St Teilo Arts are presently seeking funding to restore a French-made pipe organ that is unique in the British Isles, and to install it at the back of St Teilo’s Church/St Teilo Arts Centre for heritage and cultural activities (see mock-up below).
The organ is believed to have been purchased in 1903 by the Monks of Solesmes Abbey in France who temporarily relocated to Appuldurcombe House on the Isle of Wight at the time of the French anti-clerical laws. Later it was used in the Convent of St Michel de Kergonan in East Cowes to accompany the nun’s choir, and was sold on to an Anglican parish in the South Wales valleys when they returned to France in 1920.
Until recently in a perilous state in a damp church, with the backing of the Diocese the organ has been put into safe storage to dry out while fund-raising activity can take place.
The organ was built by the famous Parisian company Cavaillé-Coll, responsible for the organs in such churches as Notre Dame and St Sulpice in Paris, St Ouen in Rouen, and St Sernin in Toulouse. This example was built very shortly after the company was taken over by Charles Mutin. Most large French churches at this time had a west end ‘Grand Orgue’ and a smaller ‘Orgue de Choeur’ (like ours) for choral accompaniment near the altar.
This is the only French romantic organ in Wales, and the only organ from the Cavaillé-Coll factory in the UK to retain its original pipework, console and action in its entirety. It is also the only extant Cavaillé-Coll Orgue de Choeur in the British Isles. It is therefore of great cultural and heritage value. As well as the exquisite Cavaillé-Coll ‘sound’, it also has a full set of the characteristic ‘hitch-down’ accessory pedals that will allow the authentic performance and teaching of French Romantic organ music.
Flûte Harmonique 8 Trompette 8
Prestant 4 Flûte Douce 4
Principal 8 Voix-Céleste 8
Bourdon 16 Viole de Gambe 8
Cor de Nuit 8
Soubasse 16 (transmission du GO)
Tirasse GO Tirasse Récit
Récit/GO Récit/GO à l’octave grave
Appel/Renvoi Combinaisons Expression to entire organ