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Margam Abbey’s historic organ restored

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Margam Abbey’s organ, installed over 150 years ago and regarded as a historic instrument of national importance, is now in full working order thanks to an extensive overhaul and restoration, costing more than £20,000.

The cost of the work, which took three months to complete, was borne by the congregation of Margam Abbey and Margam Abbey Music Foundation, alongside financial contributions from the Margam Green Energy Community Fund (£3,000), the Mynydd Brombil Wind Farm Community Fund (£8,000), the Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, the On Organ Trust, and the Newlands Wind Turbine Fund (£1,000).

Margam Abbey was built in the 12th century, and the Abbey’s organ was installed in 1866 for the wedding of Bertha Isabella Talbot to John Fletcher of Saltoun. It was originally built by William Hill, one of the great English organ builders of the 19th century.  It was enlarged in 1911 by August Gern, a notable French Organ Builder who had learned his craft with the renowned Aristide Cavaille-Coll of Paris.  After more than 100 years of service, the organ needed repair, and the restoration was undertaken by GO Organ Builders in Hereford. The organ’s reservoirs were restored by Dave Roberts Organ Builders Ltd of County Durham.

Mark Greenaway-Robbins, Vicar of Margam Abbey said: “The organ has traditionally accompanied regular worship, weddings and baptisms for many years and the occasional concert.  However looking at the next 100 years, the Diocese of Llandaff wants the Abbey to also become a centre of excellence for culture, heritage and music. The organ’s restoration is an important step towards achieving that goal, and we are hugely grateful for the financial support that’s been given.”

Hugh Unwin, Director of Schroders Greencoat, the owners of the Margam Green Energy biomass power plant, said: “The organ restoration was the most significant grant made by the Margam Green Energy Fund last year. We were delighted to be able to support the restoration that will mean that music in the Abbey will be heard by worshippers and music lovers today and for generations to come.”

Sam Mayes, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at RES, the British renewable energy company which operates Mynydd Brombil Wind Farm said: “We are delighted the Mynydd Brombil Wind Farm Community Fund has been one of the main contributors that has enabled Margam Abbey’s beloved organ to be given a new lease of life. The specialist work that has gone into protecting and extending the use of this historic instrument is a prime example of how onshore wind can provide direct, lasting benefits to local communities in a multitude of ways.”

The Margam Green Energy Community Fund supports projects (to a maximum of £6,000) within the Taibach & Margam ward of Neath Port Talbot Borough Council.  The Fund is kindly administered by the Council.  For more information about the Fund, please contact Paul Hinder, Project Development and Funding Manager at NPT Council : [email protected]

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