Hitting the right notes towards the restoration of an historic local church organ

We’re always eager to get involved with local communities wherever we build. In the case of Flagshaw Pastures, a development coming soon to the charming Derbyshire village of Kirk Langley, an historic organ was in need of some tender loving care and being good eggs, we duly obliged to lend a hand!

St Michael’s Church in Kirk Langley sits proudly in the heart of the village and is of Grade I listed status. Dating back to the 14th century, this historic building has been lovingly restored throughout the centuries but one key part of its interior had been overlooked for some time.

The church’s 126-year old organ has seen very little love since it was first installed in the late 19th century – gathering dust and dirt, developing cracks and holes in its bellows and seeing its leathers rot away.

This impressive musical instrument was built by a Mr Wordsworth of Leeds and is set in a unique carved casing made by a Mr G.F. Bodley. In fact, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of their work in Derbyshire.

Margaret Matthews is the treasurer of St Michael’s Church and Clerk to Kirk Langley Parish Council. She had been seeking support from local businesses to aid in the restoration of this fine musical instrument. As she goes on to explain, after meeting our Land and Planning Manager Tom Broster at an event in the village, it became apparent that our team would be more than willing to lend its support to restore this rare piece of history.

“Tom was speaking at the Church Hall about Peveril’s proposed new Flagshaw Pastures development. I got talking to him and explained about the plight of our church organ and asked whether Peveril would be able to support in any way,”

“Tom and the team at Peveril agreed to help towards us achieving our £40,000 total to restore the organ – of which we’re now a third of the way towards,”

The organ is in such a state of disrepair that it can no longer support the congregation during hymns. As part of the renovation, Margaret and the team will need to dismantle it and take the pipes away to be cleaned and re-assembled. Three pipes will also be replaced to improve the sound as well as repairs to the bellows, re-leathering of the pedals, cleaning the casing and carrying out other essential technical repairs. The team has taken advice from the Derby Diocesan Organ Adviser and employed a reputable organ builder – with a start date to be confirmed when the total funds are raised. The team is hoping to complete the project by September 2020 when the church marks its 700th anniversary.

Margaret continues, “We can’t thank Peveril Homes enough for their support. When the project is complete, we will be recording the names of all our supporters in a book for future generations to see. The work we’re doing now will secure us a fully functioning organ for at least another one hundred years, so the least we can do is keep a record of the names of those that have made our visions reality!”

Tom Broster is delighted to see the total amount raised tick over to a third of the total project cost and hopes to see the organ restored in time for the church’s landmark anniversary later this year.

“It’s such a beautiful piece of history and organs really are the essence of any church because they help to generate the unique atmosphere,”

“I hope Margaret and the team achieve their £40,000 total soon and I look forward to seeing the organ fully functional in the not too distant future.”