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St John the Baptist

The Organ at St John's


The organ, which replaced the harmonium, was built by Christopher Dickens, M.A. (grandson of the author Charles Dickens) and installed in June 1982. It is a one manual, tracker action instrument with six unenclosed stops:

Open Diapason 8’

Stopped Diapason 8’

Dulciana 8’

Principal 4’

Flute 4’

Fifteenth 2’

The natural wood organ case was chosen by Mrs Mary Tindall, Architect.

The organ was financed partly through a legacy left by Mrs Agnes Barrett-Ayres, widow of the Revd Canon F.G. Barrett-Ayres, Priest-in-Charge 1937-45, and partly by a donation from the Grant of Rothiemurchus family and Trustees of the Charitable Trust of the family of Lady Mary Grant of Rothiemurchus, wife of the founder of the Church, who was for many years the organist in the original church. Donations were also received from members of the congregation and others.

The organ is dedicated to the memory of Lady Mary Grant of Rothiemurchus and The Revd Canon F.G. Barrett-Ayres and his wife. Their son, Reginald, at one time Head of the Music Department at Aberdeen University and Organist and Choirmaster of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, was much involved with the design, and played at the Dedication. Above the organ is the Grant family motto: “In God is all my trust”.

The organ was rebuilt in October 2000 by A F Edmonstone who had assisted Christopher Dickens with the original installation in 1982. The cost was met by donations from the congregation and particularly from Mrs Mary Todd and her mother in memory of her husband Geoffrey, at one time organist at Saint John’s.

The organ was built with the intention that it should be accessible to players of all standards, which does somewhat limit the range of music which can be played upon it. Supporting congregational singing at church services is its primary function, and one it fulfils very well. It’s a small church with a lively acoustic. For solo work, repertoire has to be chosen quite carefully, but a surprising range of sounds can be coaxed out of the organ with a little ingenuity and creativity. Above all, and despite its limitations, it is a pleasure to have a real pipe organ in the church!