Traveling with colleague Richard Patt to meet a potential customer in Suffolk recently, I had the opportunity to pass close by one of our recent installations in a very fine country church. So I took the opportunity to break the journey and pop into St Mary’s to listen to our instrument.
St Mary the Virgin and All Saints Debden Church dates from shortly after 1200 with the south aisle added in the 1340’s.
Debden Church – A very fine building
This is an expansive building rising as it does to a considerable height with clerestory windows flooding the nave with natural light. But it can not have been built so well engineered as twice a steeple between nave and chancel collapsed, the second time in 1717. Perhaps it was for this reason that in 1797 the chancel was demolished and rebuilt in the very flamboyant gothic style. As you see the roof structure is substantially decorated with extraordinary stalactite like structures hanging perhaps a meter or more down towards the ground.
Unusually the chancel is also at least a meter above the level of the nave. So the whole appearance of the space beyond the chancel arch is rather like a fairy grotto, quite unlike anything I have seen in other churches.
The Viscount Organ installed at St Mary’s
Our instrument, a Viscount Envoy 35-F plays through 4 speakers placed high in the north aisle with sound reflecting off the north wall to penetrate into the nave. A small sub bass speaker is on the church floor at the rear. The speakers are visible in this picture where you also see Richard seated at the console.
An instrument of 35 stops is clearly far larger than would ever have been possible here in pipes. Many organ advisors would perhaps not approve of this digital option, it being too big. To help with that a few of the usual 35 stops were removed and replaced with orchestral voices, piano, harpsichord and celesta. That allows for perhaps what might be considered ‘unusual’ sounds to be available but it does give some other useful options if ever the church is used for musical events.
If you are interested you can hear our instrument below.