Visits to St Mary’s Church, Thornbury and Holy Trinity Church, Wickwar

Sixteen members arrived at Thornbury at 10.30 am. and after a brief demonstration of the organ by Ian Fox all members had ample time to put this rebuilt organ through its paces. The first organ is this church was installed in 1805 at the tower end of the church. The organist increased the key compass to f3 and added horizontal bellows and an octave of Double Diapason pipes, all for £35. That organ was tuned to either Dr. Crotch’s or Lord Stanhope’s temperament. The organ was moved to the north chapel in 1829, and it was replaced by a Vowles’ organ in 1870, which had the specification:

Great: 16, 4×8, 2×4, 2, 8.

Swell:  16, 4×8, 4, 2, III, 2×8.

Pedal:  2×16, 8.

Changes were made to the action in the 1920s.

In 1988 Daniel’s made significant alterations. The action was changed to electro-pneumatic, it had a detached console with two sets of Swell shutters; one on the north-aisle side. On the Great the Gamba and Dulciana were replaced by a Nazard and a Tierce, and the Cremona was moved to the Swell, with its place taken by a Fourniture. The Trumpet was replaced by a Trumpette on a unit chest. On the Swell the Lieblich Bourdon and the Open Diapason were replaced by the Cremona and the Larigot. A Fifteenth and a Cymbal were added. The pedal was given additional stops, making the specification:

Great: 16, 2×8, 2×4, 22/3, 2×2, 13/5, 19-22-26, 8.

Swell:  3×8, 4, 2, 11/3, 22-26-29, 16, 3×8.

Pedal: 2×16, 102/3, 2×8, 4, 19-22, 16.

This organ is detailed in NPOR E00240

Ian Fox, as Diocesan Organs Adviser, had remarked that this two manual instrument contained a number of stops which would lie quite happily on a choir manual – not least the Recorder 2′ on the Great which also had a Fifteenth 2′. The accomplished organist of the church Joachim Schwander took these ideas on board and funds were quickly raised to allow Clevedon Organs to fit a third manual on the instrument.

The whole organ, as rebuilt, uses the latest computer technology for the action that was developed by two Czechoslovakians who are part of the Clevedon Team.

Towards the end of our visit, we explored the playback facilities on the organ and hear several snippits from the Elgar Organ Sonata and Widors’ Symphonies.




Lieblich Bourdon        16’       Unit A, 1-12 from Gt Double.

Gemshorn                      8’       Unit B, 1-12 from A. Vowles pipes, Chilcompton.

Lieblich Gedackt          8’       Unit A, Vowles pipes from Chilcompton PC.

Salicional                       8’       Unit C, 1-12 from A. Vowles pipes, Chilcompton.

Gemshorn                      4’       Unit B. Vowles pipes from Chilcompton PC.

Wald Flute                    4’       Unit D, 1-12 from Unit A.

Nazard                     2 2/3’       Unit E, ex Swell Larigot. 1-12 added.

Recorder                       2’       Unit D, ex Great Recorder.

Tierce                      1 3/5’       Unit F, ex Great Tierce.

Larigot                    1 1/3’       Unit E, ex Swell Larigot.

Cremona                        8’       Unit G, ex Swell Cremona.

Tromba                          8’       Unit H, ex Trompette re-voiced. Horizontal on top of swell     box.


Double Diapason        16’       Unit A for 1-12, shared with Choir.

Open Diapason             8’       Existing.

Gamba                           8’       Vowles pipes, on ex Tierce slide. 1-12 Unit A.

Open Flute                    8’       Existing.

Principal                        4’       Existing, re-voiced.

Suabe Flute                   4’       Existing.

Twelfth                   2 2/3’       Ex Nazard, re-voiced.

Fifteenth                       2’       Existing, re-voiced.

Fourniture                   III        Existing, re-composed.

Trombone                    16’       Unit H, Available via touch screen only.

Cremona                      16’       Unit G.

Trumpet                         8’       Vowles pipes, Chilcompton, on ex Recorder slide.

Tromba                          8’       Unit H.

Clarion                                      4’       Unit H, available via touch screen only.


Open Diapason             8’       Vowles pipes, Chilcompton, on ex Cremona slide.

Stopped Diapason         8’       Existing.

Dulciana                        8’       Existing.

