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St. Andrew, Framingham Pigot, Norfolk
St. Andrew, Framingham Pigot, Norfolk
Specification
Great
Principal 4
Clarabella 8
Stopped Diapason Bass 8
Open Diapason 8
Swell Coupler
Swell
Diaocton 8
Fifteenth 2
Twelfth 3
Principal 4
Keraulophon 8
Stopped Diapason 8
Open Diapason 8
Great to Pedal
Pedal
Bourdon Pedal Pipes 16

The swell organ compass is from tenor C to f 42 notes whilst the keyboard compass is CC f 54 notes; the bottom octave of the swell completes the compass just by using the pipes of the STOPT DIAPASON BASS of the great organ, when drawn.

 The Dia-Octon (common to many Holdich organs) features 12 extra pipes for each of the 8 & 4ft stops and so provides the octave to every key on the swell organ making this a remarkably complete and effective department.

Holdich's original pedalboard had 17 notes with Bourdons for the bottom twelve; the pedalboard was replaced with the present one of 29 notes by Norman and Beard in 188? 

When they completed the pedal bourdon to this compass on pneumatic action and with Norman & Beard pipes. The present restoration has replaced the N & B pipes with new made to exactly follow the style and scale of the Holdich bottom 12 notes; these latter have been returned to their original sites either side of the swell box.

In around 1855 Holdich published a leaflet saying "GM Holdich has great pleasure in announcing that, after considerable study and labour, he has discovered methods of Constructing and Voicing Organs, different to those usually made; the mechanism is more simple, works easily, and is strong in structure; consequently not so liable to derangement. In voicing the pipes he has discovered a method of producing a roundness and richness of tone which sounds grand and majestic, and appears to traverse every hole and corner of a building, and at the same time not to oppress the ear. The extra-ordinary effect of this method of voicing the pipes can only be duly appreciated by hearing two Organs side by side of the same combination of stops, the one voiced on the old plan, the other on the new."

The leaflet goes on "G.M. Holdich also strongly recommends his invention the Diaocton stop, the merit of which consists in doubling every single stop throughout the instrument: therefore in a small organ it is invaluable".

The leaflet gives Holdich's address as 4 Judd Place East, New Road, King's Cross London. In 1858 the premises were apparently renumbered as 42 Euston Road, King's Cross, London, which is the address on the Framingham Pigot nameplate. His premises were acquired by the Midland Railway in 1866 which places the date of this organ between 1858 and 1866.

As Framingham Pigot church was completely rebuilt in 1857 it seems likely that the organ was commissioned soon after then; Holdich lists Framingham in his "Jubilee" list of churches with Holdich organs which he published in 1887.

The original siting of the organ in the church is a mystery, there being no other site than the impossible one in which we found it which was in the room adjacent to the Chancel from which it could neither be properly heard or seen. Word of mouth has suggested it was once in the tower gallery but as the organ is the exact width between the tower walls this seems unlikely as there would have been no room for the organist to pass it to reach the console.

On my first inspection of the organ it was obvious that Norman & Beard had altered the pedal organ and completed the pedal compass to 29 notes. I found a job number 2280 on the additional Norman & Beard pipes and wrote to the British Organ Archive who hold the Norman & Beard records.

Two interesting entries were found in the N & B order books.

2 May 1891 no 423

Remove organ altering bellows action making back casing New end framing to be charged to Mr. Read, Carpenter.

12 Mar 1898 no 2280

To complete the compass of the Bourdon to 29 notes with all secondary alterations take out noisy pedal action and bad soundboard and substitute pneumatic action and new soundboard £40. The 1891 entry does suggest that the organ was squeezed in somewhere. We found that the blowing handle had been moved from the front casing, right hand side to the side case where it suited the position in which we found it. The back casing and (the treble) end casing were by N & B there being no bass end case as this was against the wall of the chancel chamber.

Church pews were cut and the new floor was laid to allow us to restore the organ and resite it pride of place in the centre of the West End of the church. To do this we have replaced virtually all of the Norman & Beard work with parts made much more in keeping with the Holdich style.

The completion of the 12 Holdich Bourdon pedal pipes was again made but with pipes exactly copying the style and scale of the original. The new pedal action is now tracker and run in the same manner as the original Holdich 12 note action. These 12 pipes have returned to their original positions either side of the swellbox and the additional pipes are neatly placed within the back of the organ.

The only N & B part retained is their straight and parallel 29 note pedalboard which did reflect the style and layout of the original 17 note pedalboard. Prior to our work the pedal coupler was still of only 17 notes despite the 29 note N & B Bourdon extension and we have completed this copying the Holdich levers and action. There is still no swell to pedal as Holdich did not fit one, (the swell organ being of predominantly tenor C compass).

The organ case has been completed on all sides in the style of the Holdich panels and has been polished to grace the surroundings. Our schedule was to copy the original finish but when our polisher came to examine the parts he could find no trace of it ever having had a finish! It now has a fine finish appropriate to the period and to the location of the organ.

We were fortunate to again be able to restore a Holdich organ that had never received tuning slides. The organ still retains its original pipe lengths and cone tuning. Restoration of the pipework included carefully rounding out the pipes and carefully resetting this tuning. When we restored the Holdich organ at Frilsham (which dated from nearer to 1850) a few years ago we were able to carry out a similar procedure and discover that the organ was definitely tuned to an unequal temperament and were then able to go on and discover exactly what that temperament was for the pipes would not allow anything else without cutting or excessive coning. Here however the procedure discovered that the original tuning was equal temperament - such must therefore also tally with Holdich's methods of constructing and Voicing organs different to those usually made.

The wind pressure as we found it was 2 3/4" wg. All bellows weight have GMH on them. A few cut ups had been raised and some tips opened out.

When we reset the organ in the new much more favourable position the pipework was almost overblowing and excessively loud. after experimentation I resorted to lowering the pressure to 2 1/2" wg and the process of restorative refinishing the organ began to make great sense. I have a sure feeling that when Holdich originally brought the organ in he was disappointed with its location and had to increase the pressure to compensate; it assumably had to be him as all the weights are GMH. If Norman & Beard did move the organ from the tower to the chancel it was they who further strengthened the pipework, somewhat erratically, to attempt the impossible from this position. It has been an honour to at last find the fine result that Holdich made but which was never achieved because of the siting of the organ.

The Framingham Pigot tone colours are lovely, the keraulophon, (that peculiar precursor  of the Gamba where the pipe has a lead slide with a hole in it) is rich full toned and exquisite. The Clarabella has real clarity and articulation (all original) and the chorus work is bright and colourful. Just as I have discovered with other Holdich's I have discovered afresh that the organ teaches one how to play the way it wants to be played and that when one observes this the results are rewarding, beautiful and exhilarating.