Morville Pipe Organ


Morville is fortunate in having a 19th century organ by a famous maker in almost original condition. It was built c1855 by George Maydwell Holdich who was a highly esteemed and prolific organ builder of the Victorian period. The organ is of historic interest being registered by the British Institute of Organ Studies as “an instrument of importance to national heritage and deserving preservation for future generations”.

He was born in 1816, the son of the Reverend Thomas Holdich. the Rector of Maydwell, Northamptonshire. It was intended that George should enter the medical profession. but, before his studies were completed, he apprenticed himself to the organ building firm of Bishop. He set up in business on his own in about 1837 at 12 Greek Street, Soho, a
large house divided into three parts. By 1854 his business had expanded enough to warrant larger premises so he moved to 4 Judd Place, King's Cross, London. There he remained until the early 1860’s when he moved to Islington.

As an organ builder, Holdich stands out from his period. The tone of an organ is varied by the different use of varied ranks of pipes brought into action by the player through controls called stops. Holdwich's tonal designs are classical in conception seeking to produce a tonal entity rather than a miscellaneous collection of stops of various tone colours which was the usual tonal make-up of the Victorian organs. An interesting feature of his organs is the inclusion of the stop invented by him and found on very few instruments, called the Diacton. It is generally agreed that his best work was the original organ in Lichfield Cathedral and the small villagé organs such as we have in
Morville. Most of his organs have been either destroyed or altered out of all recognition. We are fortunate in having one of his organs in almost its original state. It still has its original ivory maker's name on its keyboard with his Judd Place address and from which it can be dated to 1854 - 1864.

The fact that on Sundays throughout the year the organ of Morville Church produces the same sounds as accompanied the worship of God for more than a hundred years is a tribute to Holdich and the craftsmen who built it.