Carlops Church is very fortunate in having a fine example of an early nineteenth century chamber organ, almost certainly the work of the Scottish organ builder James Bruce.  According to Alan Buchan, Curator of the Scottish Historic Organ Trust, it was probably constructed before 1820.


The organ has been in Carlops Church since 1968.  It was obtained from the Secession Church in Arbroath (which was about to be demolished) for the cost of its transportation and rebuilding.  Singing in Secession churches was normally led by a precentor, but in 1946, the Arbroath Secession congregation was given permission to install the organ, because no precentor was available. Before its 22 years in Arbroath, the organ served in the Kirk Memorial Congregational Church in Montgomery Street, Edinburgh, being gifted to that church by Mr Hunter, a former organist.  Unfortunately, the date of his gift and all of the organ's earlier history is lost and thus far, resists the efforts of our researchers!  We welcome any information about our organ that readers of this page may have; if you can help, please contact us.


It is a single manual organ without pedals and it has an overall compass of five octaves from G1 to G6 (using the International Pitch Notation in which middle C is C4).  There is no G#1 key.  The organ has eight stops, three of which cover the entire compass; these are an 8' Open Diapason, a 4' Principal and a 2' Fifteenth. The Stopped Diapason Bass covers G1- G3, while the Stopped Diapason Treble covers A3-G6. The remaining three stops are in a swell box operated by a foot pedal, and cover A3-G6: they are an 8' Swell Dulciana, a 4' Swell Flute and an 8' Swell Hautboy. The organ is tuned to modern concert pitch (A4 = 440Hz).


There were originally three foot-operated couplers, but these were missing when the organ came to Carlops.  They were reconstructed when an extensive restoration of the organ was carried out by Sandy Edmonstone in 2008-09, as part of the general refurbishment of Carlops Church  that took place at that time.  The original carved wooden case front had been seriously damaged, but this was also restored, and the dummy pipes lovingly regilded, by conservation students and local volunteers working under the supervision of Dr Patsy Campbell.  The instrument is electrically blown, but the original hand-pumping lever is still in place, and has been used occasionally during power cuts.


The organ is now in excellent playing condition and is an invaluable musical resource.  Particularly attractive are the warm, flutey Stopped Diapason, the sparkling Fifteenth, and the pungent Hautboy.


The organ has ample power to support the singing of an enthusiastic congregation, even on Christmas Eve, when more than a hundred worshippers crowd into the little church to raise the roof with carol singing.  It has also been used for organ recitals, and as an accompanying instrument  in choral and chamber music concerts.

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Music at Carlops church