Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : Visits to Organs in the Ulwater Mission Community : 28 September 2013

On a fine day with brilliant sunshine, fifteen members and guests met Mike Town at Barton Church, a few miles southwest of Penrith, for a tour of the organs, history and architecture of six contrasting churches in the newly formed “Ullswater Mission Community” group of parishes. St. Michael’s, Barton was largely built in the 12th Century by monks from an Augustine Abbey in Yorkshire and, in 1871, Isaac Abbott from Leeds, a former employee of William Hill, built the organ, a fine 2-manual tracker action instrument, with a classic English Great department of 9 stops, plus four on the Swell and a pedal Bourdon.

Our next visit was to St. Paul’s Church, Pooley Bridge, built in 1868 and housing a one-manual Bevington organ of 1877, recently restored by Willis, following water damage in 2012, its gentle tones well suited to this very attractive small Victorian church.

A few miles north we came to Dacre, another Norman church, built on the site of a former monastery and home to the 3-manual instrument which Victor Saville transplanted from a redundant Wadsworth organ in Carnforth, plus a few pipes from elsewhere, in 2002. 19 ranks of pipes were used to make up 37 speaking stops, making it a large and versatile organ.

Next we arrived at St. Andrew, Greystoke, a huge Norman Church, which was once a training College for priests, with its 2-manual organ. Originally installed by Brindley and Foster, it was completely rebuilt in 1992, using the B&F casework and some of their pipes, but also incorporating some very fine pipework (especially the 3 Swell reeds – Horn, Oboe and Clarinet) from a dismantled Lewis organ in Castle Douglas in Scotland.

A few miles away we visited Matterdale Church, built in 1573 and resembling a typical Cumbrian barn, having huge oak cross-beams and with a small 2-manual Wilkinson organ with only 5 speaking stops at the west end, built in 1937.

Finally, tea and cakes called us to St. Patrick’s Church, Patterdale, where members enjoyed playing the recently restored and enlarged William Hill / Wilkinson / Andrew Carter organ.

National Pipe Organ Register Links

St. Michael's, Barton
St. Paul's, Pooley Bridge
St. Andrew's, Dacre
St. Andrew's, Greystoke
Matterdale Church
St. Patrick's, Patterdale