St Andrew's Church, Chippenham
|St Andrew's Parish Church, Chippenham|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Reader(s)||Eryl Spencer, Margaret Gubbins|
|Organist/Director of music||David Dewar|
|Organist(s)||John Iles, Paul Fortune|
St Andrew's Church, in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England, is a parish church. It is one of three Anglican parish churches in the town, and serves the south and east of Chippenham. The church itself is situated in the Market Place, beside the town centre. It maintains an enviable musical tradition. Below are some details of the organ and organists of the church, and there are also some links to the church's music website, where further details are available.
St Andrew's is a large church, with a wide nave, separated from a long chancel by a wooden, early 20th century screen. There is a Lady Chapel to the south of the chancel which is the oldest part of the church. There are two nave aisles, both of substantial width. A side chapel adjoining the south aisle is used as a Baptistry. There is a notable monument near the west end of the south aisle, to the Prynne family.
The church is also used non-liturgically by a number of local groups (orchestras and choirs) as their performance venue. It is the base for the chamber choir, Schola, a small group specialising in Tudor and Jacobean music. Membership of Schola is available by audition.
St Andrew's also provided the base for an annual series of recitals and small-scale concerts entitled "Music Unlimited", organised by the Friends of St Andrew's, a church-based organisation which raises funds for the church fabric. Recently, an experimental series of informal, free, 'prom' concerts was initiated at 3pm on Sunday afternoons for 45 minutes. This experiment proved successful, and is likely to be revived in the near future.
Local schools (primary and secondary) tend also to use the church for their Christmas events - generally during the full week prior to Christmas week. Some also use the church for concerts at other times.
During the past two years, the church has been the venue for concerts by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
St Andrew’s is the ancient parish church of Chippenham located in the town centre at the top of the High Street. The Church, which is large, has undergone extensive re-ordering in recent years so that there is now flexible seating, spacious side aisles, and a central nave altar. The church has a large three manual Seede/Gray & Davidson Organ. It is the Civic church of Chippenham, and an annual Civic Service is celebrated each September.
The church's website contains a virtual tour showing photographs of the interior. Details of inscriptions on tombs and monuments are also available. The website contains information about the organ, and its history together with that of the historic case front. Details of recent parish activities, and parish magazines are also available on the website.
There are two singing groups involved in the church services, the Robed Choir, and the St Andrew's Singers.
The former sings at the main morning service on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Sundays, and at Choral Evensong at times during the year. Choral services have been maintained at this church for many years. The latter singing group, less formally constituted, provides the music for the All Age Services on the 1st and 3rd Sunday mornings of the month; this service is followed by a said service of Holy Communion.
The church is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music, and training in the robed choir follows the RSCM's Voice for Life programme. Recently two choristers have gained their Bronze Awards from the RSCM, and several others are working towards continuing achievement in the various levels of the VfL scheme.
The church's music website, see below, carries details of concerts and recitals promoted by the church, and details of liturgical music.
Some Seede pipework from around the middle of the 18th century survives, together with a very fine case-front, currently installed at the west of the instrument which is situated in the north aisle. A major rebuild and enlargement was carried out by Gray and Davison in the latter part of the 19th century. Further additions being made in the 20th century, most recently by Coulson in the 1980s. A detached console is provided in the south choir aisle. The specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.
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- Christopher Kent (2007). Music of Rural Byway and Rotten Borough: A Study of Musical Life in Mid-Wiltshire c. 1750-1830. pp. 163–183 in Music in the British Provinces 1690-1914. ed. Rachel Cowgill and Peter Holman. Ashgate.
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