Organ at St Mary’s Kidlington

At St Mary’s Kidlington we are blessed with a remarkable two-manual pipe organ, capable of giving voice to a wide range of repertoire, which leads our worship and is regularly used in concerts and recitals.

Back in the early 19th century, singing in St Mary’s was accompanied by a band of instrumentalists. In 1836 the church had a barrel organ installed — an example of this type of instrument remains in the nearby church of St Giles in Hampton Gay. The barrel organ was replaced in 1888 by a conventional organ, built by Father Willis and placed in the North Transept.

The organ was radically rebuilt in 1974-1976 by Richard Vendome and Paul Hale (both having formerly been organ scholars in Oxford) with the assistance of a group of volunteers from the church and technical input from Grant, Degens and Bradbeer, organ builders. Some of the original Willis wooden pipework was reused, but many new ranks were added. The manual and pedal action is tracker, and the stop action is mechanical to the manual divisions, but electric to the pedal division. The case is based on a mid 15th century design.

In 2016 the organ celebrated its 40th birthday. The event was marked with a special recital featuring performances from Paul Hale, Richard Vendome, David Hewett (the current Director of Music), and George Inscoe, who played Vendome’s Éclats (composed specially for the anniversary celebrations). A copy of the programme notes from the recital can be found here.

A journal article about the design and construction of the organ, authored by Richard Vendome, appeared in the Musical Times in 1981. An updated version of the article can be found here.


Great Principal 8
(Man I) Chimney Flute 8
  Octave 4
  Nason Flute 4
  Principal 2
  Sesquialtera II
  Mixture IV-V
  Trumpet (en chamade)  8

Positive Bourdon 8
(Man II) Stopped Flute 4
  Gemshorn 2
  Cymbel III
  Dulzian 8

Pedal Sub Bass 16
  Principal 8
  Octave 4
  Quint 2 2/3
  Mixture III
  Septima 4 4/7
  Bombarde 16

  Tremulant to Man I,II
  Couplers II-I,I-P,II-P