Villebarou (France)

This very interesting organ has, at its heart, an English chamber organ probably built in the third quarter of the 18C. We do not know the original builder but by the time it arrived at Aylesford Methodist Church in Kent about 1900 it had been extensively rebuilt by addition of, firstly, a short compass Swell of 4 stops (early 19C) which was then extended to full compass. At some point a clamp had been added to the Great along with a pneumatic pedal action. When the church closed in the 1990s the organ was sold and placed in storage. When the parish church in Villebarou, near Blois in northern France, expressed an interest in having a classical organ for liturgical and recital use the possibility of having a restored English organ proved attractive to them.  Martin Renshaw and I rebuilt the organ along early English lines (including  the original GG-compass Great) to provide a musically coherent instrument that retained as much of the original material as possible.

New keyboards were made by a specialist supplier and a new console was made from quartersawn English oak. The stop knobs were turned from ebony (Great), rosewood (Swell) and walnut (Couplers and Pedal) with paper labels in the 18C style. The sliders for the piano action to take of the upper work of the Great were still present (but cut off) and these were restored with a complete new pedal action.

The restoration/reconstruction work was carried out in the Birling workshop between the winter of 2013 and summer 2014 at which point the restored organ was dismantled and transported to Villebarou where it was reunited with its restored case. The case was restored and reconstructed by local artisans and with the help of Robin Shuker, a skilled woodworker based in Germany.


Restoration Photos