All Saints Church, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England
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George Joye, a Son of Renhold

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The Organ and Organists

The 1862/1863 renovations of the Church included the acquisition of a harmonium placed in the Chancel and in 1889 a Bevington barrel-organ “a nice little organ” was acquired to replace the harmonium and placed under the Tower, to the west of the Church. It was first used at a Service on 18th July 1889. In 1891 it was repositioned in the North Aisle. It remained there until 1952 when, after considerable debate, it was moved back under the tower.

In 1957 the “Bevington” was sold for £12. The ornamental pipes for scrap metal; the wooden case riddled with woodworm and the keys worn and discoloured. It was a one manual organ, with pedals and four stops. It was, however, unique because a cylindrical attachment enabled eight hymn tunes to be played automatically by simply turning a handle – a blower had to be pumped by hand. In 1947 a boy was paid £2.12s a year to pump the organ. The tunes played automatically were: Old Hundreth, Hanover, St. Stephen, Angels, Thy will be done, Devises, Shirland and Tallis’ Evening Hymn.

In the Church Times of 5th April 1957 an advertisement appeared for a three manual compact Wright 1952 pipe organ. This was purchased in May 1957 from a schoolmaster, Mr Daniel Rowley of 35 Shepherds Way, Rickmansworth, Herts, for £700. Additional sums were spent on dismantling, transport, re-erection, tuning and insurance

The Choir Stall was replaced on 9th and 10th July, followed by the dedication of the organ on Saturday 13th July 1957 by Rev. G. N. Garrard, Rector of St Cuthbert’s, Bedford. There was a short service, conducted by Rev. Lewis William Kemmis, Vicar of Renhold, followed by an organ recital given by Mr R. B. Payne, organist at St Peter’s, Bedford

The Wright organ had 28 draw-stops with pedals and electric action; no pipes were visible in 1957. Since 1957 the organ has been considerably improved with couplers to the three manuals, extra stops (now 32), a new electric blower and two swell pedals. It is now a very fine instrument.

The organists of All Saints from 1919 until the present day are set out on the Board which hangs to the right of the organ and listed below

1918 - 1930 Charles Tompkin
1930 Mr Spares
1931 - 1932 Leonard Markham
  Edward Pryor (part time)
1933 - 1942 Miss D Bull LRAM
1943 - 1944 Lionel Parker
1946 - 1948 Leonard Markham
1951 Mr Handford FROC
1952 - 1964 Edward Pryor
1960 - 1964 Ian Fox
1964 - 1965 Peter Williams
1965 - 1967 G S Philcox
1968 - 1970 Peter Williams
1971 Neil Lumsden
1971 - 1974 Stephen Chilvers
1975 - 1977 1979 1980 Neil Lumsden
1979 - 1993 Leonard Markham
1985 - 1986 Miss  Catherine Bassill
1993 - 2004 Michael Puttock
2005 - Michael Brooks