GREAT GRANSDEN ORGAN
 
 By Victor Hughes Little Gransden January 1996 - Revised Easter 2000  
 

The Organ was built by Bishop & Son, London, and installed in the organ chamber in 1888. 
This chamber had already been provided at the restoration of the Church in 1873.


During the incumbency of the Revd.F.Le Grice the music had been supplied by Bassoon, Clarinet
and other instruments, played by Ephraim Crane, G.Drury, J.Larkins and others, the Old Hundred
being sung every afternoon.  The players departed in 1868 with the introduction of the Harmonium
and Hymns Ancient & Modern. 

 

In 1884 the Revd.A.J.Edmonds was appointed to the living.  He introduced the practice of chanting
the Psalms and singing the Responses. He started the Organ Fund which by 1888 had reached nearly £300.

 

The Revd. Edmonds’ “History of Great Gransden” states ‘A sufficiently powerful and remarkably sweet-toned
organ with a handsome oak case designed by Mr Vialls' (Mr.Vialls was the architect for the 1873 restoration)
was purchased of Messrs. Bishop & Son and placed in the chamber provided by Mr.Webb in 1873.
The instrument was dedicated on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th August 1888. 

 

The specification of the Organ as supplied by Bishops was as follows:
Works number 1290.  Manual compass CC to G 56 notes Pedal CCC to F 30 notes
Great Manual
Open Diapason 8ft (all spotted metal)
Hohl Flute 8ft
Dulciana 8ft
Principal 4ft
Wald Flute 4ft
Swell Manua:
Violin Diapason 8ft
Lieblich Gedact 8ft
Geigen Principal 4ft
Harmonic Piccolo 2ft
Oboe 8ft
Pedal
Bourdon 16ft (large scale)
3 Couplers.  Tracker action to manuals.  Pneumatic action to pedals.
2 Composition pedals acting on the stops of the Great Manual.

 

In 1959 the Organ was becoming very dirty and needing attention.  The PCC obtained estimates for cleaning
and repair from 2 organ builders. No action was taken.   An electric blower had been fitted in 1947.
In 1962 Tuning slides were fitted to all the metal pipes to prevent further damage after years of cone tuning.

The Organ remained in it’s original state when a report was obtained from the Revd.B.B.Edmonds (one of the
foremost organ advisors in the country and then Vicar of Caxton). Three organ builders were asked to submit
estimates for the repairs and improvements as recommend in this report.  The order was given to Norman
Hall & Sons to proceed with their recommendations on 8th January 1971. 

As well as the complete dismantling and cleaning of all parts of the Organ, the following improvements were made. 
The Flute 4ft on the Great was replaced by a new Fifteenth 2ft. 
The old Flute was revoiced and placed on the Swell at 2B to give a new and interesting tone to this
department. 
The old violin Diapason thus displaced was placed on a separate electric chest to give two pedal stops,
Principal 8ft and Fifteenth 4ft. 
The Piccolo was scrapped and a good second-hand Fifteenth 2ft fitted in its place.
The Pedal chest was dismantled, converted to electric action and reassembled on the opposite side of the Organ,
leaving the old window opening in the North Aisle open,  formerly blocked by the pedal pipes, and now
able to let more sound out into the Church.

The Organ was re-dedicated on Thursday 10th June 1971 and the opening recital given by Stephen Banfield,
Organ Scholar from Clare College, Cambridge.

In 1988 after 100 years of service the organ was fitted with a good second-hand Trumpet stop (ex Norman
& Beard).  This was erected on a separate electric chest at the rear of the Organ, playable from the Great manual.

In 1997 after 26 years service the organ was cleaned and overhauled by Norman Hall & Sons, Cambridge.






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