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Barrel organ known as the Santon Seraphim

Date made: early 18th century

Maker: Wrenshall, Organ Builders

Description: This barrel organ is believed to have been installed in Santon church by the Reverand Paul Crebbin, in the 1730s. It has three cylinders, each containing a dozen tunes. Most of the tunes are those used to 'Hymns, Ancient and Modern', but there are also tunes which were sung to the first Manx Hymn Book published in 1795. The organ originally had several secular tunes as well, but these were removed by a later vicar.

In medieval Christianity the Seraphim were believed to be the highest order of angels, who formed the holy choir around the throne of God. Wrenshall was one of the pioneers of church organs, and this object may well be the oldest surviving musical instrument from a Manx church. Such organs became popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Prior to this, a parishioner with the strongest voice would 'raise the Hymn' by starting the singing, which the rest would join.

Measurements: overall: 186 x 109 x 59 cm

Materials: copper, iron, leather, paper, silk, wood

Object name: barrel organ

Collection: Furniture Collection

ID Number: 1954-1348

Subject tags : music, church


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