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Restoration of the ca. 1820 Nicholls barrel organ at Brightling Church in Sussex

The organ was restored in 1999 by Stuart Dobbs and Dominic Gwynn

The local squire, John Fuller, gave the organ in about 1820. He had already encouraged the psalmody in Brightling church by providing nine bassoons to accompany the singing.

A printed label at the back of the chest reads: 'W.A.A.Nicholls, son-in-law and successor to the late G.P. England, No.9 Stephen Street, Tottenham Ct. Rd.'

There are six stops:
Mixture Fifteenth Twelfth Stopt Diapason Principal Open Diapason
AA D F G A B c#-g c A# G# F# E C (43 keys)
There are two barrels with 12 chant and hymn tunes each

 

Barrel no.1

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
[12

 

Hanover (old 104th)
Lord Mornington's chant
Windsor Chapel
unknown
unknown
Gainsborough
Falcon Street
Abingdon
chant (by P.Dally)
Montgomery
unknown
Old 100th
Hanover (old 104th)

 

g#
e
d
f
d
g
c
g
a
d
d
a
g]

 

Barrel no.2

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
[12
Mount Ephraim
Sheldon
Adeste fidelis
St George
Irish
New Sabbath
Oxford New
Islington
Easter Hymn
Surrey
Burford
St Anne
Mount Ephraim
c#
d
e
g
f
d
c
c
d
g
g minor
d
c]
 

The last ones (12) on each barrel are not available, and have been replaced with the transposed tunes at the opposite end of the barrel, which sound ghastly in meantone of course, which may be why there are no notes played in the bottom octave.

The pitch is 434.17Hz at 20C. The tuning is 1/4 comma meantone. The wind pressure is 43mm.

The bellows is blown by foot pedal, independently of the barrel mechanism, which means that the 'player' can dwell on a note (e.g. the initial reciting note), without worrying about loss of wind.

 

Visit the Stuart Dobbs and Dominic Gwynn web site, from which these details have been copied.
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