Lottery boost for 300-year-old organ at Finedon church

The Rev Richard Coles outside St Mary's  Church in Finedon
The Rev Richard Coles outside St Mary's Church in Finedon

A 300-year-old organ built for the Private Royal Chapel and court of Queen Anne around 1705 has been given a Lottery grant for urgent restoration work.

The organ, at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Finedon, is said to be ‘of the highest historical importance,’ and is in need of urgent attention.

A grant of £43,200 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards work which has been recommended by professional restorers and noted historians.

Vanessa Harbar, acting head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “This organ is very rare and important as most of its interior works and external case work remain unaltered, including the Queen Anne coat of arms on the front pipes.

“We are delighted to play our part in ensuring its future and longevity for generations to come.”

Manuscripts of music first written and performed on the organ will be scribed into modern clefs, notably two pieces of 18th century English by William croft – organist of the Royal Chapel – which will be played at a launch event in mid-2014, a date for which is yet to be confirmed.

Works to and around the organ will include thorough cleaning and retuning, comprehensive collection of community and school activities including school visits, demonstrations, recitals and lessons, a film of the ‘restoration journey’ and opportunities for volunteers to be trained as guides on various aspects of the organ.