4. The Organ

This fine, large gothic church was gutted by fire on 14th July 1961. Only the west end of the church escaped, the tower, the south porch and the font being mostly undamaged. The organ in the chancel perished and the opportunity arose therefore to design and build a completely new instrument. The vicar at this time, Father Alan Roe, had to contend with a faction in the parish who were in favour of installing an electronic instrument, but fortunately wisdom prevailed and the organ builders, Cedric Arnold, Williamson and Hyatt of Essex were contracted to supply a new pipe organ. The work was completed in 1964 and the organ stands high above the west gallery of the church. The specification was devised by a former organist of the church, Kenneth Condon, in consultation with the builders.

In reviewing the instrument in an issue of ‘The Organ’ in January 1965, Cecil Clutton considered it to be ‘an undisputed masterpiece’.
The organ was cleaned and overhauled by Holmes & Swift, of Fakenham in 1999. In 2010 the same firm installed a new piston memory capture system and completely upgraded the electrics of the whole organ.

The church is greatly indebted to former organist Jack Burns for his loving custodianship of the organ for over forty years. He died on 27th January 2010, aged 88, and left a large bequest specifically for the maintenance of the organ.

The instrument is voiced on bold, Classical lines and is particularly suited to the performance of Baroque repertoire. It is however, fairly comprehensive and also sounds convincing in the performance of music from the Romantic period, and also contemporary repertoire.

The action to both manuals and the couplers is tracker, with electro – pneumatic action to the pedal organ and drawstops. The piston mechanisms are direct electric.

The console is of fine oak and enclosed by a glazed sliding sash. The drawstops have solid ivory heads and the manual natural keys are ivory covered.

The casework, designed by the organ builders, is mainly of softwood painted porcelain blue satin finish, with white grillework. The pipes in the centre sections are of polished copper and are the basses of the Great Open Diapason. Those in the outer sections are of polished zinc and are the basses of the Pedal Open Metal.

All pipes have ample speaking room in the organ chamber and are readily accessible for tuning. The manual stops, except Nos. 14 and 25 stand on slider chests, with a separate large double rise reservoir for each department.

Wind is provided by a Discus blower accommodated in the clock chamber of the tower, together with a Kimber Allen tranformer rectifier unit, providing the action current at about 15 volts D.C.

Many renowned organists have given recitals at Saint Mary’s over the years and have, without exception, praised the versatility of the instrument.


Two manuals, CC to C, 61 notes
Pedals, concave and radiating,
CCC to F, 30 notes


1. Open Metal 16 ft

2. Subbass 16 ft

3. Principal 8 ft

4. Bass Flute 8 ft

5. Fifteenth 4 ft

6. Conical Flute 2 ft

7. Mixture 19, 22 II rk

8. Basset Horn 16 ft

9. Basset Horn 8 ft

10. Basset Horn 4 ft

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal


11. Open Diapason 8 ft

12. Chimney Flute 8 ft

13. Principal 4 ft

14. Conical Flute 4 ft

15. Nazard 2 2/3

16. Block Flute 2 ft

17. Tierce 1 3/5

18. Mixture 19,22,26,29 IV rk


Swell to Great


19. Viola 8 ft

20. Stopped Metal 8 ft

21. Gemshorn 4 ft

22. Fifteenth 2 ft

23. Nineteenth 1 1/3

24. Twenty – Second 1 ft

25. Basset Horn 16 ft

26. Trumpet 8 ft


Pitch - A 440 CS


Privacy Notice | Powered by Church Edit