ORGAN OF THE MONTH 49: July 2006

St John's in the Square, Wolverhampton
(Renatus Harris, 1682, 1697; Byfield 1762, etc;
Tipple 2003)

Click on the thumbnail to obtain a full-size image


To mark the fourth anniversary of our "Organ of the Month" feature, here we have a truly historic instrument.  Parts of it are believed to originate from an organ constructed by Renatus Harris for a famous "Battle of the Organs" between himself and "Father" Smith.  Both builders had installed their respective organs in the Temple Church in London, but it was the "Father" Smith that was eventually retained.  What happened to the Harris organ after its removal is not fully documented, and it may have been split up with pipework used in various instruments, but it is known that Harris built an organ for Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral in 1697 that may have included some of the pipes.  It is presumed that when Byfield was commissioned to build a new organ for the Dublin cathedral in the 1750s, he took the Harris organ in part exchange, shipped it back to England, and it was installed in Wolverhampton in 1762.

Since then, various firms have worked on the organ, including Walsall-based Nicholson & Lord in 1881, Henry Willis in 1953 and J W Walker in 1974.  In 2002/3, a full restoration was carried out by Trevor Tipple with Roger Fisher as consultant.  The pedal Fagotto is a recent addition.

Mechanical action has been retained, and is beautifully responsive - as your Webmaster had the pleasure of discovering while playing (with BOA President Chris Stormont) Wesley's Duet for Organ on the day of our Wolverhampton "organ crawl" earlier this year.


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Last modified: May 29, 2006