St Lawrence Trinity Festival marks £410,000 organ restoration with recitals

Undergoing restoration: The organ at St Lawrence Parish Church after its move from St Michael-le-Belfrey

YORK Minster is not the only church building in York with a headline-making organ restoration project.

By comparison with the £2 million price tag to dismantle, clean and repair the 5,400 pipes of the cathedral’s grand organ, a sum of £410,000 has perked up the 1885 Denman organ at St Lawrence Parish Church, in Lawrence Street.

In an alternative kind of organ donation, It had been transferred from St Michael-le-Belfrey for restoration and installation by Malvern organ-building firm Nicholson & Co at St Lawrence.

St Lawrence Parish Church in Lawrence Street: York’s second largest ecclesiastical building

To mark the project’s completion, the Anglican 19th century church will hold the St Lawrence Trinity Festival of music and services from May 29 to June 5 in light of the Step 3 relaxation of the Coronavirus restrictions.

The festival programme will include a demonstration of the organ by Nicholson & Co ahead of the inaugural recital by Robert Sharpe, York Minster organist and director of music, on May 29 at 10.30am.

In a Festal Choral Evensong on May 30, the restored organ will be blessed by the Bishop of Whitby, the Right Reverend Paul Ferguson, at 6.30pm. 

“The church finally has an organ worthy of its size,” says Jonty Ward, director of music at St Lawrence Parish Church, where he will play a recital on June 3

Looking forward to the restorative festival, Jonty Ward, director of music at St Lawrence, says: “We are very pleased to have such a brilliant range of musicians from York coming to take part in the Trinity Festival 2021, and that there is such a magnificent instrument at the very centre of it.

“St Lawrence is the second-largest ecclesiastical building in York after only the Minster, providing plenty of space for people to attend the festival and safely enjoy the fantastic music as the church finally has an organ worthy of its size.”

Throughout the festival week, further organ recitals will be performed by musicians associated with St Lawrence and the City of York: William Campbell, May 31, 4pm; David Norton, June 1, 4pm; Jonty Ward, June 3, 4pm, and Timothy Hone, music and liturgy administrator at York Minster, June 4, 4pm.

The 1885 Denman organ, restored by Nicholson & Co

The Black Sheep Consort will give a 7pm recital on May 31; the feast of Corpus Christi will be marked with a Sung Mass on June 3 at 7.30pm, and the festival will culminate with Choral Matins on June 5 at 11.30am.

Attendance is free to all the events, but booking is required for the Inaugural Recital (May 29) and the Festal Choral Evensong (May 30) at

St Lawrence Parish Church is on Lawrence Street, just east of Walmgate Bar, York. Postcode: YO10 3WP.

The retro-designed poster for the St Lawrence Trinity Festival 2021