Watercolour by Simon Dolby -
used here by James Parsons with artist’s restricted permission
Fotheringhay is a tiny village in Northamptonshire over which presides the iconic lantern tower of St Mary and All Saints Parish Church— “float[ing] on its hill above the River Nene, a galleon of Perpendicular on a sea of corn” (Simon Jenkins)
The present Church is all that remains of a mediaeval College of Priests founded by King Edward III.
This is a romantic location rich in historical association:
Recent researches reveal the vital musical culture that attached to the College before its Dissolution in 1548
Thousands visit Fotheringhay every year, a trend now boosted by the recently–raised interest in Richard III and the activities of the Richard III Society. The Church is also a focus for other special-interest groups such as the Mary Queen of Scots Society, and U3A.
St Mary’s, Fotheringhay, is a numinous place blessed with a moist yet clear acoustic.
For most years of the 20th century, Fotheringhay Church, had an electronic organ (a Compton – with valves!). During the 1990’s James headed an initiative to provide a pipe organ worthy of the Church’s heritage and aesthetic qualities. The builder finally selected was Vincent Woodstock of Redbourn, Hertfordshire, who installed the organ in 2000. The ON Organ Fund [website link] was one of the major contributors to the funding campaign spearheaded by Michael and Juliet Wilson..
The organ which Woodstock created, noted for its superb mechanical action and resonant voicing, has been widely featured in recitals and broadcasts and at organists' summer schools, whilst enriching the regular services.
Open Diapason 8
Stopped Diapason 8
Mixture IV 1 1/3
Chimney Flute 8
Nazard 2 2/3
Tierce 1 3/5
Bass Flute 8
Compass of Keys CC-g3 56 notes
Compass of Pedals C-f1 30 notes
Pedalboard Straight/ Concave
Mechanical Action to keys and stops
Following major structural renovation in the Church, the organ will be cleaned and recommissioned in autumn 2018 by
Bower & Company [website link]
2019 will see