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Mander Organs

Pershore Abbey


undamaris

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I've just watched a video on YouTube of bell ringing from Pershore Abbey that was posted in 2012. In the early part of the film as the camera pans round, you can clearly see an organ at the west end of the nave just south of the west door. It's got a gothic style case with tracery and painted pipes with the tallest in the centre of the pipe flat. Does anyone have any information on this organ, as the Abbey site and the NPOR don't seem to be coming up with any details!

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I'm sure I have seen that video too.............it's not on NPOR as it was a temporary organ I think....It looked very much like that colourful organ which appears in Organists' Review - the one that travels around and teaches kids about the organ. It has a funny name - something like Woof or Hoof??

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Hi

 

Not sure why you had trouble finding it on NPOR - a search for "Pershore" reveals the situation a few years back - see http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12480 (2009)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

I know the main organ was removed years ago and replaced by the Bradford Computing organ, but this organ looks like a one manual affair at the west end of the church as opposed to the north east corner where the Walker used to stand

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I'm sure I have seen that video too.............it's not on NPOR as it was a temporary organ I think....It looked very much like that colourful organ which appears in Organists' Review - the one that travels around and teaches kids about the organ. It has a funny name - something like Woof or Hoof??

Very much like that! And AJJ you're right as well from what I remember. Wasn't it the Early English Organ Project? They replicated the Wetheringsett organ plus another instrument.

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Yes, it was one of the EEOP organs, not the WOOFIT! Incidentally, a third Old English organ was made a few years ago for a place in Wales, and there has been at least one American attempt at a similar instrument.

 

Pershore Abbey is notorious in the ringing fraternity as the hairiest ringing room in Christendom. In order to give some view of the vaulted ceiling of the crossing, Gilbert Scott (I think) removed the ringing floor and replaced it with a platform supported on a pair of crossbeams and approached by a walkway along one of said beams. The ringing space itself is surrounded with a barrier and wire netting up to a fair height, so there's no chance of falling out, even if something goes wrong, but ringing there is still not an experience for the faint-hearted. The only other really scary ring I know is the RC church of St. Augustine and St. John in Dublin, which is approached by a long open-work spiral staircase which goes through the middle of the organ on the west gallery. I nearly lost my nerve half-way up, but the sight of one of my colleagues standing in the nave smirking was enough to shame me into getting to the top.

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Pershore Abbey is notorious in the ringing fraternity as the hairiest ringing room in Christendom. In order to give some view of the vaulted ceiling of the crossing, Gilbert Scott (I think) removed the ringing floor and replaced it with a platform supported on a pair of crossbeams and approached by a walkway along one of said beams. The ringing space itself is surrounded with a barrier and wire netting up to a fair height, so there's no chance of falling out, even if something goes wrong, but ringing there is still not an experience for the faint-hearted. The only other really scary ring I know is the RC church of St. Augustine and St. John in Dublin, which is approached by a long open-work spiral staircase which goes through the middle of the organ on the west gallery. I nearly lost my nerve half-way up, but the sight of one of my colleagues standing in the nave smirking was enough to shame me into getting to the top.

 

 

My children, all of whom are peal-ringers, know it as 'the cage' and, indeed, I'm told that it is scary! They do say that ringing at Imperial in London is also scary - because you can look out over South Kensington and realise that the tower is moving, and not just slightly either, with the movement of the bells. Gloucester Cathedral is supposed to be a bit hairy too - I think my second son told me that you have to go outside along the roof before you get to the bell tower - but I may be wrong!

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Indeed, ringing at Pershore is great fun. Unless either they've re-hung the bells and altered the circle, or my memory is playing up, the 5th rope is the nearest to the edge of the cage. The netting used either not to be there, or not to extend so far up (talking about the late 1970s).

 

I recall going up to ring at St John's Dublin, and finding as one went up through the trapdoor at the top of the spiral staircase that the bolts securing(!) said staircase at its upper limit were exceedingly loose. This lent an extra frisson to coming down again after ringing.

 

Most towers, of course, sway to seom extent with a reasonable weight ring of bells. They have to, one would have thought, in order to absorb the mechanical moments of several tons of bell metal, particularly when the music of certain rows in certain compositions cause several bells' moments more or less to align.

 

Like certain organ lofts there are several towers where ringing includes an interesting element of risk.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know the main organ was removed years ago and replaced by the Bradford Computing organ, but this organ looks like a one manual affair at the west end of the church as opposed to the north east corner where the Walker used to stand

I know Pershore Abbey well having conducted many choral and orchestral concerts there. I played the old Walker 3-manual for a BBC recording many years ago and have played the Bradford organ many times. I've also rung the bells at the abbey. As one who suffers from vertigo even making it into the ringing platform was a challenge. The tower does sway during ringing, it's a pretty unique experience all round.

 

There is indeed a free standing one manual pipe organ located in the south west corner of the abbey. Whether it is playable or ever used I cannot say and I have no idea of its maker or specification.

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Yup - that's definitely a Casson. One of the firm's standard case designs, as featured also (for example) at Bulmer, Essex and Beighton, Norfolk. This one has the front pipes stencilled, which I haven't seen before in this design of case, and either the woodwork has been painted/stained or the photograph has given it a pinkish tint - the whole thing looks kind of strawberry-flavoured, but not at all unpleasant.

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No, unless it replaced the instrument listed in NPOR. The one in the Abbey is definitely a Casson. The case design is unmistakeable, as are other features such as the key-fall. The instrument in NPOR has no Cassonian features and looks typical of the builder to which it is attributed - Gildersleeve - as far as I can make out from the information available. The original Gildersleeve was trained by Willis and set up in Bury St. Edmunds. His organ at Garboldisham in Norfolk has round-fronted sharps in the Willis fashion (I'm sure it's one of his, despite NPOR suggesting it's by Mack of Yarmouth). There are a number of organs by him around Suffolk and Norfolk, generally cheerful little village jobs if not always particularly fascinating (excepting the very odd one at Drinkstone, which has more mis-spellings on the stops than I've seen outside Germany, a number of weird compasses and possibly some very old pipework).

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