Farewell Henry Jones

For over 100 years, the Henry Jones organ has resounded through the aisles and transepts of the Priory Church. It has served Edington well and become as familiar as the stones, pews and arches. But now, change is afoot.


At a Benefice Service on Sunday 29 December, with the sun streaming through the windows, the congregation bade the organ a fond farewell. Singing the last carols of the festive season, listening to the choir and organ unfold the shepherds’ story, hearing the organ with all stops out, including – finally – a subtly added rendition of Auld Lang Syne, we heard John Swain play the Henry Jones for the last time.

But Malcolm Wieck, who took the service, and John had crafted a clever sermon wherein we were given hints on what to listen out for when our new Harrison & Harrison organ is built as well as a short history of the organ in worship.

It would seem that in Henry VIII’s time there were such things, but on his death, his successors felt them to be too “popish” and discouraged their use. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that organs became more popular again.

Apparently our Henry Jones organ, installed in 1905, cost about £500. Which – depending on what comparators you use – very roughly amounts to the sum our Harrison & Harrison organ will have cost: an interesting thought. 

The screens are up, the team from Tallinn will arrive on 2 January to begin the tricky task of dismantling, packing, transporting and rebuilding Henry Jones at the Gustav Adolph Grammar School and we wish them well.  

Harrison & Harrison will arrive soon after to begin a new era of music at Edington. What would Canon Ralph Dudley – founder of both the Friends and the Festival – have made of all this, I wonder?  

We will keep you up to date with progress.  

With thanks to Michael Jones and Sue Kemp for their photographs.

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© Friends of Edington Priory Church | Registered charity no: 00268249 | updated 5/01/14