The Lewis Organ
Bolney has one of the finest organs of any Sussex village church thanks to the generosity of Henry Courage (of Courage Brewery fame).
It was built by the organ builders T.C. Lewis for his home, Gravenhurst (subsequently Bolney Court and now Farney Close School) at the turn of the 20th century for a cost of £560 and bequeathed to the Church on his death in 1902.
Henry Courage had a controlling interest in Lewis & Co., then a well known firm who had built organs in both Southwark and Westminster Cathedrals as well as numerous parish churches.
St. Mary Magdalene Church had also been restored a few years earlier byJohn Francis Bentley, Westminster Cathedral’s architect – an interesting connection.
The original material still in the Bolney organ is typical of the high quality of Lewis' work of the period and its design and construction is solid and dependable. Well placed in the church, its sound has a grandeur that is unexpected in an instrument of comparatively modest size. The full swell in particular with octave couplers added gives almost a cathedral effect. In contrast are two beautifully voiced string stops which are particularly useful in creating an ethereal atmosphere during communion.
The organ was cleaned in 1930 and again in 1958.
An electric blower was installed in 1947, replacing the original handpumped mechanism.
Following an appeal, the organ was rebuilt by Messrs. Wood Wordsworth of Leeds in 1968.
A 3 rank Mixture was added to the Swell, a 2' Spitzflute to the Great and 8' & 4' stops to the Pedal division. A new pedal board was installed and the action converted from tubular-pneumatic to electro-pneumatic. Two reversible thumb pistons were also added.
The total cost of this scheme was £2,634 and the organ was re-dedicated on 21st July 1968.
The organ was subsequently cleaned and overhauled by N.P. Mander in 1987.
Most recently, the power supply, electrical wiring, processor and central control stack were renewed by Patrick Christian of Brighton in 2014.
"This organ was rebuilt in 1968 through the generosity of the parishioners and friends of Bolney Church.
Particular subscriptions were made in memory of Hester Sears of New Highlands, Bolney and of Maud, John and Adrian Griffith of Bee Houses, Bolney. Deo Gratias"
Between 1881 and 1902, the church housed an organ by William Hill which was moved to Bexleyheath, Kent and subsequently to St. Luke's, Duston. Further information and present day photographs are available HERE.