Church of England Diocese of London St. Giles, Cripplegate with St. Bartholomew, Moor Lane, St. Alphage, London Wall and St. Luke, Old S

Music in St Giles

Music in St Giles

With a professional quartet of singers at services, regular concerts in the Church, three outstanding pipe organs, a Steinway B grand piano and its use for recording sessions and broadcasts, music is a major part of the life of the Church. Since 1992 this church has been the headquarters of a major movement to recruit and train organists; lessons and classes in organ playing for all ages continue here throughout the year.

The Director of Music

Anne Marsden Thomas (Director of Music)

Anne has been Director of Music at St Giles' since 1980. She founded St. Giles International Organ School in 1992 and directed it until January 2012 when it became part of the education programme of RCO Academy. For many years she also directed the annual RCO Academy Summer Course for Organists in the City of London which regularly attracted 60-75 students from around the world. She is widely known for her work as organ teacher, concert organist and church musician. Her concert and teaching work has taken her to the USA, Japan, Europe and all over the UK, and she has made several commercial recordings. She has written and edited many books for organists, published by Oxford University Press, Cramer Music and the Royal School of Church Music. She has wide experience of examining grade examinations and diplomas. As well as teaching students of all standards, Anne enjoys training organ teachers.

Elizabeth Day (Organist)

Elizabeth was educated in Scotland and attended Dundee University where she read mathematics as well holding the post of Assistant Organist of Dundee Cathedral. After graduating she trained as a primary school teacher and has taught in schools in Dundee, Edinburgh and Switzerland.

Whilst working in Edinburgh, she started taking organ lessons with Anne Marsden Thomas. She has given many solo recitals including at Oxford Town Hall, St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, and Lichfield Cathedral as well as at several churches in London.

She lives in South London with her husband and daughter.

Jack Gonzalez-Harding (Organ Scholar)

Jack is an organist, harpsichordist and conductor studying at the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Department. At the Junior Academy he studies the organ with Anne Marsden Thomas and Frederick Stocken as well as the piano with Marisa Cornford. Jack has achieved a high distinction at grade 8 in both instruments.

At Purcell, he studies the harpsichord with David Gordon, enabling him to focus on his love of early music and historical performance practice. Jack’s conducting tutors have included Howard Williams, Rebecca Miller and Thomas Blunt, and he has conducted Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and orchestral works such as Vaughan Williams’, The Lark Ascending. Jack is looking forward very much to his future experiences of working and learning with other musicians at St Giles’.

The Choir

The professional vocal quartet sings two anthems and leads the congregational singing at the Sunday morning service. The choir is also available for special services (weddings, funerals, memorials, livery and carol services).

Penny Sharpe (soprano)

Penny Sharpe was born in Tasmania where she trained at the Conservatorium. After singing in the Lyric Opera Company, Brisbane, she joined the Song Company (an a capella ensemble specialising in early and contemporary music) in Sydney. With the Song Company she was involved in festivals, concerts, recordings, children's concerts and live broadcasts on national radio, plus tours of South Korea and New Zealand and throughout Australia. Currently she earns a regular salary working in market research, primarily in wine and spirits, while taking professional singing engagements on a part-time basis. Her clear, warm voice is supported by a flawless technique and perfect intonation

Amanda Dean (alto)

Amanda began singing in choirs as a child, conducted by Ronald Corp and Ralph Allwood. She read Music at Cambridge University where she was a choral scholar at Trinity College.

Since then she has sung mostly contemporary classical music. Stage projects include roles in Stockhausen’s Mittwoch as part of 2012’s Cultural Olympiad (with helicopters and a camel) and Birtwistle’s The Minotaur for the Royal Opera House (drenched in stage blood). Amanda continues to enjoy ensemble and choral singing. She has sung on many film soundtracks with London Voices, including several of the Star Wars and Harry Potter films.

Amanda also has a qualification in tax, and about half her working time is spent writing about tax, and preparing tax returns for clients working in the arts. She is happy with either a music score or the latest tax legislation. She also composes when she has time (so not very much) and runs a girls’ choir at a local school.

Amanda is an impeccable sight-reader and instantly adapts her vocal quality to whatever repertoire she is singing, whether it is Palestrina, McDowall, or anything in between.

Robin Whitehouse (tenor)

Robin Whitehouse studied voice and horn for a year at the Royal College of Music before reading maths at Oxford University. Whilst at Oxford he sang and played with all the major university choirs and orchestras, and continued to sing with the choir of St Mary the Virgin (the University church) until taking up his post at St Giles.

Operatic roles have included Alfredo (La Traviata), Abinadab (world premiere of Sam Hogarth’s David and Goliath with New Chamber Opera and most recently Prince Ramiro (La Cenerentola).

Solo engagements have included Evangelist in Bach’s Passions, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Britten’s Serenade, Nocturne and St Nicolas, as well as Strauss’s 2nd Horn Concerto and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.1. He was recently invited to take part in a public masterclass on Mahler songs with the Oxford University Orchestra, taken by Ian Bostridge. He currently studies with Ann de Renais. Robin has an extraordinary dynamic range throughout his wide vocal compass.

