The Organ

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The Organ

The organ is relatively new. Bought in 1871, it first stood in the chancel, then in the south chapel, and reached its present position only in 1955. Before the organ was acquired, music was provided by violins and wind instruments (in 1752, 4 shillings were spent on a pitch pipe for the parish clerk to lead the psalms; in 1851, 10 shillings were spent on violin strings) and briefly by a harmonium.

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The stone-work of the west window is early 16th century. On the sofit of the rear arch is a panel with the monogram L.L. and opposite it, a shield of arms of Lancaster (oddly, upside down). The two ‘L’s may stand for Lancelot Lancaster, who put them there, but are likelier to celebrate the simultaneous union of the Lancasters and the Lowthers and of two branches of the Lancasters in 1494, when Lancelot’s father William Lancaster of Barton married Elizabeth Lowther, great grand-daughter of William Lancaster of Sockbridge.

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The early 20th-Century stained glass, representing St Michael and All Angels, and the Annunciation, is by Walter Ernest Tower (1873– 1955), partner and nephew of Charles Eamer Kempe (1837–1907). Both Kempe and Tower favoured pre-Raphaelite touches, especially in peacock-feather wings, and the Archangel wears the armour of a Plantagenet prince. Mary occupies the bottom right corner. Kempe began his career as a church decorator in the 1860’s, but started his own stained glass company, C. E. Kempe and Co, in London in 1868.

Tower’s own motif (unsurprisingly, a tower) is superimposed on Kempe’s signature, a tiny wheatsheaf on the far left edge of the window, just above the annunciating angel.

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