Chelmsford Cathedral
The Cathedral Organs


The Nave Organ

The Nave OrganChelmsford Cathedral has the distinction of being the first Anglican Cathedral in England to commission a new organ for some three decades.

The Nave Organ was built on a specially constructed gallery at the west end of the Cathedral. Interestingly, when the new gallery was constructed, evidence was found that a similar gallery had existed previously, and there remained indications that a door had been blocked up from the spiral staircase now used to gain access to the gallery.

The style of the instrument is based on the work of the finest English builders of the mid nineteenth century, most notably Gray and Davison. The casework is to our own design and based on the work of the notable English organ builder and artist, Arthur Hill. The organ has four manuals and forty stops. It is the third four manual organ we have built in as many years and like the other two, the key and pedal actions are entirely mechanical, including all the couplers, the drawstop action being electric with a full complement of registrational aids.

A 40-stop organ may be seen as relatively small to warrant a four manual console. The fourth manual is in fact dedicated to just one stop. However, by doing this it was possible to add flexibility, and the Ophicleide is also on a higher pressure. The space available for the organ was in fact rather limited. This dictated that the Swell Organ be placed behind the Great Organ, and the Pedal Organ is contained in two separate cases either side of the main case and hardly visible from the Nave.

The Great, Swell, Solo and Pedal Organs are all playable from the console of the Chancel Organ, which has a third manual to make this possible. The swell pedal remains mechanical when used from the Nave Organ console, although an electric swell action engages when the organ is being played from the Chancel console.


The Chancel Organ

The Chancel OrganFor choir accompaniment and also for smaller congregations a second organ has been built in the East end of Chelmsford Cathedral, from which much of the main organ is playable for the accompaniment of congregational singing in larger services utilising electric action. The key and pedal actions of the Chancel Organ itself are of course mechanical, the drawstop action being electric with a full complement of registrational aids. The new casework is also to a design of our own.

Rather than making the Nave Organ playable by set pistons, it was decided to have all the stops available with their own knobs, so the console appears to have many more stops than the size of the casework would suggest could be incorporated. Various electric transfers of the Nave Organ manuals make for a high degree of flexibility, without compromising the integrity of the mechanical action of the Chancel Organ.

Shortly before the organ was ordered, an instrument from a redundant church in Cambridge, St. Andrew the Great became available. This was fortunate because it was looking as if the Chancel Organ was going to exceed the budget available to the Cathedral. This instrument was a Holditch of 1844 and some of the pipework was made available to Chelmsford Cathedral and formed the basis of the new organ. The new and old married very successfully.

Gallery Gallery

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