St. Mary the Virgin, Whissonsett, Norfolk
  The Whissonsett Temperament 
Stopped Diapason 8
Dulciana 8
Open Diapason 8
Principal 4
Fifteenth 2
Hautboy 8

The organ is a very fine chamber organ dating from the first half of the nineteenth century; probably around 1840. It is inscribed R. Nicholson, Organ Builder, Rochdale. Richard Nicholson traded in his own name from about 1832-1861 and it was his son who founded Nicholson's of Worcester.

The single manual has a compass GG - g (60 notes with no bottom GG#) and there is a 12 note pedal board GG - G. (It is the low GG compass that suggests the date of around 1840.) The finely engraved stop knobs now give the original specification of:-

Stopped Diapason 8', Dulciana 8', Open Diapason 8', Principal 4', Fifteenth 2', Hautboy 8’.

The attractive four-towered case with gold facade pipes is of an exotic species of mahogany.

The keyboard has at sometime been recovered in celluloid. We have restored this using reclaimed ivories.

The casework mouldings have been partly cut off to fit the organ into its previous position and these have been recreated and restored.

I was not convinced of the originality of the swell box on my visit but its presence is more likely having discovered later in my inspection that One stop, a flute was non-original; we have recreated an Hautboy on this site (modelled on historical evidence and influenced by that we recreated at Gooderstone).


 During my inspection I had cause to bring on the stopped diapason which, because of a broken stop action and a tight slide, had not spoken for many years; to my surprise and delight this stop was remarkably "in tune" to a musical unequal temperament such as was obviously used before the advent of "equal temperament" tuning. With so few examples of original unequal tuning available this was a remarkable find and one that we carefully recorded and documented before restoration. As the metal pipework had never had tuning slides fitted it became possible to discover and restore the original tuning system of the organ. The facade pipes were all covered in gold leaf; it became wise to reguild all of the pipes and the result is spectacular.