St Thomas of Canterbury, Goring on Thames

St Thomas of Canterbury, Goring on Thames
OHCT grant: £20,000

Thanks to the time, talents, prayers, donations and grants from many people and organisations including Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust who awarded the project a generous grant in 2021 we are now nearing the end of the first part of our project. .  The organ was re-dedicated at a service on 29th January 2023 .

The church with a strong musical tradition which has been a very effective part of our outreach and service to the wider community.  However, in recent years, it became clear that our church organ was failing and required a major rebuild to allow us to continue and expand this work, particularly with young musicians. One of our priorities was:

To rebuild an instrument that can be used to ensure the continued heritage of church music as one means of engaging with our community, communicating the knowledge of God revealed in Jesus by helping teach new musicians – organists and choristers, including setting up a scholarship scheme for young organists. Words of God taken in and learned, accompanied by music, can reach into the soul and last a lifetime.

Taking the advice of Diocesan organ advisors, the church looked at a range of options and after careful consideration of the issues including conservation, sustainability, and retention of the excellent acoustic, it was decided that the best solution was a rebuild of the existing instrument. A rebuild scheme was drawn up by our independent advisor, Paul Hale, in consultation with our Director of Music, Michael Howell and after obtaining quotes from three companies, Clevedon Organs were selected as the organ builder.

The organ is a three-manual instrument built in the 1880s by Alfred Monk of London and rebuilt by Bishop and Son in 1930. Most pipework dates from 1886, is of excellent quality and has been retained. The 1886 windchests and slider sound boards that form the action of the organ had started to fail and have been replaced.  We have been careful to retain the look and feel of the 1930s console with the rolltop lid and stop-keys.  However, we have also included the latest technology to ensure the best playing and listening experience.

We are now excited to move into the next stage of our project – using the organ as musical outreach to inspire a new generation.  To this end an Inaugural Recital given by Thomas Trotter took place on 11th February 2023.


The church was built about 1100, probably by Robert d’Oilly who was a Norman baron and staunch supporter of William the Conqueror. The building was originally without aisles or transepts and then consisted simply of a chancel, nave and western tower, with the chancel ending in a semi-circular apse. The north aisle was added in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century by the Augustinian nuns of the adjacent priory. The north porch and doorway date from the fourteenth century. At one time there was a Musicians’ Gallery above the door at the west end of the nave, which was removed in the nineteenth century. The organ chamber was built in 1888 and the organ installed in the same year.

Photo credits – Paul Hale and Bernard Novell

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