Arnold St Mary


Originally the church had a minstrel’s gallery with musicians and singers, and marks may be discerned on either side of the archway above the partition into the vestry showing the position of wooden or stone supports. The new vestry and gallery were added in 1839, and in 1868 the minstrels were replaced by a harmonium, which was played by Miss Bagnall. One of the last musicians was John Atherley, who was buried in July 1912, aged 81.

The organ was built in 1876 by Brindley & Foster of Sheffield, at a cost of £300. It was hand-blown, with 12 stops and 678 pipes. The harmonium was then sold for £10. An electric motor was fitted in 1948, and in 1974 a trumpet stop was added. The organ was restored in 1958 by Nelson & Co, and again in 1982 by Henry Groves & Son.

The Oxford Movement was the factor that brought many choirs down from the gallery into stalls in the chancel or nave, and put them into robes. In Arnold, the accounts show that surplices were being washed from 1848. The choir stalls were expanded in 1924. The choir was all male until 1980, when ladies were admitted at first only to evening services, but later they were allowed to sing at all services, and girls were also admitted to the choir.

List of Organists and Choirmasters

Name Date installed Notes
Dr Percy Truman 1876 The younger brother of the Vicar, he died in a cycling accident in 1899, aged 50
William Joyce Smith 1881 Died 1904
Samuel Waite 1891 Moved to St Paulís, Hyson Green, and died 1904
Joseph Palmer Cooke 1892 Introduced Sunday afternoon musical services. Left 1906
Jessie Dickens Stevens 1906 Left 1909
Joseph Kirkham 1909 Served during WW1, as he was stationed in Nottingham
William Hack 1917 Left area same year
Miss E Maud Coffer (organist) 1917 Miss Coffer left in 1921
Sydney Burdett (choirmaster)   Mr Burdett continued to 1926, was ill for a period and then returned.
Francis Smedley (organist and later both organist and choirmaster) 1921 Served as organist and choirmaster after Mr Burdettís ill health in 1926 to 1932.
Norman B Kingston 1932 Left area
James E Harper 1936 July to December
Frank S G Green 1937 Served until 1940, when he left on active war service
R G Bell 1940 Temporary organist and choirmaster during the War
Edward E Burgess 1942 Temporary organist and choirmast during the War
R G Bell 1946  
Kenneth Smith 1955 Left area
Geoffrey Shaw 1956 Joined St Paulís Cathedral choir
Kenneth Hodges 1959 Retired
Derek Kirk 1985 Retired
Ian Rosillo 1995