Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Organ Definition

History and Architecture

Organ

Organs were used in church services from as early as the 10th century to provide accompaniment for hymns. Thse early organs were much smaller than those we are used to seeing today. By the 15th century even the smallest, poorest church might possess an organ. These might be placed in the rood loft, or on the floor of the church. These early organs had to be manually 'blown', a tedious job reserved for choirboys, who had to pump a wooden handle located in a small cupboard behind the organ. Bored choirboys left their initials carved into the wood near the blower handle. Organs  were outlawed during the Commonwealth, and many were destroyed.

They became popular once again in the 18th century and have remained a comon feature in parish churches ever since. Though modern organs are small, electrified, and not terribly interesting from a historical viewpoint, many churches maintain large organs dating to at least the Victorian period or even earlier. The most obvious feature of these organs are the highly decorated pipes, which are often painted in bright colours.

Related: Rood   Rood Loft  

Martock, Somerset

Martock, Somerset

Attraction search
in



National Trust

National Trust membership

National Trust membership

Free entry to National Trust properties throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus discounted admission to National Trust for Scotand properties.

Membership details

About the National Trust


HISTORY CORNER
Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



This inventor and pioneer industrialist is credited with inventing - or at least popularizing - the water frame and carding engine



30 October, 1485

Coronation of Henry VII

The first Tudor monarch, Henry gained the crown by defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August

This king married Elizabeth of York, uniting the houses of York and Lancaster, and ending the Wars of the Roses



Passionate about British Heritage!