Stunning organ could be playing for generations after receiving listed status

By Nick Humphreys | Ludlow | News | Published:

A stunning 19th century church organ could be restored to its former glory after receiving Grade-II listed status.

The church organ has been relisted as Grade II at St Cuthbert's Church in Clungunford

The organ at St Cuthbert's Church in Clungunford, near Ludlow, has been awarded the certification by the British Institute of Organ Studies, as "‘an instrument of importance to the national heritage and one deserving careful preservation for the benefit of future generations."

It means now the church has a stronger chance of being able to secure funding grants to restore the instrument and keep it playing for years to come. It will cost around £50,000.

Church warden Eddie Gledhill said: "The organ was built and gifted to the church in 1895 by Mr John C Rocke at a cost of £758 5s 0d in memory of his sister. It was the culmination of a project to restore the church building and was dedicated by the Archbishop of York on the 19th October 1895 in a service attended by the Bishop of Hereford.

"What makes the instrument of note is that nothing has been done to affect the voicing of the instrument over the 125 years since it was built. This is unusual as most organs have been changed to reflect the preferred sound of the day.

"The instrument was built by James J Binns of Leeds to a very high standard using their patented pneumatic mechanism. An electrical blower was fitted to the instrument in 1949 and the hand pump was disconnected from the bellows but not removed. Bert Bason was the last person to pump the organ as a boy of 12 years old and was paid 1s 6d a week to pump for the two services held on a Sunday. Bert still lives in the village.

"The instrument is used for Sunday services and the occasional concert. It was last partially restored in 1981 and is now showing signs of deterioration in areas such as the leather bellows and the lead piping that provides air flow around the instrument. Church mice have played their part with these problems. It is hoped that the new listing will help with raising the money needed to restore the instrument for another generation."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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