Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : Visit to St. Mary's Wigton : 15 November 2014

Six members visited St Mary’s Parish Church, Wigton to hear and play the recently restored Harrison organ which dates back to 1912. They were welcomed by the Organist, David Shingler.

This 2 manual instrument with 20 speaking stops replaced a smaller west gallery organ by Gray and Davison and incorporates some of its pipework. The design was influenced, as so often in this area, by Colonel George Dixon; according to the contract he was given unlimited access to the work in the factory and the church and the final payment would not be made without his certificate of satisfaction.

In 2013 the first complete dismantling and restoration was carried out by Harrisons. No tonal changes were made and the tubular pneumatic action was painstakingly refurbished. The organ holds a Grade II* historic organ certificate from The British Institute Of Organ Studies as it has been preserved in its original state. It is a fine example of the high quality craftsmanship of Arthur Harrison and his team.

David Shingler introduced members to the history and design of the organ and outlined the work done as well as details of the church’s Organ Centenary Appeal which successfully raised the additional funds required to complete the £100,000 project. St Mary’s is a much loved building at the heart of Wigton and much of the money was raised by the generous support  of the church congregation and the local community. Demonstration pieces were played by David and by Sam Mead, a Wigton sixth form student who regularly practises on the organ.

Following this, members had the opportunity to play the organ, to inspect the interior at ground and gallery level and to view a display of documents and photographs. Those who played expressed their delight at the quality and tonal variety of the instrument; some were surprised by its power but also admired the beauty of individual quieter stops.

The afternoon concluded with tea and a delicious selection of cakes served by two members of the church choir.

National Pipe Organ Register Links

St. Mary's, Wigton