Saturday, January 03, 2015

Three time organ donor?

Looking at the timeline, one can't help question why John Fuller would purchase three barrel organs within a five year period. Where is/was the Flight & Robson organ? Did Fuller take delivery of it or was the purchase cancelled? Was it used in Brightling church or elsewhere? It is certain that the Nicholls' barrel organ, thought to be the largest of its type still operational in the UK, replaced an earlier instrument. What is not clear is whether there were one or two previous barrel organs purchase by Fuller and who made them.

C. 1750
Gallery erected in Brightling Church[1]
John “Mad Jack” Fuller inherits Rosehill, Brightling, Sussex after the death of his uncle Rose Fuller.
30 Aug 1815
Performance given by Samuel Wesley on the organ Fuller ordered from Flight and Robson at their manufactory at 101 St. Martin’s Lane, London[2]
12 Sept 1815
Samuel Wesley writes to William Shield, “I have been informed by Flight & Robson that Mr. Fuller came one Day from the Country, for the express Purpose of hearing the Music I prepared for his Organ, & although the Barrel had not been corrected for he was there before I had heard a Note of it myself) he manifested the most unequivocal Signs of perfect Approbation. …He was partly expected to come & hear the Organ on the Day that several Professional Men were invited: the Meeting was afterwards noticed and described in the News Papers very soon afterward” [3]
C. 1818
Alexander Buckingham (c1777-1853) establishes his own barrel and chamber organ firm at 39 Frederick Place, Hampstead Road, London. He is commissioned to build a barell organ, (later known as the Williams Organ ) for Brightling Church around this time.(?) [4] 
C. 1820
Fuller commissions William Alfred. A. Nicholls of 9 Stephen Street, Tottenham Court Road, London, to build a larger barrel organ for Brightling Church[5]
15 March 1821
W.A.A. Nicholls is bankrupt.[6]
Williams Organ shipped to Archdeacon Henry Williams and his brother William Williams when they were stationed as missioners at Paiha, Bay of Islands, New Zealand as a bequest from their Uncle John Marsh. It was the first barrel organ in New Zealand. [7]
April 1851
Williams organ installed in Holy Trinity Church at Pakaraka, Northland, New Zealand, which was a new church founded by Henry Williams [8]
Edward Marsh Williams inherits the Williams Organ from his father, Henry Williams. [9]
Rev. Alfred Owen Williams lends the Williams Organ to the Wanganui Museum, which he co-founded. The Williams Organ is restored to playing condition. [10]
Nicholls’ Organ repaired by Aubrey Allen[11]
Williams Organ repaired by Raynor White[12]
Nicholls’ Organ repaired by Harrison and Harrison of Durham[13]
Harrison and Harrison, of Durham restore the Nicholls’ Organ[14]
Zillah and Robert Castle renovate the Williams Organ. [15]
Nicholls’ Organ surveyed by the British Institute of Organ Studies[16]
Nicholls’ Organ restored by Dominic Gwynn for Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn of Worksop, Nottinghamshire[17]
Nicholls' Organ awarded Historic Organs Certificate (Ungraded) [18]

[1] French, Brian A., Brightling: Parish Church of St. Thomas à Becket, 1972, p. 5
[2] Morning Post, September 01, 1815 - Page 3
[3] Olleson, Phillip, The Letters of Samuel Wesley: Professional and Society Correspondence, 1797-1837,.pp. 248-9, Doctoral Thesis, OUP, 2001
[5] Boyd, Diana, Brightling Church Guide, Tea Brokers’ Publications Limited, 1979, p. 18
[6] Caledonian Mercury, March 15, 1821 – Page 2
[8] Ibid
[9] Ibid
[10] Holman, Anne, Of “Bruite beasts and Horses’ legs”: The Brightling Church barrel organs and country church music, S & P Printers, 2000, p.13
[11] Ibid, p. 21
[12] Ibid, p. 13
[14] Ibid
[15] Holman, p 13
[17] Holman, p. 14
[18] Holman, p 22

Record ImageLeft: Nicholls' Barrel Organ in the gallery at Brightling Church
Right: Williams Barrel Organ in the Wanganui Regional Museum, New Zealand                                                                                  

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