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All Saints, Laxton, Northamptonshire
All Saints, Laxton, Northamptonshire
Specification
Diaocton  
Open Diapason 8 G
Dulciana 8 F
Stopped Diapason Bass 8 F
Clarabella 8 F
Principal Bass 4
Principal Treble 4
Twelfth 3
Fifteenth 2
Hautboy 8

The Dia-Octon is common to many Holdich organs. It normally features 12 extra pipes for each of the 8 and  4ft stops but here we have an early example where the extra keyboard notes are provided at the top. The organ has been returned to its original form of cone tuning; the form of unequal temperament tuning used by Holdich has also been recreated.

George Holdich must have built this chamber organ in the early 1840's. It is younger, by a trifle, than his organ at nearby Southwick but older than those of his that this firm has restored at Wiveton, Norfolk (built for the great exhibition of 1851), and at Frilsham Berkshire, of the mid 1850's. More recent history shows that the organ was at Stibbington near Peterborough before being moved to Laxton in the 1920's. Interestingly George Holdich's brother was rector of Bulwick long before this organ came to Laxton.

The organ had suffered over the years - before the 2000 restoration the Twelfth stop was missing, the lowest 5 notes, GG - BB had been removed, as had the pedalboard, its hole covered over by a piece of wood. The casework had become shabby and the gold leaf on the ornate front pipes had given way to silver paint. Celluloid had replaced the original ivory covering of the keys. All of these points have been restored and the original musical nature of the organ tone has been carefully recreated. Music found in Laxton's church chest must have accompanied the organ in its past travels.

A volume of  "The Organists Companion" is inscribed "Given to Jane Holdich from her brother GM Holdich June 26th 1841 Maidwell Hall". (Holdich's father was rector of Maidwell). In one of the pieces is a hand registration written in "Principal Bass" - this organ has that stop and such is quite a rare name. Does this mean that this organ could have been in Maidwell Hall, the place of the builders birth?

Restoration of the missing pedalboard involved research; both Southwick and Wiveton were examined in great detail to arrive at the exact nature of the original.