The Organ

st-mary-le-tower-ipswichThe  famous 17th century organ builder, Renatus Harris, installed an instrument in the Tower at the West end. This was taken down from a gallery around the middle of the 19th century and broken up some 10 years later. This formed part of a wider rebuilding and restoration programme in the church, including the addition of the tower. Pinned to the North aisle wall is a fragment of the case, giving an impression of the scale of the instrument.

‘Father’ Henry Willis was commissioned to build a new instrument in the north aisle of the new Chancel. This three-manual, 32 stop instrument forms the heart of the organ used today.   In 1931, the organ was rebuilt by Spurden Rutt. This work included some revoicing, the installation of pneumatic action and some layout changes.

1964 saw a return to the Willis firm. Henry Willis IV converted the action to electric and replaced the console in the style of the firm.  The organ grew in size to one of some 42 stops. The 1985 overhaul was undertaken by Bishop & Son, a local firm.  Further revoicing of the reeds and mixtures and the addition of some small-scale upper work took place; the action was converted to “Solid State” switching.

Work in the 21st century has included the refitting of keys and the replacement of the pedal board in 2006 by Bower & Company of Norwich. The organ presently has 46 speaking stops and 2713 pipes.

Full organ specification

The Piano

The piano was donated by the Friends of St Mary-le-Tower in 2009, dedicated as part of a Parish Eucharist service in February 2009.  A high quality reconditioned Bechstein, it frequently features in the church’s series of lunchtime concerts.

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