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ChippenhamParish Church (St Andrew's)


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In the large church in the centre of Chippenham in Wiltshire there stands a 3m+p 46 stop instrument. Its history from the original west gallery instrument by Brice Seede in 1752 can be seen on NPOR here: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=A00731

 

The PCC are currently trying to assess the place of music in the worship and also in non-liturgical use of the church (there has been a choral tradition for a considerable time), and to assess how to proceed with the organ which needs significant work. The last major work on it was in 1965, with some tonal alteration in 1987 or so.

 

There are several options currently on the table, ranging in expense from 'do nothing' (not all that cheap an option, given the ongoing maintenance costs!), to the installation of a new west gallery, and the placement thereon of a cut down (returned to historical proportions) version of the current instrument with mechanical action and reduced specification. Along that spectrum might be an action renovation with preservation of the surviving historic pipework and case front, deferring therefore any more drastic scheme to a future, perhaps less impecunious, generation.

 

There is to be an open meeting at 7.30pm on 19th October in the church where all are invited to assist the PCC with informing their decision. Obviously any members of this board who find themselves able and interested in attending would be welcome. In the meantime any thoughts for transmission to the PCC could be sent to me by PM. I will promise to pass them on verbatim, and without personal comment.

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My heart sank when I saw the words 'Percy Daniel and Co', and sank even further when I saw 'J.Coulson' (he of Steiglitz/Sherborne fame), and completely packed up altogether when I saw 'R.Winn' (of whose workmanship, even though I understand he is lately no longer with us, not a single kind word can legitimately be said - at least with Daniels you can praise their solid carpentry). I can imagine every bit of it in vivid detail.

 

Whether it goes on a new west gallery or not, a reduction back to 1879 proportions would certainly get my vote, probably with a conscious return to G&D stop names of the era (Grand Bombarde and all that sort of thing). Me being me, I'd make one or two concessions such as retaining an 8' Flute on the pedal, and a Swell Celeste, possibly on double draw with the Gamba (either that or just detune the Ch Dulciana to be coupled through).

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My heart sank when I saw the words 'Percy Daniel and Co', and sank even further when I saw 'J.Coulson' (he of Steiglitz/Sherborne fame), and completely packed up altogether when I saw 'R.Winn' (of whose workmanship, even though I understand he is lately no longer with us, not a single kind word can legitimately be said - at least with Daniels you can praise their solid carpentry). I can imagine every bit of it in vivid detail.

 

Whether it goes on a new west gallery or not, a reduction back to 1879 proportions would certainly get my vote, probably with a conscious return to G&D stop names of the era (Grand Bombarde and all that sort of thing). Me being me, I'd make one or two concessions such as retaining an 8' Flute on the pedal, and a Swell Celeste, possibly on double draw with the Gamba (either that or just detune the Ch Dulciana to be coupled through).

 

One is told that there is still some Seede pipework within, together with the front of the case provided for the Seede instrument. Those are, of course, worthy of preservation in any case.

 

Thank you for the comment, which I shall pass on.

 

(As a personal aside, I wonder how relevant a change of stop names would be to the usefulness or otherwise of the instrument to the church.)

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(As a personal aside, I wonder how relevant a change of stop names would be to the usefulness or otherwise of the instrument to the church.)

 

None - but in your case, any sort of nod towards its G&D origins is going to pacify locally interested parties, if you get my drift.

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None - but in your case, any sort of nod towards its G&D origins is going to pacify locally interested parties, if you get my drift.

 

I do, thanks. I'd be interested in discovering whether there were other interesting ideas which might assist the authorities. The reversion to G&D or thereabouts is already on the table (with a new west gallery on which to install it) and has its very focussed advocate. It's a very valid scheme but there must also be others.

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