Christchurch Priory North Transept Case

Christchurch Priory, Dorset

There has been a church on the site of Christchurch Priory since around 800 AD. The present building, which was begun in 1094 by Ranulf Flambard, has had many additions over the centuries but has been in continuous use as a place of prayer and pilgrimage.

In 1539 the Priory was surrendered to King Henry VIII (the Dissolution of the Monasteries). It is said that although the King had intended to pull down the church as well as the Priory’s monastic buildings, in response to a plea from the townspeople, he relented and granted the church to be used as the Parish Church.

From 1973 to 1999, the Priory’s pipe organ had been out of use, silently awaiting restoration. However, thanks to the generosity of many donors and a substantial grant from the National Lottery via the Arts Council, Nicholson & Co. built a new organ incorporating the best of the existing historic pipework.

The new organ is sited on the south transept gallery behind an imposing case of English oak, designed by David Graebe, with front pipes of spotted metal. The Great and Swell pipework which is substantially by Father Willis (1865 and 1880), now has the addition of new pipework by Nicholson. The Choir organ is based on the Alexander Cummings chorus (1788) and housed in a projecting ‘chaire’ case. The mechanical-action gallery organ is played from an attached console set into the side of the case and a duplicate, mobile four-manual console is sited in the nave and operates an independent electro-pneumatic action via a multiplexer system. The nave triforium division, added by Degens & Rippin in 1964, was renovated and encased and can be played from the fourth manual of both consoles.

The consultant for the Priory was Nicolas Kynaston, who gave the opening recital after Nicholson & Co. completed the project in 1999. Some tonal additions were made in 2000 and 2006.

In 2017, we added a new enclosed Solo division to the instrument.

Specification

4 manuals, 72 stops
Mechanical key and coupler action to gallery console
Electro-pneumatic action via small cable link to mobile console

Great
Double Open Diapason
Open Diapason I
Open Diapason II
Claribel Flute
Gamba
Octave
Harmonic Flute
Superoctave
Fourniture
Sharp Mixture
Trumpet
Clarion

Swell (enclosed)
Lieblich Bourdon
Open Diapason
Lieblich Gedackt
Salicional
Viole d’Amour
Vox Angelica  from c
Principal
Tapered Flute
Fifteenth
Sesquialtera
Contra Fagotto
Trumpet
Hautboy
Clarion
  Tremulant
  Octave

Choir
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Dulciana
Principal
Chimney Flute
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Block Flute
Tierce
Sesquialtera
Mixture
Corno di Bassetto
  Tremulant


16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
IV
III
8
4


16
8
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
III
16
8
8
4




8
8
8
4
4
22/3
2
2
13/5
III
III
8

Nave / Bombarde
Open Diapason
Harmonic Flute
Octave  ext from OD
Superoctave
Grand Chorus
Contra Posaune
Posaune  ext from CP
Tuba Mirabilis
Tuba Clarion  ext from TM

Solo (enclosed)
Wald Flute  73 notes
Viole d’Orchestre  73 notes
Viole Celeste  from FF#,
   67 notes
Lieblich Flute  73 notes
Piccolo
Double Clarinet
Clarinet  ext from DC
Orchestral Oboe
Vox Humana
  Tremulant
  Sub Octave
  Octave
  Unison Off

Pedal
Subbass  Polyphone to EEEE
Open Diapason
Open Wood
Bourdon  ext from SB
Octave
Bass Flute  ext from SB
Tapered Octave
Harmonics of 32′  derived
Ophicleide
Posaune

Nave Pedal
Contra Bass  ext from OD
Bourdon  ext from HF
Contra Bombarde
Bombarde  ext from CB
Clarinet  from Solo
Posaune  from Nave

8
8
4
2
V
16
8
8
4


8
8
8

4
2
16
8
8
8






32
16
16
16
8
8
4

16
8


16
16
32
16
16
16

Gallery
New Solo Organ (2017)

Soundboard and chests

Expression box

Wind system

Console modifications

General views

Design