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Nigel Allcoat

Atterton & Sons

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Dear Readers,

I have a lovely country church (ex-Collegiate Choir of a much larger Pre-Reformation edifice) with very grand historic associations in my Diocese of Coventry. The little organ (very well placed in a very large space) is by Atterton & Sons of Leighton Buzzard - so says the name plate and a date of 1906. Considering that the much of a family seems to be involved in organ building, I am at a loss to know anything about them. Is there light to be shed on their work or history/life? Also it would be good to know if there are any other instruments by them. After over 100 years of muck going inside this organ it still has one of the most beguiling Wald Flutes I have played in many-a -year.

Things in anticipation of a flood of information from all the boffs.

Nigel

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Dear Readers,

I have a lovely country church (ex-Collegiate Choir of a much larger Pre-Reformation edifice) with very grand historic associations in my Diocese of Coventry. The little organ (very well placed in a very large space) is by Atterton & Sons of Leighton Buzzard - so says the name plate and a date of 1906. Considering that the much of a family seems to be involved in organ building, I am at a loss to know anything about them. Is there light to be shed on their work or history/life? Also it would be good to know if there are any other instruments by them. After over 100 years of muck going inside this organ it still has one of the most beguiling Wald Flutes I have played in many-a -year.

Things in anticipation of a flood of information from all the boffs.

Nigel

 

As a teenager I was organist of this church here:

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D06050

 

A truly lovely, light unforced sound, although the new mixture (whilst a necessity when all four of the congregation were singing well) added in the 1980s is uncouth and not inkeeping with the rest. On the name plate over the console the place namewas splet Leighton Bussard not Buzzard (I don't know if it helps- the church is only 30mins from Leighton Buzzrd so I presume they are the same).

 

However, regardless of the organ this is a gem of a church. Set back in the midst of fields of sheep which graze right up to the boundaries of graveyard, with the Georgian former vicarage close by, this is Richard Hooker's first parish untouched, with virtually no mod cons, the original pre-reformation stained glass and lots more besides. A real find.......

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As a teenager I was organist of this church here:

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D06050

 

A truly lovely, light unforced sound, although the new mixture (whilst a necessity when all four of the congregation were singing well) added in the 1980s is uncouth and not inkeeping with the rest. On the name plate over the console the place namewas splet Leighton Bussard not Buzzard (I don't know if it helps- the church is only 30mins from Leighton Buzzrd so I presume they are the same).

 

However, regardless of the organ this is a gem of a church. Set back in the midst of fields of sheep which graze right up to the boundaries of graveyard, with the Georgian former vicarage close by, this is Richard Hooker's first parish untouched, with virtually no mod cons, the original pre-reformation stained glass and lots more besides. A real find.......

 

That is most kind of you to respond Charles. Here is a link to St Mary's Astley that I visited today and where I found this charming little instrument in serious need of some TLC.

More information would be gratefully received from any source. Many thanks,

Nigel

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That is most interesting James. Many similarities between the stops. So grateful to you for delving and putting on here. Also of interest is that from the date of this organ now in Sydney and 1906 in Astley, the firm became Atterton & Sons. I am wondering if the organ I saw today might have been a house organ before it arrived in Astley. It is so compact with very little room for it to be blown by hand because of the proximity of a pew.

At least a start has been made in unearthing some details. Excellent!

N

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Nigel, have you tried the The Freeman - Edmonds Directory of British Organ Builders (DBOB) in a tab on the NPOR web site. There are a few references there and it gives the dates of the Firm as 1856 to 1924. Possibly trained with Holdich.

If you do a search on the actual NPOR using the search under "search by builder" %atterton% it comes up with quite a long list of jobs (around 50) he was involved with.

PJW

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Nigel, have you tried the The Freeman - Edmonds Directory of British Organ Builders (DBOB) in a tab on the NPOR web site. There are a few references there and it gives the dates of the Firm as 1856 to 1924. Possibly trained with Holdich.

If you do a search on the actual NPOR using the search under "search by builder" %atterton% it comes up with quite a long list of jobs (around 50) he was involved with.

PJW

 

Thank so much Philip for a lesson in how to circumnavigate the NPOR site! Much appreciated. I find it odd that the organ in Astley is not mentioned although I rather suspect it was built for the church but never catalogued. It is interesting to read where the majority of the organs were/are situated and also the connection with Holdich. This all enables me to be of more knowledgeable assistance to the church as their Diocesan Organ Adviser.

Best wishes,

Nigel

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Thank so much Philip for a lesson in how to circumnavigate the NPOR site! Much appreciated. I find it odd that the organ in Astley is not mentioned although I rather suspect it was built for the church but never catalogued. It is interesting to read where the majority of the organs were/are situated and also the connection with Holdich. This all enables me to be of more knowledgeable assistance to the church as their Diocesan Organ Adviser.

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

Glad to be of use.

Why not send the details (and your excellent pictures) into NPOR HQ. Details of how to do it are on the NPOR website. Someone has to be the first to catalogue it!

Around 10 years or so ago BIOS NPOR sent out an email breakdown of many churches on their database where they had no idea of the musical contents. There were around 120 or so for Gloucestershire. Whilst some had electronic things, many had reed organs or pianos or even nothing at all. I think I visited about 110 of these over the coming years, sometimes doing six or so a day. Good excuse for some nice lunches and getting to know an area of the country I (and 4500 others) had only recently been moved to on a government dispersal exercise.

PJW

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Glad to be of use.

Why not send the details (and your excellent pictures) into NPOR HQ. Details of how to do it are on the NPOR website. Someone has to be the first to catalogue it!

Around 10 years or so ago BIOS NPOR sent out an email breakdown of many churches on their database where they had no idea of the musical contents. There were around 120 or so for Gloucestershire. Whilst some had electronic things, many had reed organs or pianos or even nothing at all. I think I visited about 110 of these over the coming years, sometimes doing six or so a day. Good excuse for some nice lunches and getting to know an area of the country I (and 4500 others) had only recently been moved to on a government dispersal exercise.

PJW

 

Hi

 

May I echo Philip's comments. NPOR, in the main, relies on information from organists and others - if an organ isn't listed, it's simply because no-one has told us of its existence! Please send info to the NPOR office - preferably by e-mail, but hard copy is also acceptable. We do have rather a backlog at present - but we will get to everything eventually!

 

Tony Newnham

(One of the NPOR Editors)

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Nigel, I have no idea how far your Diocese stretches, but on the NPOR website tab under "search for address" and then enter "Warwickshire" and change the radio button to "List buildings without surveys" and "search", it will come up with a list of nearly 200 places for which there are currently no details recorded. Sounds like a good project for a local organists' association!

PJW

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