The Snetzler Organ

The History of the St Laurence Organ

When an organ was first set up in Ludlow Parish Church is not known - remoter periods of history are largely unchronicled. But it is probable that an organ was here as early as 1400. There is a late 15th Century account when money was paid for "mending ye organs". The first know organist was here from 1492 to 1508.

In the mid-16th century there were two organs in St Laurence. However, with the Commonwealth decree of 1650 to destroy all organs, records became scant.

Then, in 1764, through the generosity of the Earl of Powys, John Snetzler, a Swiss organ builder living in London, completed what still remains the heart of today's organ. It was completed at a cost of £ 1,000 (about £110,000 in today's money). The organs had no pedalboard, but three keyboards (or "manuals"). It had 19 stops, most of which survive to today. The organ originally stood on a platform directly under the church tower.

In the19th Century, the renowned firm of Gray and Davison restored the organ and enlarged it, at the same time moving it to its present position in the North Transept. By this time, a fourth manual had been added.

Further changes and improvements were made during the 20th century, the more significant being as a result of some generous donations.

In 2006, thanks largely to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, further work was carried out to clean the interior of the instrument, improve the console, and to add a set of pipes to re-create one of the stops of the original Snetzler organ, removed in the 19th Century.

The St Laurence Organ today

Today's organ is a fine instrument. As a result of much care over the years, the instrument is in fine condition, and is used every Sunday for services and for a wide range of musical events in the church. A booklet on the organ is available from the bookstall.

Today's organ is one of the finest Parish Church organs in the country, and attracts recitalists from all over the world. Click here for information on organ recitals

The picture below shows the organ console as it is today.

The organ specification St Laurence, Ludlow

1 Contra Gamba 16
2 Open Diapason 1 8
3 Open Diapason 2 8
4 Open Diapason 3 8
5 Stopped Diapason 8
6 Principal 4
7 Wald Flute 4
8 Twelfth 2 2/3
9 Fifteenth 2
10 Tierce 1 3/5
11 Mixture III 15.19.22
12 Furniture III 22.26.29
13 Cornet V
14 Trumpet 8
15 Clarion 4


16 Open Diapason 8
17 Stopped Diapason 8
18 Dulciana 8
19 Principal 4
20 Rohr Flute 4
21 Piccolo 2
22 Corno di Bassetto 8

SOLO (Enclosed)
23 Harmonic Flute 8
24 Harmonic Flute 4
25 Harmonic Piccolo 2
26 Viol da Gamba 8
27 Voix Celeste 8
28 Orchestral Oboe 8
29 Tuba (Unenc & Horizontal) 8

30 Bourdon 16
31 Open Diapason 8
32 Stopped Diapason 8
33 Gemshorn 8
34 Keraulophon 8
35 Voix Celeste 8
36 Principal 4
37 Saube Flute 4
38 Fifteenth 2
39 Mixture IV
40 Contra Fagotto 16
41 Cornopean 8
42 Oboe 8
43 Vox Humana 8
44 Clarion 4

45 Sub-Bass 32
46 Open Diapason 16
47 Violone 16
48 Bourdon 16
49 Principal 8
50 Bass Flute 8
51 Fifteenth 4
52 Mixture II 19.22
53 Trombone 16


Solo to Pedal Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal Great to Pedal
Swell to Great Choir to Great
Solo to Great Swell to Choir
Solo to Choir Swell octave
Solo octave
Great & Pedal pistons coupled

Thumb pistons (reversible):
Great to Pedal   Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal   Great to Pedal
Solo to Pedal    Choir to Pedal
Solo to Great    Choir to Great
Sequencer + and -

Foot pistons (reversible):
Great to Pedal   Swell to Great
Sequencer + and -

8 pistons to Swell (duplicated by foot pistons)
8 pistons to Great
6 pistons to Choir
6 pistons to Solo
6 toe pistons to Pedal (duplicated by foot pistons)
8 general pistons

Tremulant to Swell
Balanced pedals to Swell and Solo (mechanical)
Solid state multi-level capture system and sequencer
Manuals: CCC to G 56 notes
Pedals: CCC to F 30 notes

Wind Pressures:
Great, Choir, Swell: 3 1/4 inches
Solo: 4 1/2 inches; Pedal: 3 1/2 inches
Tuba 6 1/2 inches

If you wish to play the organ please downlad the enquiry form and forward to the Parish Office.