St Mary’s Church in Maldon commended for ‘outstanding’ organ project

  Posted: 09.11.21 at 19:42 by Charlotte Lillywhite

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A huge project to install a new organ in St Mary’s Church, in Maldon, has been highly commended by a judging panel of councillors, architects and historians.

The new organ loft in the Grade I listed building, on St Mary’s Lane, received the commendation during an awards ceremony as part of the 38th Maldon District Conservation Design Award Scheme.

The pipe organ was originally built by Klais, one of the most respected church organ companies in the world, and housed in a church in the Rheinfalz in Germany, which closed in 2017.

Hey Orgelbau, a specialist team from Germany, adapted and installed the organ in St Mary’s Church and worked closely with Punch Construction of Tollesbury, who erected the gallery.

The gallery, which supports the organ and is made of locally-sourced steel, oak and glass, was designed by architects Freeland Rees Roberts of Cambridge.

Presenting the awards, Councillor Richard Siddall, chairman of the judging panel, said: “The judges agreed this project is a wonderful achievement, bringing music of a European standard to a Maldon church.

The state-of-the-art organ new to St Mary's Church in Maldon

“Architecturally, what was a rather uninteresting and large expanse of blank wall has now become one of the most outstanding features of the church.

“The judges admired the fact the organ had been recycled from a German church and adapted to suit St Mary’s.

“They also complemented the way those involved had overcome the logistical challenges posed by Brexit and the constraints of the church building.”

Accepting the commendation, a spokesperson for St Mary’s Church said: “It’s really enhanced the building and people are really enthralled by it, as are we.

“We hope to see you all there.”

A number of other sites in Maldon received awards or were commended in the ceremony.

Lauriston Community Farm, in Goldhanger, won the nature conservation award for its work managing a 210-acre farm which also provides training, work experience and day placements for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Councillor Siddall said: “The judges were extremely impressed by this project, for its outstanding nature conservation credentials, the inclusion of people with learning disabilities or autism and for the commitment and vision of those involved.

“The judges were particularly struck by the preservation of a remarkable example of historic saltmarsh meadow which retains the undulating profile of the saltmarsh and is used as grazing for Shetland cattle.”

Spencer Christy, who runs the community-owned farm, said: “It was a real surprise to be nominated in the first place.”

He added: “We’ll keep the work going.”

A one-off category was even created - a commendation for artistic craftsmanship - after judges were delighted by the quality of the new stained glass window in St Peter’s Church in Wickham Bishops.

Creeksea Place, in Burnham-on-Crouch won the Building Conservation Award for the project undertaken to restore the Grade II* listed building, which began in 2020.

3 Black Lion Cottages, in Althorne, was highly commended for conservation, following the efforts of neighbour Chris Green and his business partner David Bowdler to refurbish the home.

The men formed a partnership with their investor and architect Anthony Stokes Judd along with associate architect Stefan Golc, and were highly commended by judges for leading “a great example of a Georgian cottage being refurbished to the standard it deserves”.

Goose House, in Woodham Mortimer, won the award for the design of a new house, and judges called the collaboration between the client and the architect, Annabel Brown, a demonstration of “architects at their best”.

Councillor Siddall said: “The calibre of this year’s winners was particularly high.”

He said judging the entries had reminded him that “Maldon is a fantastic district and how lucky we are to call it home”.

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