The present church dates from the 12th century with only the base of the tower dating back to Norman times. The church was rebuilt in 1340 with significant restorations taking place during Victorian times.
The original five-stop, one-manual organ was built by Richard Nicholson of Rochdale, Lancashire in 1838. It was later moved from the west gallery to its present location. It is understood that the Gothic casework is original. The organ was rebuilt in 1900 by the present Nicholson & Co. firm, founded by Richard’s son John in 1841.
This work included the addition of the Swell Organ, and two tonal changes to the Great Organ: the Twelfth 22/3‘ was replaced by a Dulciana 8′ and the Fifteenth 2′ replaced with a Flute 4’. The compass of the Great Organ was altered from GG–f3 to C–f3 to match the new Swell Organ. The organ’s original 18-note pull-down pedalboard was replaced with a 25-note pedalboard and a Bourdon 16′ added.
In subsequent years, some remedial work had been carried out to the manual key action. However, the pedal action was in a poor condition with several notes not working, and the soundboards and large wind reservoir had received no major attention for 100 years.
With the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, in 2008, Nicholson & Co. returned the organ to good working order. The work also included replacement of missing case decorations, restoration of the grained softwood finish, and gilding of the case pipes. The 1900 Flute 4′ on the Great Organ was removed to allow reinstatement of a new Fifteenth 2′ scaled to match the remaining Richard Nicholson pipework, thus returning the specification of the Great Organ some way towards its original form.
The organ can be heard on our YouTube page here