Winsford Church Organ
“…We also agree that it is desirable to purchase an organ for Winsford church and that £50 be raised by a rate for that purpose…”
July 8th 1858: a church rate of 6d in the pound was agreed.
(A printed list of subscriptions inserted later in the book shows that £130 including £50 from the church rate was collected.)
May 14th 1859: Public meeting at Royal Oak Inn during which it was agreed that the placing of the organ should be left to Sir Thomas Acland and the Revd.W.P.Anderson.
November 1st 1860: “…We the undersigned in Vestry assembled do agree 1st that whereas the Revd. Mr. Twopeny, Vicar of Stockbury in the County of Kent has offered to present to the Parish of Winsford an organ of superior value to the present one on condition that the organ now in the church be sold and the money received for it be placed in the hands of the Vicar to pay all expenses connected with the new organ…”
So, in 1861 the Stockbury Organ (made in 1847 by Joseph Walker) was sent by train from Paddington Station to Dulverton and transported from there to Winsford on a wagon drawn by two horses.
Having spent its life in two relatively remote village churches, the organ still contains most of its original features.
Following some research, it seems that the link between Winsford and Stockbury was the friend- ship of the two Incumbents, the Revd. Anderson and the Revd.Twopeny and that the organ was presented to the Parish of Winsford following the sad death of the Revd. Twopeny’s wife, Mary.
The church archives contain several books of music which came with the organ: One volume of Voluntaries for the Mass, signed by Mary Twopeny and dated Stockbury, December 1841 and three volumes of Select Organ Pieces, volumes two and three also signed and dated Stockbury, June 1844. To me, however, the most precious of these books is a volume of handwritten manuscripts signed by Mary Twopeny and dated Stockbury, January 1848. As present organist of Winsford Parish Church, I am working through these volumes, especially the handwritten book and have come to feel very close to Mary and her music.
On 29th June 2013, The British Institute of Organ Studies awarded the Winsford Organ a Grade 1 certificate in recognition of it being an outstanding organ by J.W.Walker 1847 in original condition. It is therefore, listed in the Institute’s Register of Historic Pipe Organs as being an instrument of importance to the national heritage and one deserving careful preservation for the benefit of future generations.
Brenda Staples, November 2013
This print of Mary Twopeny is from an original (date unknown) and is also kept in the archives.