History of first Organ at St George's

[From IOM Weekly Times 7 Jan 1933 - Article on History of St George's Church]

[Some of the text was not visible on the microfilm - a few words have been guessed at by context and length - others are shown [] to be corrected once access to original newspaper obtained]

[After giving some of the history and the financial problems caused by the death of Bishop Richmond the author makes reference to a collection of letters related to the affair then in the hands of a well known collector. These letters appear to have to have been put together by a descendant of one of the original trustees possibly for the purpose of making his case good beyond dispute]

The trustee referred to was Mr William Crebbin a leading Douglas merchant of [the time] and a member of the influential [family of the] Crebbins of Ballafurt, Santon. At the same period one of them was vicar [of Jurby] and another, succeeding his [father] was vicar of Santon. The Santon [vicar] the Rev Charles Crebbin, was the [first] chaplain appointed to St George's and combined the two offices for 36 years. [] contrary to the wishes of the vicar of Braddan, the Rev. T. W. J. Woods who considered that as St George's was within his parish, he had the right to present the chaplain. Accordingly he presented his nephew, young Julius Cosnahan who later on became vicar of Braddan, the Bishop would not hear []. knowing the troubled [] the church, he thought the [] uncertain that it was [] someone not dependent []

An Organ with a history - Was it used in the first "Messiah" ?

Mr William Crebbin was apparently the [] among the trustees, and did much of the business. Among other things he negotiated the purchase of the organ through Mr John Parkinson of Dublin, and Mr Parkinson's letters, which we now reproduce, are full of interest. Writing to Mr Crebbin from Dublin on September 11 1778, Mr Parkinson says:-

Dear Friend - I must acknowledge you
have [] reason to accuse me of neglect
by not replying before this, but really I
[] my power sooner, as I could
[] positive answer about the
[] entrusted to my care. But
[] it, shall I say Handsomly ?
[] word I shall make as [] use
[]ly, for fear of misplacing it.
[] the organ I mentioned to you
[] cost 250 gs. I can get it for
[] 100 Irish, which I consider as
[] a bargain I would advise by all
[] taking it, as I do think you
[] meet the like opportunity. It
[] the following stops.- 1st An
open diapason; 2nd A Stoped Diapason
3rd a principal ; 4th A Flute ; 5th A
[sexa]muller. 4 Ranks through the Bass
[] A Cornett 4 Ranks Treble; 7th A
[] Bass ; 8th A Trumpet Treble ; 9th
[] swell an open Diapson ; 10th A
[] both inclos'd to swell. There is
[] a pedal which takes of the lod
[] to make it soft; as if there were two
[] of keys. It is better than 12 feet
high and nine broad. Mr Worthington, to
[] apply'd to put it up (and whom
for that purpose I recommend) has given
me his estimate of the expense 24 7 9).
The Organ is made by the same person
who made that we have in Christ Church,
which cost 1,500. On the whole I do
think you cannot get one which will answer
your purpose so well at so low a price
being very loud and well ton'd. . As to
painting the front pipes, Mr Worffington
recommends your having them done in the
island if you have any person in that way,
and which he would inspect when there
as he thinks they may be done cheaper
with you than here. Of this you'll inform
me. The freight you must pay.

The rest of the letter will be quoted later, but it is probably desireable to proceed with the story of the organ. On November 15th, 1778, Mr Parkinson encloses an agreement signed by William Ruxton, the owner of the organ, to sell it to him, for some gentlemen of the Isle of Man, for the sum of 100 sterling Irish. In a covering letter, Mr Parkinson says:

Above you'll find an absolute agreement for the Organ. The owner refuz'd about a year and a half ago 180 for it, so that you have got it uncommonly reasonable. When you commission me I will take care to have it put in proper cases in which state it may lay until the person whom I recommend to you can go over and put it up, which I believe will not be in his power sooner than the month of April or May. All you have to do is to put the cases in a Dry place. Mr Ruxton chuses a bid for it in London. This gentleman is our Surgeon-General ; his father-in-law bought it for a musical society which subsisted here, on the Disolution of which he (Mr Ruxton) purchased it and gave near 200, so that you see he is a considerable looser. It gives me much satisfaction in having the approbation of your Friends in this trifling business, to whom present my sincere acknowledgements for their thanks returned, and wish it was in my power to do them a more essential piece of service.

...

[The article goes on to quote from an 1863 letter to the Manx Sun mentioning the rumour that Handel had played on it (again raised in 1864 description of the bazaar to raise money for the new organ)]

The organ appears to have been put up, not by the Mr Woffington mentioned in the letter, but by Michael Heathcote, who received for his services the sum of eleven guineas, A copy of his receipt for the first instalment of seven guineas appears among these papers. The cost of making cases for the organ parts, packing the parts and shipping them, came to £12 8s

...


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© F.Coakley , 2005