12th May 2024

[St Mary’s church, Totnes – the Father Willis organ with casework by William Drake]

Just back from a enjoyable Organ Club Tour, based in delightful guest quarters at Buckfast Abbey.  Leaving aside the rather curate’s eggish new organs in the Abbey, for me the stand-out instruments were the two we played in Totnes.  In St Mary’s church is a fine Father Willis, moved to the west end and beautifully restored by William Drake in 1988.  Its 12-stop Great Organ could give a few cathedral instruments a run for their money.

[St John’s church, Totnes – the William Drake organ]

Across the river is the church of St John the Evangelist, which suffered a terrible fire in 1976 and was rebuilt in modern style.  In 1983 William Drake installed an uncompromising 2/24 werkprinzip instrument, which is one of the best-voiced such instruments in the country and should be better known.