Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at  Updated: 18 December, 2012

The Parish Church of

St Matthew Oxhey

 Fr David Shepherd   Vicar

Fr David Shepherd

01923 241420

Search this site

The Restoration in 1980

At the time of a general reordering of the chancel to mark the centenary of the church in 1980, the organ was restored and the action electrified by Bishop and Son with substantial improvements made possible through the generosity of Douglas May, Organist and Choirmaster from 1965 to 1973. The choir stalls were removed from their original position at each side, up to the east end and the dividing oak chancel screen moved to the west end. The organ was lowered and the Italianate style reredos and altar at the north side aisle moved forwards away from the arch in order to open up the instrument, giving improved sound penetration to the body of the church. A first prize in the form of the Douglas May study bursary, awarded at the St. Albans International Organ Festival, perpetuates the organist's memory.

The future

The organ, valued at £150,000 for insurance purposes, is regularly maintained by Bishops and it would be reasonable to expect some new pipework in the future and the inclusion of a choir organ - which had been planned but rejected in the reconstruction of 1980, to further improve the performance of the instrument.


The Organ

Built in 1913 by Norman and Beard, well constructed with first class materials, the organ contains a certain amount of pipework taken from the earlier organ and is a good example of parish church organ building of the period. It contains over 800 pipes and the voicing is typical of the builder's workmanship which makes it more versatile than would otherwise appear at first glance.

The only known record of the organ before its 1980 reconstruction is in the form of an audio tape, recorded in stereo in 1974, of both organ and choir, with solo spots by John Miley and David McLachlan who were Organist & Choirmaster and Assistant Organist respectively at that time. The tape has been transferred to mp3 files and is available elsewhere on our website.


Compass CC to C - 61 notes


  1. Pedal Principal 8 ft
  2. Open Diapason 8 ft
  3. Stopped Diapason 8 ft
  4. Dulciana 8 ft
  5. Principal 4 ft
  6. Flute 4 ft
  7. Nasat 2.6ft
  8. Fifteenth 2 ft
  9. Mixture - Two ranks - 19 - 22


I - Swell to Great



Compass CC to C - 61 notes


10. Open Diapason 8 ft
11. Lieblich Gedact 8 ft
12. Viola da Gamba 8 ft
13. Voix Celestes 8 ft
14. Gemshorn 4 ft
15. Mixture - Three ranks - 15 - 19 - 22
16.Contra Oboe 16 ft
17. Cornopean 8 ft
18. Oboe 8 ft

II - Octave ( Through Swell to Great Coupler )


Pedal Organ

Compass CCC to F - 30 notes

19. Open Diapason 16 ft
20. Bourdon 16 ft
21. Principal 8 ft derived from no. 1
22. Bass Flute 8 ft derived from no. 20
23. Fifteenth 4 ft derived from no. 1
24. Octavin 2 ft derived from no. 1


Five thumb pistons to Great Organ
Five thumb pistons to Swell Organ
Five toe pistons to Swell Organ
Great and pedal Combinations coupled by drawstop
Piston Combinations adjustable (From setter switchboard)
Swell to Great reversible by thumb piston
Great to Pedal reversible by toe and thumb piston
General cancel by thumb piston
Balanced Swell pedal



H.J.Powell July 1993