ROMSEY ABBEY ORGAN
J. W. Walker & Sons

1858 J. W. Walker erected the three manual and pedal organ in the North Transept. The instrument had 33 speaking stops and mechanical action.

1888 The instrument was moved to its present position in the Chancel. Four new stops and a tremulant were added. (*)

1935 An electric blower was installed to replace the hydraulic one.

1975 J. W. Walker cleaned and overhauled the instrument installing new bellows and a balanced Swell Pedal.

1982 N. P. Mander added the Tuba and increased the wind pressure to the Barker Lever action. The Great Sharp Mixture and Twelfth, which had been made into an Harmonic Flute some years earlier, were restored.

1992 J. W. Walker regathered and restored the Barker Lever motors and rewinded the action on its original pressure.

1995 J. W. Walker carried out a complete overhaul and restoration of the whole organ. The Swell was returned to a mechanical action and a new electro-pneumatic under action was built for the Pedal. The pipework was thoroughly cleaned and restored but the original tonal specification has been preserved.

 

The article below was published in the "Romsey Advertiser" on the 23 March 1996.

Splendour of the restored Walker organ in Romsey Abbey

The historic 1858 Walker organ in Romsey Abbey was heard in public last weekend for the first time in over seven months. Last July the organ builders moved in to begin dismantling the ancient instrument in readiness for a £ 100,000 project of cleaning, restoration and rebuilding which has just been completed

Before the ten o'clock service last Sunday morning, the stirring music of Karg-Elert's Chorale Prelude on the hymn tune Now thank we all our God, heralded the opening hymn and wafted through the Abbey-s ample acoustic.

"At that time the work was not quite complete," said the Abbey organist, Mr Jeffrey Williams. "However I doubt if anyone in the congregation would have been able to tell. This instrument is widely acknowledged and admired for both the grandeur and beauty of its tone and the opening bars of the Karg-Elert left you in no doubt as to why."

A team of four organ builders has been working in the Abbey full time since last July and a number of others were working on those parts of the organ which had to be returned to the factory in Suffolk.

The organ builders have been in again all this week to finish off one or two cosmetic details and to make a few further adjustments. The work has involved the removal of every one of the 2264 pipes, ranging in size from less than an inch to 32 feet long, for cleaning and repair, the building of new playing mechanisms for the swell and pedal departments installing a new electric action for the drawstops, and the overhaul and restoration of every moving part; key or pedal.

The restoration was carried out by the firm of J. W. Walker & Sons. the descendants of the instrument's original builder back in 1898.

"We have now preserved for future generations one of the most important English organs to have survived from a period which has been acknowledged as a classical period or golden age of English organ building," said Mr Williams. So many other instruments from this time have been ripped out or drastically altered, but the Romsey Walker has survived all this and has now been restored to its former glory. We hope now to push ahead with our plans for a smaller nave organ which will open up further exciting musical possibilities."

The organ is to be rededicated at this Sunday evening's service, and on Friday, April 19th, at 7.30pm, the inaugural recital will be given by the international recitalist Jane Parker-Smith, who was a local girl and grew up in the Romsey area.

 

GREAT (Barker Lever 1858)
16 Double Open Diapason *
16 Double Stopped Diapason
8 Large Open Diapason
8 Open Diapason
8 Stopped Diapason (metal, wood bass)
4 Clarabella
4 Principal
4 Stopped Flute (wood)
2.2/3 Twelfth
2 Fifteenth
1.3/5 Tierce
Mixture 15 19 22
Sharp Mixture 26 29 *
8 Trumpet
4 Clarion *

 

SWELL (Mechanical 1995)
16 Double Stopped Diapason
8 Open Diapason
8 Stopped Diapason
4 Principal
2 Fifteenth
Mixture 12 15 19
8 Oboe
8 Cornopean
4 Tremulant *

 

CHOIR (Mechanical I958)
8 Gamba
8 Dulciana
8 Stopped Diapason
4 Principal
4 Flute (metal)
8 Cremona (to tenor C)
8 Tuba

 

PEDAL (Pneumatic 1995)
32 Double Open Wood *
16 Open Wood
16 Bourdon
8 Octave Wood
Mixture 12 15 22
16 Trombone
8 Trumpet

COUPLERS
Swell to Great, Choir to Great, Swell to Choir, Great to Pedal, Swell toPedal, Choir to Pedal.
Ten General Combination Pedals. Reversible Pedals for Great to Pedal and Pedal Trombone.
Wind Pressures. Swell 4.5" Great and Choir 3.25" Pedal 5"

 

THE 1998 J. W. WALKER NAVE ORGAN

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