Kelham St Wilfrid


Organ by
Organ installed
in 2018
Restored organ

Until recently the church had a two manual organ by Wordsworth of Leeds. A technical specification for the organ is available on the National Pipe Organ Register website.

This organ was reaching a point where it would not be economic to repair and it was removed in September 2018. This allowed the organ chamber to become a chapel for reflection and facilitated the installation of a replacement instrument on the adjacent wall of the south aisle.

The replacement organ was made by Cousans, of Lincoln, in 1935 and housed within an ornate case of 1906 by the gothic revival architect, Temple Moore. The organ case was contemporaneous with the building in which it was previously housed, the Chapel of the former ‘Bishop’s Hostel’ in Lincoln. The chapel was used by Lincoln Theological College until it closed in 1995 and then by the University of Lincoln, as a library, before being sold to property developers in 2016.

The Cousans organ was the second of a pair of ‘plainsong’ organs made by the firm in the 1930s; the first for the chapel of Kelham Theological College, which was run by the Society of the Sacred Mission (SSM). The organ pipes were totally enclosed in a swell-box and designed to accompany a body of men singing the liturgy, especially plainchant.

It is considered likely that Brother Edwin Cosgrove SSM, who used to travel weekly to Lincoln to instruct the students in plainsong, facilitated the rebuilding of the Lincoln organ by Cousans. Brother Edwin’s grave is located in the SSM burial ground, behind the south aisle.

The organ was purchased by the PCC for £2,000 in late 2016, removed from the chapel in Lincoln in early 2017 and then stored until Faculty permission to install it at St Wilfrid’s was given and the project fully funded. The Cottam Will Trust generously gave a grant of £15,000 towards the total project cost of c£30,000.

The organ was relocated and overhauled by Henry Groves & Son, organ builders, the case restored by Michelle Pepper with joinery work by Paul Riley.

The organ case was examined during conservation work using Raman spectroscopy in order to analyze the decorative paint composition. The results have been published in Brooke, C. et al (2020).

A technical specification for the organ is available on the National Pipe Organ Register website.