Ashwell United Reformed Church

Organ renovation - 19?
Chris James
Organ renovation - 19?
Chris James
Jackie Embury
Jackie Embury
Chris James - Organist 1988 -
Les Simmons
Thomas (Tom) Gearing - 1996
Ernest Towning
John and Joan Banks 1992 - they were both also local preachers
Ernest Towning


 1912 – 45?       Mr Charles Westrope
(War Service 1918- ?)                
1918                  Miss Angell 
1946                  Mrs Frank Albon
1952 - 1966       Mr Ken Bryant               

1966 – 1986       Mrs Millie Harridine
1966 – 1992       Mrs Ivy Brown
1987/8 – 1990    Mrs Joan Banks
1988 -                Mrs Christine (Chris) James
2007 -                Mr John Whomes

Guest Organists: 1987 –
                           Mr Norman Gurney
Mr Thomas (Tom) Gurney
Mr Graham Weeks-Bell
Mr Ken Rooke
Mr John Rowlands
Mr Lindsay Colquhoun
Mr Brian Williams

Organ Blower:
                       Mr Fred Bryant
From Sept 1945 – 1947 when an electric pump was installed.

Fred Bryant was a pupil at Merchant Taylors School working for Westropes after school.  One day he was instructed to go home from school, change into his best clothes and report to Mr Westrope – he was not told why!  The occasion was the Induction of the Rev Herbert Walter Hard on Thursday, September 27th 1945 at 4 pm.  He did as instructed and from then on pumped the organ when needed until the electric pump was installed;  for this service he was paid … per annum.

Fred’s sister Molly remembers having to sit with him to remind him when to start pumping as he was either reading a comic or falling asleep.

Extracts taken from Church Minute Books 1883 – 1947

January 15th 1883
A Committee meeting was held and was decided to ask Mr Forsaith to come and see the Organ and to advise us what to do the following were present:
Millsom Revd. J B, Chapman Mr, Thos, Wright Mr Chas, Humphrey Mr, Pack Mr Thos, Pack Mr Wm, Wood Mr Sam, Bailey Mr F J, Mr Westrope Mr J W
It was also decided that the above meet Mr Forsaith and report to General Committee his opinions about it.

April 2nd 1883
At a General Committee it was proposed by Mr J W Westrope and seconded by Mr Thos Pack that we have the £100 Organ.An amendment was proposed by Mr W Edwards and seconded by Mr Wright that we have the £80 Organ amendment lost. Proposed by Mr Chapman and seconded by Mr F J Bailey that the order be given at once.
Proposed by Mr Edwards and seconded by Mr J W Westrope that Mr Dixon be bound to time.
The following were appointed as Sub-Committee to superintend the alterations required:
Mr Chapman, Mr Wright, Mr J W Westrope, Mr S Wood, Mr Geo Webb, Mr N R Westrope.

Church Meeting – November 2nd 1910
It was proposed to resume the use of Sankeys hymns on Sunday Nov 13th and use them on the 2nd Sunday evening in each month.

Deacons Meeting – September 15th 1915
Rev Wm Morgan proposed and Mr Burton seconded that the choir be asked to meet at the close of the weeknight service and ask the members to appoint a leader.

Deacons Meeting – Oct 12th 1915
The business for consideration was the proposed mission.
Mr Morgan stated that Rev E Bristlow was very willing to conduct it and proposed that it be held from Nov 14th to the 21st inclusive.  It was decided to ask the choir to be responsible for the musical part the Secretary under took to arrange for hospitality and conveyance of Mr Bristow and Mr Morgan agreed to arrange for bills, hymns etc in consultation with Mr Bristow.

