The present organ was installed in August 2015, replacing the former Hill Norman & Beard organ which was installed in 1901. After 114 years of faithful service, the latter needed extensive work including a new bellows and was also contaminated by asbestos which had been used to line the blower box. Following further damage caused by water ingress through the south aisle roof following the theft of lead from it, it was decided that the old organ was beyond economic repair.
Through the good offices of our organ tuner, Andrew Stevens, a suitable replacement organ was identified that Andrew had removed in 2014 from Wethersfield Congregational Church in Essex. The church had been bought by Mr Hamish Everritt to be turned into a home and, on hearing of Hacheston's plight, Hamish very kindly and generously donated the organ to All Saints Church. Andrew also agreed to dismantle and remove the old organ and install the new one for the cost of the insurance payment received for the water damage. Andrew also removed all the useful and reusable parts from the old organ to help restore other organs while Hamish took a few things from it to use in the restoration work on his home. The remaining metal- and wood-work was removed by Andrew Stannard of Parham (formerly of Hacheston) to be reused and recycled as part of his restoration work of antique furniture and bygones. Every part of the old organ was thus removed for reuse or recycling as appropriate.
Installation of the new organ began on 12th August 2015 by Andrew Stevens and Andrew Ray, assisted by a team of willing volunteers who helped with duties such as repainting the metal pipes that formed part of the casing. It was especially appropriate that Andrew Ray helped in this work, as he had worked on the restoration and rebuilding of the organ in 1955. Andrew Ray kindly supplied us with the following notes on the history of the new organ.
"The two-manual organ was built by J. M. & C. Corps (date not known). By May 1936 it was found to be in poor condition and needed cleaning and overhauling when Wethersfield Congregational Church contacted Cedric Arnold. The deteriorating condition of the organ was reported again in 1948 and 1952. Cedric Arnold provided detailed suggestions for rebuilding the organ with new keys, pedals, and action. Fifteen months later the Church gave permission for the work to go ahead and the organ was removed on 13th October 1955 and taken to Cedric Arnold's Thaxted workshop where the work was carried out. The rebuilt organ returned to Wethersfield Congregational Church on 20th February 1956."
Andrew Ray commented that the organ contained pipes from a much earlier instrument which were retained. Cedric Arnold became part of Hill Norman & Beard and Andrew Stevens mentioned that Andrew Ray was his mentor when he joined them.
The new organ installation was completed on September 10th 2015.
The organ was dedicated by Revd. Deirdre West at a Benefice service on 4th October 2015. The organist was Geoff Lavery and, being a Benefice service, the choir was present so the organ was used to accompany them in a range of hymns and anthems. For the recessional music, Geoff promised some ‘fireworks' when he put the organ through its paces, which he did brilliantly by playing Karg-Elert's ‘march triomphale' Nun danket alle Gott Op.65.
Click the following link for a specification of the organ as rebuilt and other details related to it (pdf format). Please note there were a number of changes made to the stops when the organ was installed in Hacheston church.
David Clough and Graeme Hall