Facilities and features
The church of St Michael and All Angels is a grade 2* listed building.
Music and Worship
A history of Madingley Church, near Cambridge, mentions a photograph c.1875 showing the old organ in the north aisle. The photograph is still displayed in the church. By the end of the century, however, the organ had been moved to the west end of the church. Colonel Harding, who bought nearby Madingley Hall in 1905, wrote in the Church logbook “the singers gathered in the western pews near the old organ, which was quite worn out and gave out sounds extremely distressful. Mr Bishop, the London organ builder, told me that it probably dated from 1720 and though perhaps of some slight interest as a piece of furniture, that its musical value could not be rated at above £5 and that it was not worth repairing.”
Col. Harding gave a new organ for Madingley Church, built by Bishops, in 1908 and “the people of Hardwicke [sic] begged for the old one and it was given to them.” Harding was “never tempted to go there to listen to its sighs in that new home.”
So in 1908 the old chamber organ, probably first used in the music room at Madingley Hall, left Madingley for nearby Hardwick Church. After a sojourn there it moved to the Chapel at Childerley Hall. In 1966 the owners of Childerley Hall, Mr & Mrs John Jenkins, gave it to Caldecote Church where it was restored by the firm of E. J. Johnson thanks to an appeal by the Rector, the Revd Robert Smith.
Two of the four stopsThe 18th century origins of the organ, are, however, lost in time and remain obscure. The case is similar to the smaller, earlier style of Samuel Green (1740-1796) and therefore the earlier date suggested by Mr Bishop of 1720 seems doubtful. Case-makers were often subcontracted at that date and this adds to the difficulties. There is a tradition that the organ may have originated in Germany. The wooden pipes are constructed in blocks, not individually, whilst the metal pipes are mostly replacements. The keys have also been replaced but it is possible that the stop-knobs are original. Their setting, however, facing inwards, is unusual but not unknown.
The organ remains, however, an interesting survival in concept from the 18th century, and thanks to its restoration still serves a musical purpose in Caldecote Church, its fifth home!
Compiled by José Hopkins, February 2014
We have a BCP Matins service at 11am on the second Sunday of the month.
Groups, Courses and Activities
Help for Visitors
We aim to have the church open during daylight hours. If you find it closed, the neighbouring Old Rectory hold a key and will be pleased to open it for you. If you are travelling any distance do feel free to contact us in advance so that we can ensure the church is open for you.