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Prinknash Abbey Plainsong Organ


stewartt
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Last year I was offered the choir organ section from the organ at Prinknash Abbey; the monks were down-sizing from the enormous modern abbey buildings built in the sixties back to the exquisite mediaeval house they occupied when they first came to Gloucestershire and they no longer had any need for the organ. This was the organ built by Father Charles Watson and known as ‘the plainsong organ’, later the choir division of the three manual instrument in the ‘big abbey’ chapel. In its original form it consisted of five ranks of pipework on an old slider and pallet soundboard fitted with a modern suspended action, a new oak case (made by the Abbey carpenter) and reverse colour playing keys. In 1995 (pace NPOR) it was incorporated into the larger organ and when I first saw it the mechanical action had been replaced by large lever arm magnets mounted on the old roller board working directly on the pallets of the old soundboard, the console still in-situ, and now played from the three manual console of the main organ.

 

I wonder if anyone can remember from where the various parts of this instrument came? NPOR cites ‘Horace Clarke 1930’ – who was he? ‘Classical Organ in Britain’ states that it was assembled in 1970. The old soundboard is of rather unusual construction, with the mahogany table made in sections to match the upper boards, sitting on felt gaskets and screwed to the bars rather than glued; it would be very easy to repair in situ and I wonder why all builders didn’t do this (too expensive I suppose). The Salicional is an old Peter Conacher TC stop in spotted metal: the paper label on the C pipe identifies it as from Job No 1044 (Mr Wyld, do you have this in your records?). The 8ft Gedackt is an old and very solid affair in varnished pitch pine and the 4ft flute is also an old wooden stop with the cut-up lowered. The 4ft principal looks practically new, in spotted metal with low cut up and very little nicking as does the 2ft, a tapered rank perplexing stamped ‘Flute’. The BOB blower is well documented on a label inside and was made in 1970.

 

I am currently rebuilding this instrument as a house organ on a new direct electric chest, so if anyone wants 56 K-A heavy duty pallet magnets and five KA electric stop motors they are free to anyone who wants to collect them from Hereford. Just email me at stewart.m.taylor@btinternet.com.

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Last year I was offered the choir organ section from the organ at Prinknash Abbey; the monks were down-sizing from the enormous modern abbey buildings built in the sixties back to the exquisite mediaeval house they occupied when they first came to Gloucestershire and they no longer had any need for the organ. This was the organ built by Father Charles Watson and known as ‘the plainsong organ’, later the choir division of the three manual instrument in the ‘big abbey’ chapel. In its original form it consisted of five ranks of pipework on an old slider and pallet soundboard fitted with a modern suspended action, a new oak case (made by the Abbey carpenter) and reverse colour playing keys. In 1995 (pace NPOR) it was incorporated into the larger organ and when I first saw it the mechanical action had been replaced by large lever arm magnets mounted on the old roller board working directly on the pallets of the old soundboard, the console still in-situ, and now played from the three manual console of the main organ.

 

I wonder if anyone can remember from where the various parts of this instrument came? NPOR cites ‘Horace Clarke 1930’ – who was he? ‘Classical Organ in Britain’ states that it was assembled in 1970. The old soundboard is of rather unusual construction, with the mahogany table made in sections to match the upper boards, sitting on felt gaskets and screwed to the bars rather than glued; it would be very easy to repair in situ and I wonder why all builders didn’t do this (too expensive I suppose). The Salicional is an old Peter Conacher TC stop in spotted metal: the paper label on the C pipe identifies it as from Job No 1044 (Mr Wyld, do you have this in your records?). The 8ft Gedackt is an old and very solid affair in varnished pitch pine and the 4ft flute is also an old wooden stop with the cut-up lowered. The 4ft principal looks practically new, in spotted metal with low cut up and very little nicking as does the 2ft, a tapered rank perplexing stamped ‘Flute’. The BOB blower is well documented on a label inside and was made in 1970.

 

I am currently rebuilding this instrument as a house organ on a new direct electric chest, so if anyone wants 56 K-A heavy duty pallet magnets and five KA electric stop motors they are free to anyone who wants to collect them from Hereford. Just email me at stewart.m.taylor@btinternet.com.

Conacher's job number 1044 was a three manual instrument, supplied in 1898 for Trinity Wesleyan Chapel in the Fartown district of Huddersfield.

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The Salicional is an old Peter Conacher TC stop in spotted metal: the paper label on the C pipe identifies it as from Job No 1044 (Mr Wyld, do you have this in your records?).

 

Sorry Stewart, we don't hold the Conacher records as these were taken over by John Willis when he was given the Conacher firm by HW4 in the 1990s.

 

David Wyld

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Sorry Stewart, we don't hold the Conacher records as these were taken over by John Willis when he was given the Conacher firm by HW4 in the 1990s.

 

David Wyld

 

Hi

 

At least some of the Conacher records are listed as held by the BOA - maybe the hon. archivist can help. See the BIOS web site for contact details.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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