Loose is situated
just south of Maidstone, a quintessential English village of
stone built houses and low-walled gardens nestling in a valley
close to the Hastings Road Viaduct. One imagines summer sunshine,
the wisteria quietly on the climb and people coming and going.
But this was November and, although the wisteria had long since
crept into winter dormancy, the sun was still shining pleasantly
on this charming little place, fortuitously unspoiled by
Tonally this is still an English organ, having beguiling flutes, full toned Diapason choruses and, considering the small new organ cases, a generous specification: Great Organ 8 8 8 4 4 22/3 2, Swell Organ 16 8 8 4 2 8, Pedal Organ 16 8, usual couplers. The action is direct electric on the main soundboards which, although prompt, did produce some audible clicking during quieter playing. We were fortunate to have Mr Roger Greensted from F H Browne & Sons to give us an insight into this interesting rebuild.
Mr Lawrence Ockenden, Organist of St. Peters Church, Boughton Monchelsea, demonstrated the organ for us with: In green pastures by H. Darke, Fughetta in E flat by J. Rheinberger and a pot-pourri of snippets of different pieces all cleverly sewn together, enabling us to hear clearly the individual voices of the organ as well as the full ensemble. Remembrance Sunday was just past and, thoughtfully, Andrew Cesana played For the Fallen by Sir Edward Elgar.
St. Peters Church, Boughton Monchelsea, stands proud on the Quarry Hills overlooking the Weald, an impressive view bestowed with a mystic beauty in winters fading light. The church, which has Norman origins, had been gutted by fire in 1832 and the Victorian rebuild of 1874/5 left the church much as it is today.
Lawrence Ockenden demonstrated the churchs Millennium Window, designed and installed in an internal tower window by Graham Clark. The window is lit from behind and a programme of lighting effects subtly unveil the windows component parts depicting the creation through to the Millenniums end, illustrated by a charming cameo of St. Peters Church lych-gate. The window was indeed a fascination, although the programmes accompanying music was, perhaps, not to everyones taste.
F H Browne & Sons built the organ in 1915 at a cost of £322.00 although it included some pipework from an earlier one manual instrument by J. W. Walker. The original Walker Gothic case front, with painted wooden pipes, was also retained. Mr Roger Greensted had kindly brought some original documents for us to see and described the organ and the 1990 restoration in much detail, its specification being: Great Organ 8 8 4 4 2, Swell Organ 8 8 8 8 4 8 and Pedal Organ 16 8 51/3 4.
The instrument was demonstrated by our Mr Ockenden who played: Psalm Prelude set 1, No. 2 by Herbert Howells, Choral improvisation Antiphon by Karg Elert, Trio Sonata in B flat op. 189 No. 10 by J. Rheinberger and J. S. Bachs Choral Prelude, Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzngleich. He also provided us with another of his pot-pourri fully demonstrating the instrument. We were indeed indebted to Mr Ockenden who spoke with a profound knowledge and much Gaieté de coeur greatly enhancing our enjoyment of the afternoon.
The tea provided by the ladies of Boughton Monchelsea was quite the best we have had for a long time. Individual servings consisting of: the finest beef, with horse radish sauce, extra mature cheddar cheese, bread rolls and cakes, then tea or coffee to taste. This had been a memorable afternoon and we must thank Brian Moore who so kindly arranged it for us.
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