INTRODUCTION * GRANTS * LAW + PROCEDURES * OTHER INFORMATION * LOCAL
|The organ is often the single most valuable item in a
church, and so it makes good sense to appraise its
capacities and qualities, and to seek an informed view
from time to time about its maintenance. Independent
advice becomes a necessity if major overhaul seems due, or
if moving, re-building or replacement of the existing
instrument is envisaged.
Useful general background guidance is provided in various publications: the Church Buildings Council [CBC, formerly the Council for the Care of Churches]'s booklet "Sounds good" (Church House Publishing, 2002), and its earlier pamphlet "Repair or Replace?" (1990, content now online). Dominic Gwynn's booklet "Historic Organ Conservation: a practical introduction to process and planning" (Church House Publishing, 2001), and The British Institute of Organ Studies' online Guidance webpages, are also useful sources. Nevertheless, the local circumstances are important; organs and their particular attributes are infinitely diverse. The Diocesan Advisory Committee therefore includes a specialist on organ matters, able to assess the worth, utility and condition of an instrument, and the appropriateness and value for money of proposals.
As a first step in considering any work or changes
involving an organ (other than limited work or
tuning - see next paragraph), churches are encouraged to
contact and discuss matters with the Diocesan Organs
Adviser. The Adviser will normally arrange to inspect
the instrument and advise on a possible course of action
(or options) and procedures. Early informal
consideration and understanding is mutually valuable,
helping the client in preparing suitable proposals, and
Advisory Committee consider them favourably when
those proposals are progressed. That way, hopefully, the
procedural pitfalls can be avoided as well. It is in
everyone's interest - not least because there are
"teeth" which could be brought to bear - to be certain
before commencing work that the church has obtained the
necessary Faculty, to be clear as to what if any
conditions apply, and then to abide by them (see below). Organ builders as
contractors are party to these requirements.
On 1st Jan.2016 the new simplified Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 come into force, which includes significant changes, most notably the introduction of two nationally applicable minor works lists. Works on List A can usually be carried out without any consent, subject to some standard conditions [this replaces diocesan de minimis and minor works lists]. Works on List B can usually be carried out without a Faculty, but need written consent of the Archdeacon after informal consultation with members of the DAC. Most of these will be repairs and routine maintenance or small works identified in the QI report. All other works will still require faculty, although the process has been simplified in a number of respects. The DAC Secretary will be able to advise on the best way forward. You can also find more information including some Frequently Asked Questions on Churchcare: http://churchcare.co.uk/churches/faculty-rules-2015
The Chancellor had previously indicated that the
following limitations apply if
work to a musical instrument is not to require a
It is not always appreciated that organ blowing equipment and the electrical supply to the organ also require regular inspection and maintenance, which may indeed be a condition of fire insurance.
Recent information pamphlets
|The possibilities for obtaining grant support for organs
from heritage funding, national trusts, and local sources,
have increased in recent years, and exist even in times of
economic austerity, but for results one needs effort, then
patience. Grants are never given lightly, are usually
available only for genuine restoration work (not
alterations) to worthy organs, and often have some strings
attached. So it is important to approach the right sources
carefully and objectively, with enthusiastic, well
targeted, thoroughly thought out and properly prepared
plans and proposals, which should stand the best chance of
meeting the grant giver's criteria.
The British Institute of Organ Studies has prepared a useful leaflet: A Guide [to] Grants for funding work on historic pipe organs, which is available online as a .pdf file, to save and/or print off as required.
The Institute of British Organ Building's leaflet: "Writing Organ Reports", produced in association with the Council for the Care of Churches) gives advice on best practice in the preparation and presentation of Organ Reports, which is particularly useful if it is intended to seek grant assistance for an organ scheme. This advice is also available online, or free by post from the Institute of British Organ Building [E-mail] (for full address see "other sources" below).
The Diocesan Organs Adviser can provide preliminary advice as to the likely best grant source(s) and course of action. Please note however that the DOA is not in a position to provide a complete consultancy service, for which separate arrangements would need to be made. A consultant familiar with the requirements could plan and supervise the scheme from start to finish, obtaining and assessing estimates for the work, negotiating, justifying the right scheme to the grant source, and finally overseeing and controlling the quality of work in progress. The Association of Independent Organ Advisors maintains a list of accredited independent organ advisers able to assist those wishing to commission new organs or restore existing ones (contact details below).
The law and procedures in relation to organs
|Some changes to previous procedures have come about
because of the enactment of the Care of Churches and
Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991, intended in part
to address a need for consistency with current national
Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas legislation.
Ecclesiastical exemption from secular controls requires
that similar procedures to those which have long applied
in the Church of England as the established church, have
now been introduced for other denominations also - for
Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and URC churches.
Nevertheless the future of "self- regulation" remains very
much under scrutiny, and it remains in the strategic
interest of these church organisations at all levels to be
seen to abide by the legislation if the privilege of
exemption (as a recent report puts it) is to continue to
be seen to be deserved and available.
Churches need to show that they can exercise proper care and control over the fabric and contents of their buildings and churchyards. In the Church of England, the Measure is applied through the authority of the Diocesan Chancellor and Registry ie. its legal officers, with sanctions through church courts. A published "Code of Practice" to the Measure, useful but not particularly light reading, is available from the Cathedral Bookshop.
In a nutshell, in the Durham Diocese, the Chancellor has decreed that only tuning, routine adjustment and maintenance of organs which can be undertaken on a "tuning visit" (what is known as Schedule A work) is not subject to some kind of Faculty and DAC/DOA involvement [Works that can be carried without a Faculty]. There is an Archdeacon's permission procedure for "repairs to organs...using matching materials", which might in some limited circumstances cover straightforward overhauls, but generally full Faculty procedures are involved. It is the Diocesan Registry which will decide at the end of the day on interpretation of the Rules and which procedure has to be followed in each case.
A Diocesan Organs Adviser does not make the rules about the procedural requirements in relation to organs. He, with the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches to whom he is responsible, must try to apply them locally!
The Diocesan Office, Cuthbert House, Stonebridge, DURHAM DH1 3RY
Tel: 01388 660001.
|The Association of
Independent Organ Advisers maintains a list of
accredited independent organ advisers able to assist those
wishing to commission new organs or restore existing ones.
Contact: via website.
The Institute of British
Organbuilding is committed to promoting,
achieving and sustaining the highest standards in the
building and care of pipe organs, has introduced a
system of accreditation for organ-builders, has
published a series of useful
leaflets, and maintains a register
pipe organs surplus to their present requirements
and seeking a new home.
Buildings Council [CBC] is a permanent
commission of the General Synod of the CofE which seeks
to educate, promote best practice and provide guidance
on all aspects of the care of churches and their
contents, overseeing and co-ordinating the work of
Diocesan Advisory Committees. The associated Churchcare
website provides valuable online advice and
guidance on care and maintenance of church contents,
including organs. Its Organs Advisory Committee
considers and publishes policy and advice on organs,
particularly historic instruments, for which grants may
be offered from funds provided by the Pilgrim Trust and
other charitable sources.
Booklet * Brief history * Father Smith * Stoplist * Recitals * The Organists
The Cathedral Website (including forthcoming service music, and diary of events)
Other organs in the Diocese: (pages and links being developed)
or if it is not, do please send details.
Last updated 1 Mar. 2016