CHRIST CHURCH WITH ST PHILIP, EASTBOURNE.
A parish by the sea
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Choir, Organ & Bells

Choir stalls   (c) Sean Steward, 2011 

Christ Church Choir

The choir is the core of our hymn singing and is dedicated to supporting the worship, often contributing at weddings. An anthem is sung most Sundays following Holy Communion, and the choir is at the heart of annual events within the church calendar, such as the Easter services, the Advent Carol Service and the Service of Nine Lessons & Carols at Christmas, and occasionally sing Choral Evensong.

Our Director of Music and Choir Master, Anthony Osborne, is a member of The Glyndebourne Chorus

If you would like to consider joining the choir, singers in all parts will always be made welcome. 

The Willis Organ

 
 Father Willis Organ   (c) Sean Steward, 2011
The organ is situated in the nave on the south side of the chancel arch. It was built in 1880 by Henry “Father” Willis, at a cost of £1000, and is believed to be the oldest Father Willis instrument on the south coast. It is practically unaltered since his time: electric blowing was added in 1916 and a balanced swell pedal in 1948. In the 1975 restoration by Noel Mander, steel pins in the mechanism, which can rust and jam, were replaced with bronze, and the case was partially gilded by John Wood & Son; the face pipes still bear their original decoration. In 2008, Nicholsons of Worcester replaced the original electric blower, removed and repaired the main wind reservoir where the leather had cracked, and replaced the flexible tubing installed by Mander with hand-crafted soldered solid pipework. The pedalboard was repaired together with parts of the case, the balanced swell re-engineered and adjustments made to the action. Again, no tonal or specification alterations were made and the instrument sounds exactly as Willis left it.

 
Music is very important to the worship and life of this church, and we are fortunate to have what is generally considered to be one of the best church organs on the south coast of England. The grandeur of the organ serves to enhance the regular services as well as weddings, funerals and musical events.
 
We also have a well maintained grand piano, for use in concerts and recitals.
 
 
Church Bells & Bell Ringers
 
The eight bells were all cast by John Warner & Sons of Cripplegate, London. The present 6 and 7 were cast in 1879; 2, 3 and 4 in 1883; and the treble, 5 and tenor in 1888. We only know the weight of the tenor, or largest bell, which is 444.518 kg (approx 8.75 cwt).
 
Although the 24 metre high tower was constructed in 1870, it was just an empty shell until 1879 when three bells were installed - with three more being added in 1883 to make a ring of six. When a new treble and tenor were added in 1888, it was necessary to recast one of the 1879 bells (the present 5th) in order to make a proper octave. 
 
The first peal on the bells was on 15th January 1888, as recorded on the board in the tower, and was the only peal rung while they were a ring on six. The first peal on the eight bells was Oxford Bob Triples on 12th November 1888. There have been over 140 peals rung on the bells altogether, not including a false one of Plain Bob Major on 7th February 1889.
 
The earliest record of Christ Church Ringers is dated 3rd February 1936 when there was a meeting of the newly-formed Christ Church Guild of Change Ringers, who continued until 4th March 1940, disbanding because of the Second World War. The Guild reformed on 15th June 1952.
 
There is a weekly practice on Tuesdays at 6.45pm, with extra practices if and when needed. The bells are rung every Sunday morning at 10am for the 10.30am service. The Bellringers organise various social activities, often have fish & chip suppers together on the beach or in the hall after ringing, and join in events organised by the County Association. Email bells@ccwithsp.org  for more details or visit the local Bellringers' site at www.eastbourneringers.org.uk/
 
The Bells at Christ Church
1
 
A flat
 
1888
John Warner & Sons
2
 
G
 
1883
John Warner & Sons
3
 
F
 
1883
John Warner & Sons
4
 
E flat
 
1883
John Warner & Sons
5
 
D flat
 
1888
John Warner & Sons
6
 
C
 
1879
John Warner & Sons
7
 
B flat
 
1879
John Warner & Sons
8
     
A flat
     
1888
John Warner & Sons

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