History of the Organ

Housed in arcading which opens into the north chapel, the organ is an outstanding early example of the work of one of the most highly respected organ building firms of its period; the T C Lewis organ was installed in 1870.  Many of the organs of Lewis from this time have been lost or altered.  This is an instrument of exceptionally high quality, and a most rare and valuable survivor.

Evidence has been found in the County archives that as early as 12th May 1860,  a special Whitsun Week service was held ‘in aid of the Organ Fund’, with visiting preachers from Northampton and Peterborough.  The Parish Magazine of February 1870 records: “On Feb.16th, The organ was removed, having been sold to make way for the new instrument now building in the Church.  The new organ, of far greater power and tone, and of dimensions sufficient to require the whole eastern arch of the Chantry is in course of construction by Messrs Lewis, London, and expected to be in its place in readiness for the Easter Day services.  For the initiation and completion of this project we are indebted to the several members of the Attenborough Family and Mr W Hill; Lord Lilford also kindly promising a handsome donation”.   According to the Parish Magazine, previously, music for Divine service had been supplied by a ‘barrel organ’, the introduction of which in 1837 displaced the eight singers who had occupied the musicians gallery under the tower and ‘sang very loud’.

The Order of Services was as usual, many visitors from other parishes taking part in them. Voluntaries and portions of Mozart’s Twelfth Mass, and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus were beautifully played before and after the Service, and the Hymns and Chants accompanied by Mr. Thynne, an assistant of Mr. Lewis. As a necessity consequent on the increase of instrumental force, the choir seats have been lengthened almost to the altar-steps, for the accommodation of a choir already-enlarged to 36 members, (more can be entered;) So that with the immense and of our new organ those portions of the Divine Service which the Church of England has appointed to be sung may be rendered according to the best ability of the ministrants.

Titchmarsh Parish Magazine 1870