Vox Angelica                8’       Existing.

Principal                        4’       Existing.

Fifteenth                       2’       Existing, moved to ex Larigot slide.

Cymbal                        III        Existing.

Contra Fagotto            16’       Partly from Lord Mayor’s Chapel, on ex 15th slide.

Cornopean                     8’       Existing.

Hautboy                        8’       Existing.

Tromba                          8’       Unit H.


Open Wood                16’       Existing.

Subbass                       16’       Existing.

Lieblich Bourdon        16’       Unit A, 1-12 from Great Double Diapason 16’.

Quinte                   10 2/3’       Existing.

Principal                        8’       Existing.

Bass Flute                     8’       Existing.

Fifteenth                       4’       Existing.

Quartane                     II        Existing.

Harmonics                   32’       Aliquot pitches, unit A, available via touch screen.

Ophicleide                   16’       Re-voiced, from unit H.

Cremona                      16’       Unit G.

Tromba                          8’       Unit H.

Shawm                          4’       Unit G.


(Illuminating stops in upstand)

Swell to Great                         Swell to Choir                         Choir to Great

Choir to Pedal                         Great to Pedal                         Swell to Pedal

Swell octave                           Swell unison off                     Swell sub octave

Swell octave to Pedal             Great and Pedal Combs          Generals on Swell toe

(Via touch screen only)

Swell Octave to Great             Swell Sub Oct to Great           Swell Octave to Choir

Swell Sub Oct to Choir

(Melodic Bass & Treble couplers, via touch screen)

Pedal to Choir                         Pedal to Great                         Pedal to Swell

Great to Choir                         Swell to Choir                         Choir to Great

Swell to Great                         Choir to Swell                         Great to Swell


8 divisional thumb pistons to Choir, Great and Swell divisions.

8 general thumb pistons, split between Swell and Great keyslips.

6 reversible thumb pistons to the couplers.

3 pistons (two plus, one minus) for the stepper / sequencer.

Set piston and general cancel piston.

8 divisional toe pistons to Pedal and Swell divisions.

2 reversible toe pistons to the couplers.

2 pistons (plus and minus) for the stepper / sequencer.

Touch screen interface with 6 user accounts, each with 1000 Div & Gen levels.

Independent Stepper and Sequencer for each user account.

Transposer and Record / Playback facility with unlimited recording.

Wireless mobile console and MIDI capability if required in future.


 Organ cleaned and partial overhaul.

  • New Choir section added above Great, with independent blower and regulator.
  • Trompette unit re-voiced and moved horizontal on top of Swell box.
  • Tonal alterations to Swell and Great and Pedal section enlarged.
  • Console completely overhauled and augmented with new keys, stops & piston units. Touch screen interface added in drawer under keybench.
  • New slider solenoid controllers added.
  • New transmission system and capture system, re-wiring and new power supplies.
  • The Daniels Wind system and Electro-Pneumatic actions were in reasonable condition and no work was done to these, except minor improvements to wind stability and adjustment and lubrication of magnets.
  • All additional pipework mostly by Vowles, from Chilcompton PC and The Lord Mayors Chapel, Bristol.

The Angel Pub just outside Thornbury offered us a very splendid lunch menu and was one of the highlights of the day.

We were welcomed at Holy Trinity Church, Wickwar, by Charles Hiscock, the organist of the church, who gave us tea and coffee and an interesting talk on the organ and  . The first organ in this church was installed in 1856 and was totally enclosed in a swell box. It was a 1-manual and pedal organ with the specification:

Manual: 2×8, octaves of the Open Diapason.

 That organ was replaced by a Vowles’ organ in 1889:

Great: 4×8, 2×4, 22/3, 2.

Swell: 16, 4×8, 4, 2, III, 2×8.

Pedal: 2×16.

That organ was replaced by a Hele’s organ with pneumatic action in 1929:

Great: 16, 4×8, 2×4, 22/3, 2, 8.

Swell:  16, 4×8, 4, 2, III, 16, 2×8.

Choir:  3×8, 4, 2×8.

Pedal: 4×16, 2×8, 2×16.

The action was electrified by Hutchins in 1966 and the console was moved in 1969. Daniels, Nicholson and Taylor have made changes in 1992, 2001 and 2004 respectively. The details are not given in NPOR.