and started off the appeal.

Other donations are now starting to come in.

The organ has an interesting pedigree.

It was built by Brindley & Foster in Sheffield.

The business was set up by Charles Brindley in 1854, joined by Albert Healey Foster in 1871.

They began to manufacture complex organs, concentrating on the production of orchestral effects.

The business was bought by Willis in 1939, one of the oldest organ-building companies in the world today.

Willis organs are in Salisbury and Truro cathedrals, masonic and concert halls, and numerous parish churches.

There are more than 2,500 Willis organs in use up to the present day, from Norway to Nigeria to New Zealand.

It is believed that Misterton’s organ was modernised with an electric motor in the 1960s.

But the original hand pump remains in place.

The organ was a gift to the village from the Mrs & Mr Wells in 1875.

The Wells were local benefactors, who, in the same year, instituted the Wells Charity, with local funds in Misterton and West Stockwith.

In Misterton the Wells Charity was set up to provide educational grants (for ‘eleemosynary purposes’) and exhibitions (to fund higher education).

The Wells Charity is still active today (and applications for small sums can be made to the Rev David Henson).

Anyone able to help with the appeal should contact Hazel Duffner, the church’s treasurer on 01427 890877.