History of St Margarets Church

A Victorian Church 1st built in 1876 at the North end of Blackwood High Street

 

Probably because of the growth of Blackwood and the distance of the parish church at Bedwellty, a chapel of ease was built in 1876 and was dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch. In 1891 an extension which consisted of the present chancel and the vicar’s vestry was completed. The choir vestry was added in 1960. 

Visitors will note that from the  various inscriptions around the church that the font was given by Caroline, Marchioness of Abergavenny on St Margarets day 1876. The east window is dedicated to Edmund Davies Williams of Maesyrhyddyd who was a local coal merchant and a Sheriff of Monmouthshire. The first priest in charge was Matthew Weston Maggridge, who was a desendant of John Hodder Maggridge. 

The parish of Blackwood was created on the 15th October 1921. It is interesting to note that Blackwood which came under the parish of Bedwellty was in the Diocese of Llandaff. The church was dedicated by Bishops Alfred and Richard. The Diocese of Monmouth came into existance on 18th October 1921 and thus  Llandaff’s newest parish lasted just three days before being transferred to Monmouth.

Todays setting of St Margarets’s is completely different to the setting in 1876. To the north was Brown’s Foundry (now Gibbons). To the south was Budds Colliery (now the site of Aldis) and on the opposite side of a narrower road was the railway station with it’s goods yard and sidings.

The Church Organ

In 1994 the church was the beneficiary of a legacy from the late Mr. George James, organist.  A Nicholson 2 manual pipe organ with detached Nave console was constructed under the guidance of Frank Bradbury and officially opened by the world famous organist, Peter Hurford.

  

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound when pressurised air is driven through a series of pipes. The size of pipe organs vary considerably, the smallest portable organs may only have a few dozen pipes, while the largest may feature over 20,000. At St. Margaret’s the organ has over 1000 pipes.  

The organ at St. Margaret’s has two keyboards (manuals) and another keyboard (pedalboard) that the organist plays with his feet. On large cathedral organs you may find as many as seven manuals.  At St Woolos Cathedral there are four manuals.

In order to produce different sounds, each organ has a number of stops that controls one rank of pipes.  Each stop has a name that reflects the stop’s timbre and on English organs suggests a reed oboe, flute or brass (trumpet) sound.  The label on the stop knob indicates the stop’s name and its pitch level expressed in feet e.g. ‘Trumpette 8’.  At Blackwood there are 7 stops on the Great Organ (Manual 1), 8 stops on the Swell Organ (Manual 2) and 4 stops on the pedalboard. There is also a swell pedal that controls the volume and there are series of thumb toe pistons that assist the organist in changing stops. 

The pipes, action and wind systems are contained in a case, the design of which may also incorporate the console as we have in Blackwood.  St Margaret’s also boasts a limited stop detached console that is housed at the foot of the lectern. The late Frank Bradbeer was the architect who designed our casing for the Nicholson organ and is considered by many to be a fine example.