Visit to Arundel Cathedral and Chichester Cathedral

Saturday 17 September 2011

The WDAO took a leisurely tour of West Sussex, visiting two Cathedrals with fine Hill organs and Westbourne Parish Church. 

Our first stop of the day was the conspicuously well-heeled West Sussex village of Westbourne, where the ancient church houses a relatively new (2001) organ by Kenneth Tickell & Co. Situated at the east end of the south aisle of the nave, this organ replaced an earlier instrument that had been situated in a small extension added to the south side of the chancel. The old organ spoke unsucessfully across the chancel and had reached the end of the road after a succesion of rebuilds  that had attempted to remedy the sitation. The new Tickell organ spoke with charm and competence around the church and its carefully chosen specification made it versatile and accomplished in many roles.

After the customary lunch (this time very well served at Butlers in Arundel), we visited the French neo-gothic style Arundel Cathedral, where Elizabeth Stratford, Cathedral organist, gave an introduction to the musical activities in the cathedral and the Hill organ, restored recently by Woods of Huddersfield. This work aimed to bring it closer to its original Hill roots after some less well-considered work by Hill, Norman and Beard in the 1960s. This grand organ thrilled us all as it spoke out from its commanding west gallery position in the splendid acoustics of this cathedral.

The final stop of the day was Chichester Cathedral, where we attended Choral Evensong, conducted by the cathedral organist, Sarah Baldock. After evensong, Sarah spoke about the history of the organ, after which we were allowed to play this extremely elegant and gracious instrument, brought magnificiently back to life through a thorough rebuild by Manders in the 1980s.

Our thanks go to our hosts: Elizabeth Alder at Westbourne, Elizabeth Stratford at Arundel Cathedral and Sarah Baldock at Chichester Cathedral and to Colin Harvey for arranging the day.


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