For this church:
Sutton Bonington St Michael
The organ is a fine example of the work of Joshua Porritt, an organ builder from Leicester, working in Syston, who set up his own business in 1867. The ivory nameplate states ‘J Porritt, Midland Counties Organ Manufacturer Leicester’. The organ was installed in 1878 when the chancel was restored. The organ was built into the north wall with a transept to house the organ chamber, covered with a lead roof. It was originally hand-blown, older village residents remember pumping the organ as lads. It was probably fitted with an electric blower sometime in the 1940s.
The organ is an excellent instrument to play and to listen to. Visually it is distinguished by its magnificent oak case with its coving, castellated soffit rails, spotted metal eight foot front pipes and the corner posts topped out with partly gilded winged angels holding trumpets. The high quality metal pipes are mostly made from a form of pewter which is rich in tin, giving them a spotted appearance.
The instrument has a robust mechanical action to the manuals and a pneumatic system to the pedals. A few bellows weights have the letter GMH on them, indicating the work of an earlier organ builder, George Maydwell Holditch. The only apparent alteration made since its construction is the removal of the Swell Oboe 8 which has been replaced by a Viol D’Amour. In this example the stop is tuned true to pitch and not as a ‘Celeste’ which is tuned slightly out of tune to give an undulating effect.
A general overhaul of the organ took place in 1997/8 and is commemorated in a small brass plaque:
In May 2013 the organ tuner found that the lead on the roof had ‘crept‘ over the years, eventually allowing rainwater to leak in and causing some of the stops to stick. The roof was repaired in August 2013 at a cost of £168. The organ was repaired by Mr Thompson and the damp chasers previously installed were rewired at a cost of £342 in September 2013. The covering on the organ transept roof was replaced by BEH Roofing in Summer 2014. The work cost £3624.60. The money was raised for this and repairs to the church stonework, done at the same time, through grants, public donations and church funds.
The list of stops are as follows:
The organ was dedicated on Friday 7 October 1878 and the Nottinghamshire Guardian states: ‘The instrument is one with a rich and powerful tone … Mr H. H. Couldery, of Windsor, presided at the organ and the selections he gave evidently satisfied the congregation as to the quality of the new instrument’. After the organ was overhauled, Paul Hale, Rector Chori of Southwell Minster, held an organ recital on Saturday 3 October 1998 (Harvest weekend) to show the instrument to its best advantage.