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Church of the Holy Angels, Hoar Cross


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I thought you might like to hear of exciting news concerning the potential restoration of an organ that has remained silent now for very many years. This mini Cathedral of a Church was built by my ancestor Emily Charlotte Meynell Ingram in memory of her husband. See here for brief history, photos etc Church of the Holy Angels, Hoar Cross. Services here are still held in the High Anglican tradition.

 

The 3 manual organ was originally built by Samuel Green in 1779 for Bangor Cathedral. It was installed in Hoar Cross by Bishop and Son in 1876 originally as a Chancel Organ and then enlarged by Conacher in 1935 in order to give sufficient 'body' to accompany the main Nave services.

 

I am in fact the last person left alive who played this instrument for regular services. It had a noble swell - as much due to the strings, couplers and part-pneumatic action added by Conacher as the original 1779 Green pipework - but one played in a little box within the organ and were not able to hear the whole organ nor, worse, the congregation (you just hoped they were singing - you could only tell if you stopped a tad early). Because of its location in the Choir you did have very good contact with the Priest.

 

The Meynell Church Trustees (of which I am one) are in fact the 'Owners' of the building, rather than the Diocese, as my ancestor established it as a 'peculiar' because of the worry in those days - late 1800's - of the feared anticipated separation of the Church and State (Disestablishmentarism).

 

Due to a generous anonymous donor's gift we are now in a position to relook at restoration and as a first step have commissioned and received an excellent, wide-ranging and authorative report from William McVicker, the distinguished independent consultant whom many of you will no doubt know.

 

This basically sets out practical and workable alternatives. It examines the pros and cons and viability of restoring the organ to its 1935 or its 1876 or its 1779 state. Dr McVicker has also been very helpful in recommending some of the various bodies who we could apply to for grants, their scope and methods.

 

We are at an early stage and one of our chief concerns will be not just in restoring this fine instrument but also in leaving it in an easily-maintained state. The Conacher work was a bit bodged in places and so squeezed into every crevice that it renders it almost impossible to be accessed in its current state - it's very much a gallon in a pint pot.

 

In addition, Hoar Cross is a small community of some 300 souls - and the regular congregation is less than 100 (though that's not bad for a remote rural location)

 

Anyway, we now have some alternative paths to explore but I thought you'd be pleased to hear about the start of the work on a (mostly) instrument that has been silent too long.

 

Freddie Meynell

 

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I am pleased to hear this news.

 

I know Fr. Peter Green, the vicar, reasonably well and, over a splendid meal some time ago he was lamenting the state of the organ.

 

We haven't seen each other for some time but the restoration will, I'm sure, be a topic of conversation when next we find ourselves around a dining table together.

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Just a though: How many Green cathedral organs do we still have ?

Congregation= less than 100 people ? So something delicate

could do ?

 

(The first who will come with "music-boxes" mantras will be invited

to eat his hat.) :(

 

Pierre

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Just a though: How many Green cathedral organs do we still have ?

Congregation= less than 100 people ? So something delicate

could do ?

 

 

Pierre

 

 

well......there is the Green instrument built for Salisbury Cathedral which found its way to St Thomas' Salisbury (and is still there) when the Willis was installed in the 1870's. I used to play this instrument often, and although it has had a number of rebuilds and additions is still very sweet-toned and delicate.

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Excellent news. This must be one of the Top Ten church buildings in the whole country; Bodley at his most devotionally inspired. A beautiful setting, a most impressive interior with beautiful crafted fittings, not least the stunning organ case.

 

I look forward to hearing this long-silent yet fascinating instrument restored to full voice and wish the Meynell Trustees every success with their project.

 

JS

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  • 1 month later...

The Trustees have now received an excellent, very detailed and authoritative Report from William McVicker. It is very thorough on the history of the instrument. It also lists a number of alternative courses of action and gives reasons for his final recommendation.

 

In doing so he has given a good summary of the extra Grant Aid we might be able to attract that will be necessary to raise over and above the main donation.

 

From my Business Consultancy days I know the advantages (and also a close-up, experienced view of the disadvantages!) of employing a specialist Consultancy to obtain the Funding. On a trawl through the Internet I see a large number of successful applications for Grant for restoring organs. They (mostly) don't mention the name of the Consultancy - just that they used one. I've written to several of them but not received any reply yet.

 

Many of these work on a No Win No Fee basis. But I wondered if anybody had any experience of working with a Consultant of this sort and could recommend one? I have my own contacts in the Conultancy world but it would be good to find somebody who has a) been successful and B) can work with the Trustees of a very rural Parish Church.

 

Can anybody give me a steer?

 

Freddie Meynell

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