South Downs Gateway Churches

Owslebury Organs

The organ of Owslebury was built in 1864 by William Hill & Son, who was one of the leading organ builders of the 19th Century. Hill built the first very large organs in the UK in places such as Birmingham Town Hall, York Minster, Westminster Abbey, many cathedrals (such as nearby Chichester and Arundel) and prominent churches.

Little is known of this organ’s early history. The first documented record of the organ is in 1918, when it was erected in the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Farnham. On closure of the chapel, the organ moved to Emmanuel Church, South Street, Farnham in 1936. In 2013-2014 Geoff Griffiths & Co restored and transplanted the organ in to St Andrews, Owslebury. It replaces an organ built in the 1980s by local village organ builder Richard Boston.

Despite these moves, the Hill organ has survived with no alterations so all its features – console, pedalboard, bench and pipes are original. Unusually, the whole organ is constructed on one soundboard, with the Great Organ at the front and the Swell box at the back. The Swell Organ only descends to tenor C and the unused bottom octave is used for the single octave Pedal Bourdon.

This provides a very compact 2 manual and pedal organ in a footprint just 4ft deep by 7ft 9inches wide.

Despite its modest size and pretensions, it shares the suavity and charm of its grander brethren.


Great Organ (C-f3, 54 notes)

  • Open Diapason 8ft
  • Stopped Diapason Bass 8ft
  • Stopped Diapason Treble
  • Principal 4ft
  • Flute 4ft

Swell Organ (Tenor C-f3, 42 notes; the bottom octave is permanently coupled to the Great Organ)

  • Dulciana 8ft
  • Oboe 8ft
  • Pedal Organ (C-g, 20 notes)

Bourdon 16ft (pipes for the bottom 12 notes only)

  • Accessories
  • Swell to Great
  • Great to Pedal
  • Trigger Swell Pedal
  • Straight, flat pedal board
  • Mechanical key, pedal and stop action
  • Double rise reservoir with hand and electric blowing
  • Pitch: A=440 Hz, Equal Temperament.

Chamber Organ

The chamber organ was built by an Australian friend of Richard Boston, an organ builder who lived in Owslebury until his death in 1985. The organ was built after the Second World War and shares many similarities to the chamber organs of Miller of Cambridge, especially the construction of the wooden pipes. The simple carvings on the frame are said to be influenced by Aboriginal art.


  • Manual (C-f3, 54 notes)
  • Stopped Diapason 8 ft
  • Principal 4ft
  • Tierce 1 3/5ft
  • Transposing device (A=440 and A=415 Hz)
  • All pipes made of wood
  • Fan blower
Location Morestead, Owslebury, Twyford, Colden Common. Benefice Office: Holy Trinity Church Centre, 154 Main Road, Colden Common SO21 1TJ Phone 01962 715172
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