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Holy Trinity Parish Church, St Andrews (Church of Scotland)


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I'm quite shocked to see that this church is under threat, if not promise, of closure. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/1186640/exclusive-cradle-of-reformation-st-andrews-church-to-be-sold-off-as-surplus-to-requirements/

Its organ is a very fine, well mannered Harrison with obvious influence from St Albans Abbey, and a killer floating reed division. It was rebuilt at a cost of about 135k, rather than the 50k mentioned in the article not too long ago (NPOR says 2008). I believe that some of it was originally voiced by WC Jones.

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00533

I can't imagine that Church of England or Church of Wales would treat a town main parish church, without building defects, in such a way.

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All I can say is: get used to it. Brechin cathedral too. The virus and lockdown mean no church services, therefore no weekly giving, therefore in the C of E diocesan share unpaid. The share pays for clergy and pensions, each stipendiary cleric costing about 55K pa (stipend, training, housing, pension etc). The commissioners 70 million loaned to diocese in this emergency won't cover more than a few weeks. The stockmarket has taken a huge hit, so diocesan investment income is, to coin a phrase, bolloxed. Churchgoing is for many a habit, Lost habits tend not to be resurrected and anyway most churchgoers are elderly and many will die before they're allowed out again. Some economic historians say nothing like this has happened for 10 generations - 400 years or so. Dioceses are or soon will be bankrupt. Stipendiary clergy will soon be unaffordable. Churches will close. It's as if this virus were deliberately designed to strike at capitalism. Good thing, some might say. 

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If the worst should happen and this church (along with others) is forced to close, perhaps the least we can hope for is for the organ to be bought by another church or organisation (quite likely abroad!) and consequently saved.

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I wonder if Sheffield Cathedral is aware of this? Having promised to replace it's former Mander organ that disappeared many moons ago, this organ could form the basis of a much larger instrument suitable for the cathedral.

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Since I posted, I've learnt that the headline was sensationalist and the article premature. But not necessarily misleading in substance. I have it on good authority that the East Fife presbytery of the Kirk has settled on an "everything-must-go policy", which will take them down to one or two churches from about forty or so. The Kirk is in serious decline: if you're so inclined., this makes for interesting reading: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about-us/property-and-church-buildings/properties-for-sale?t=1588706575 They're a bit further down the road, and much more candid, than the C of E.

As to the organ, it's not great. A few undistinguished bits and pieces with a brash fanfare trumpet extended to 32' - yes, 32. Loud and lumpy. Harrsons did their best I suppose. https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00533 Sheffield could do better.

I posted this not to start a discussion about churches and their inept and spineless leadership over the last 200 years or more - after all, this board is about organs - but rather to alert readers to the fact that there are bad times just around the corner for churches, and THEREFORE for organs. In the absence of a Scandi/German/Italian style church tax, it's difficut to know what to do. France is perhaps more equivalent to our situation, except that even that is better off in that the buildings are looked after by the state or local community. 

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6 hours ago, Stanley Monkhouse said:

 France is perhaps more equivalent to our situation, except that even that is better off in that the buildings are looked after by the state or local community. 

…………………….. and are largely without organs!

Fortunately I don't have to but if I did have to go out to practice the nearest organ is 10 miles - after that 25 miles - and, in a 25 mile radius of my home, there might be 3 organs - and 100 churches!

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Thanks to Stanley for the reality check. 

I suppose my objectivity to the quality of this organ might be a result of knowing it whilst young. However compared with other big parish church instruments I’ve known, I’d still put it as top quartile. Probably it depends what our benchmarks are. If I were to compare it with say Dunblane Cath, Preston Parish or Swansea Parish, all of which I’ve known, it’s better than the last two.

 

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You may be right about the organ, Owen. I played it a very long time ago, before the 32ft extension was installed. Of course, IIRC the acoustic is unhelpful - too much wood. Lovely stained glass though - Strachan I think. That is definitely worth preserving.

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11 hours ago, Stanley Monkhouse said:

well, it'll not be long before that's the case here, I suspect - at least, organs that are playable. Organs in churches proliferated with the Oxford movement. Before that, fiddlers on the gallery at the back. Back to the future?

More likely 'worship groups'!  Though not necessarily on the gallery.

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