Abbey Organs

The Musical Heart
of Wymondham Abbey

Abbey Organs

The Musical Heart
of Wymondham Abbey

Wymondham Abbey is home to two magnificent historic organs, each with its own story and significance. These instruments not only enhance our worship services with their rich sounds but also stand as testaments to the Abbey’s long-standing musical heritage.

A Historical Marvel

The Main Organ

Origins & Installation

The presence of organs in Wymondham Abbey dates back to the 15th century. However, the Great Organ that graces the Abbey today was crafted in 1792 by the renowned organ builder James Davis in his London workshop. By 1793 it found its home in the Abbey, generously donated by Miss Ann Farmer, a devoted parishioner.

Cost & Historical Significance

The organ’s acquisition cost of £687 3s 0d, which covered everything from the instrument itself to the beer for the carters, was a substantial sum for its time. This amount could have purchased several houses in that era, highlighting the community’s commitment to its musical legacy.

Architectural & Design Elements

Originally, the Great Organ stood on a wooden Georgian gallery. However, a 1903 restoration introduced a stone bridge across the tower’s archway, which now supports the organ. The organ’s case, a masterpiece of Georgian ‘Gothick’ design, draws inspiration from the patterns of famed cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale.

Technical Specifications

The Great Organ boasts three manuals and a pedal board, the latter added during an 1850s rebuild. With approximately 2,500 pipes, its sound is both powerful and intricate. The organ’s original console can be viewed at the back of the church, where visitors can also listen to brief recordings.

Historical & Musical Importance

The preservation of much of the original 18th-century pipe-work renders this organ invaluable to music historians and organists alike. Its unique sound and historical integrity make it a sought-after instrument for performances and studies.

Restorations and Maintenance

Over the centuries, the Great Organ has undergone significant restorations, notably in the mid-1950s and 1970s. The casework received a thorough cleaning in 2007, ensuring its continued beauty and function.

A Delicate Gem

The Chamber Organ

Location & Use

Currently residing in the Lady Chapel, this organ was generously donated to the church in 1977. Originally designed for home use, its intimate sound makes it perfect for small-scale services and recitals, adding a touch of musical elegance to the chapel’s serene ambiance.

Origins & Craftsmanship

The Chamber Organ, another masterpiece by James Davis, was crafted in 1810. While smaller in stature, it carries the same dedication to craftsmanship and sound quality as its larger counterpart.

Experience the Organs

We invite visitors and music enthusiasts to experience the grandeur of our organs firsthand. Whether attending a service, a concert, or simply exploring the Abbey, the organs’ melodies are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Support &Preservation

Maintaining these historic instruments requires expertise, dedication, and resources. Learn how you can support the preservation of our musical treasures and ensure they continue to inspire for generations to come.

The Abbey Organs