Listen to Preambule (from 24 pieces en style libre) by Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

We are very fortunate to have a fine pipe organ and a talented organist, Simon Russell, who is ably assisted by Jonathan Layfield, the deputy organist. The quality of music in St Mary’s is outstanding and enhances our worship. Our organ is also often involved in the many concerts and recitals which take place throughout the year.

History of Organs at St. Mary’s.

The current organ in St. Mary’s, situated in the South Transept, consisting of 37 speaking stops spread over 3 manuals and pedals was originally built by Forster and Andrews in 1890. It was last updated and rebuilt by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1994.


1809 Unknown

Original organ built on a gallery in the crossing facing West.

1875 Whitely

Organ moved to South Transept; Violone stop (34 pipes) added, the bass of which appears to have formed the case; a plate in the church, near the organ, states that this organ was sold for £100 to St James, Haydock, Lancs, but the Violone was retained for further use.

1890 Forster & Andrews

New organ with tracker action to manuals and pneumatic action to pedals; Violone stop from previous organ incorporated as Double Open Diapason; L. Elvin’s Forster & Andrews book, p.53. Specification drawn up and organ opened by Dr. J.C.Bridge (Chester Cathedral); £1080; some expense incurred for “cutting into the wall, removing a monumental slab, altering the organ screen, etc.” which suggests that the casework dates at least in part from 1875, presumably housing a rather smaller organ.

1925(c.) Unknown

Partly rebuilt; Swell and Choir converted to pneumatic action, and Trombone added to Pedal.

1946 Charles Whiteley & Co. Chester

(According to the N. Staffs & District Organ Society, Pipe Organ Survey 1985/6.)

1973 Charles Whiteley & Co. Chester

Rebuilt with EP action, Choir box removed and converted to Positif with several new ranks; Great Dulciana and Gamba replaced by Mixture IV; Swell Vox Humana and Lieblich Flute 16′ replaced by Clarion 4′; Pedal Trombone made to speak again (after 20 years’ silence), and open metal rank of 42 pipes added to Pedal to form a Fifteenth and Octave 2′; (origin of all “new” pipework unknown); new console, solid state pistons;

1985 Charles Whiteley & Co. Chester

(According to the N. Staffs & District Organ Society, Pipe Organ Survey 1985/6)

1994 Rushworth & Dreaper Liverpool

Restored; added Acoustic Bass 32′ on Pedal and Gamba 8′(origin unknown) on Great; 8 general pistons provided (1-4 duplicated by toe pistons);

National Pipe Organ Register