Deacons Meeting – Feb 7th 1916
The Minister Rev Wm Morgan presided and there was present Mr JW Burton, Mr FJ Christy and the Secretary.The minutes of the last Deacons meeting were read and signed.
A letter had been received from Messrs. Miller and Son of Cambridge stating that at the request of some of the Deacons, Mr Miller had made a thorough examination of the organ and had found it to be in an extremely bad condition.  He suggested repairs which would cost upwards of £50.
The Deacons instructed the Secretary to write to Messrs. Miller thanking them for their trouble and to say that at present the expense was prohibitive but as soon as possible it was hoped to proceed with the work.  This concluded the business

A Church Meeting was held on Wed. evening March 29th 1917 the Minister Rev Wm Morgan presiding.
The condition of the organ was brought to the notice of the meeting and the steps which had been taken to deal with the matter explained to the members of the Church.

Church Meeting – October 11th 1917
Mr Hooper announced the suggestions of the Deacons respecting arrangements for recognition services in connection with his settlement as Pastor of the Church as follows:  Date Oct 25th Preacher Rev HC Carter MA of Cambridge, Speakers, Mr Carter, GG Wheeler Esq FM Warren Esq of St Ives, Mr WH Bray, Rev D Macfadyen, Rev Wm Harris and the Pastor.  Chairman Rev D Tatton Secretary Herts Congregational Union.
A solo by Mr Dan Hall and an anthem by the Choir.  These arrangements were unanimously approved by the Church.
He suggested that a new Piano should be secured and new Bibles and Hymn books purchased.

Annual Meeting – January 31st 1918
Through Mr Strickland seconded Mr Harridine the thanks of the meeting were tendered to the Church Secretary, the Organist, Choirmaster and Choir.

Deacons Meeting – June 4th 1918
A meeting of the Deacons was held in the vestry at 7.30 pm.  There were present:  Mr Thos Wylie, Mr JW Burton, Mr FJ Christy and the Secretary.
The Secretary reported that the Organist, Mr C Westrope was shortly leaving the village to join the army.  It was proposed that the Secretary draft a letter to be signed by the Deacons expressing the thanks of the Church and their appreciation of his valuable and untiring services rendered in so many ways.
It was proposed by Mr Christy seconded Mr Burton that the Secretary ask Miss Angell to undertake the post of Organist until Mr Westrope’s return.

Church Meeting – 20th October 1920
The question of the week night service was raised.  It was proposed by Nurse Reading seconded Mrs Stanton that the meetings should be held on Wednesday evening of each week in the Church at 7 15 to 8 o’clock.   It was also decided that a choir practice should follow the service.

Deacons Meeting – October 6th 1921
To hold a Church meeting on November 9th and to re-organise the Choir with a view to the introduction of more music and singing and a more popular form of service on one Sunday evening a month.

The Annual Meeting of the Members of the Church and Congregation was held in the schoolroom on Thursday 24th January 1946.
Mr Hard sincerely thanked the organist, Mrs Frank Albon and all of her workers who worked so faithfully all the year long and who made the work go along so smoothly.

A Deacons Meeting was held on 11th July 1947 at The Manse.
Mr CH Westrope reported that he had seen the organ builders and that they had submitted an estimate for cleaning and repairs for the sum of £87.10.0d. and the sum of £84.10.0d. for the installation of a blower.  It was decided to ask them to proceed with the work.

A Meeting of the Deasons was held at the home of the Church Secretary on 20th August 1947.
Mr Westrope reported that as instructed he had placed the order for the cleaning, repairing and rebuilding of the organ and the work would be put in hand as soon as possible.  He also stated that an electric blower would take about 12 months to procure.  He was asked to place the order for this also.
It was decided to make an effort to get the money to meet organ repairs as soon as possible and to pay that off first.  Mr Westrope promised to undertake to distribute collecting cards among all the friends and to ask them to do their best to get what money was possible.

The Minutes of the Ashwell Congregational Church Meeting of 17 Members and 8 Adherents on 31st August 1947.
The action of the Deacons in accepting the estimate of the Organ Builders for the overhauling and repairing the organ and installing an electric blower was approved.  It was agreed that we should raise £250 for this work which was estimated to cover all the expenses entailed.



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