Thomas Kennedy (bass)

Previously a choral scholar at New College, Oxford, Thomas taught maths before returning to postgraduate study at the GSMD, where he won the English Song Prize. Since graduating with distinction in 2009,

Highlights of his concert work include The Messiah with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Iain Burnside's song project The lads in their hundreds at Kings Place and on BBC Radio 3, in which his contribution was singled out by Opera Now as 'a tour de force', and Ives' General William Booth enters the Kingdom of Heaven with Sir Andrew Davis and the BBCSO at the Barbican Hall. Tom is a consummate musician; his ability to lead or blend as required makes him a valued member of the quartet

The Organs

There are three organs at St Giles'. The grand organ and the chancel organ are in the body of the church; the practice organ is in the vestry.

The Grand Organ

The Grand Organ, mounted on a gallery, has three manuals, a radiating/concave pedalboard, mechanical action, 39 speaking stops, balanced Swell pedal and a full range of modern accessories including a sequencer. This organ is ideal for solo work, and for accompanying musicians in the west gallery. Organ history: Jordan & Bridge 1733, Willis 1872, Jones 1902, Mander 1970. It was cleaned and restored in Autumn 2008.


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Double Open Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Stopt. Diapason 8

Principal 4

Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Larigot 1 1/3

Mixture lll

Fourniture lV-Vl

Mounted Cornet V

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

Great Reeds on Choir

Swell to Great

SWELL (enclosed)

Open Diapason

Stopt. Diapason 8'

Viola 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture lll

Contra hautboy 16

Cornopean 8

Clariaon 4



Open Diapason 16

Bourdon 16

Octave 8

Flute 8

Gemshorn 4

Mixture lll

Trombone 16

Trumpet 8

Swell to Pedal

Choir to Pedal

CHOIR (unenclosed)

Stopt. Diapason 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Nason Flute 4

Nazard 2 2/3

Spitz Flute 2

Tierce 1 3/5

Mounted Cornet V (from Great)

Cymbel lll

Cremona 8


Swell to Choir


Key compass C to a3 (58 notes)

Pedal compass C to f1 (30 notes) Radiating Concave


8 general pistons, arranged above the Swell manual, with 16 memories

5 department pistons to Swell, Great, Choir.

5 combination pedals to Pedal department (right of centre)

5 combination pedals to Swell department (left of centre)

All couplers available as reversible pistons

Swell to Great, Great to Pedal also available as reversible coupler pedals

Rocker switch for Great and Pedal Combinations Coupler,

Rocker switch for Generals on Swell Combination Pedals

Independent sequencer, with three 'Next' pistons, one 'Next' pedal, and one 'Back' piston General cancel piston

Fully adjustable bench

Independent lights for manuals and pedals.

Mechanical action to manuals and pedals, with electrical stop action and electrical assistance on Swell to Great.

The Chancel Organ

The chancel organ was installed 2008, has two manuals, a straight/concave pedalboard, mechanical action, 15 speaking stops, a balanced Swell pedal and a full range of modern accessories including generals and a stepper. This organ is ideal for accompanying musicians on the large chancel, to which it is adjacent. There are unique carvings on the woodwork



Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture IV 11/3

Trumpet 8

Swell to Great


Gedackt 8

Principal 4

Chimney flute 4

Recorder 2

Sesquialtera II 22/3

Oboe 8



Bourdon 16

Principal 8

Trumpet 8

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal


Key compass C to a3 (58 notes)

Pedal compass C to f1 (30 notes) Straight Concave


6 divisional pistons/toe pedals and 8 general pistons served by 66 memories


Gt and Ped combinations coupler

Generals on Swell toe pistons

Adjustable toe pedal to give Swell to Pedal/Stepper Advance/Stepper Reverse

Fully adjustable bench


Adjustable music stand

Talking stops device

Rings on the stop shanks to aid identification of tonal families

Mechanical action to all departments

The Practice Organ

Organ by Kenneth Tickell 2008 situated in the church office. For the exclusive use of students of Royal College of Organists Acredited Teachers. Please email [email protected] for details of how to book and pay for practice on this organ.



Stopt. Diapason 8

Principal 4


Chimeny Flute 8

Spitz Flute 4


Open Flute 8



Manual 1 to Pedals.

Direct suspended action to the upper manual.

Balanced action to the lower manual.


Key compass C to a3 (58 notes)

Pedal compass C to f1 (30 notes) Straight Concave


A single ridge on the stop shank to identify the Principal stop by touch.

An adjustable bench with an exceptionally wide range of positions.

The Steinway B Grand Piano

We have a beautiful and well-maintained Steinway B Grand Piano. If you would like to use this piano please contact the parish administrator, Jake Kirnir.

The Bells

There is a ring of twelve bells hung for change ringing with a tenor weighing 34cwt and tuned to C-sharp. They are augmented by a sharp-second which provides a light ring of eight, tenor 11cwt in G-sharp. Full details of these bells, and their predecessors, are published at Ringing is arranged by the Ancient Society of College Youths and details are on their website Visiting ringers are very welcome. To arrange a visit please contact the Tower Secretary Gwen Rogers.

New Gudgeons for St Giles’ Bells November 2017

The old bells of St. Giles’ were destroyed in a WW2 incendiary raid on the 29th. December 1940. The cracked remnants lay at the bottom of the tower until 1949 when the war was over, and they could be moved Whitechapel Foundry workers with the surviving bells and metal in 1949.

In 1954 a completely new ring of twelve bells was installed in the tower.

After more than sixty years moving parts are wearing out and must be replaced before they break. Three bells were leaking grease from their bearings which is a sign of a severely worn or even a cracked gudgeon. “What are gudgeons?” PCC members asked when the bell ringers requested permission and financial support for replacement. An explanation that “they are metal pins from which a bell hangs and which rotate in bearings mounted on a frame attached to the tower walls” did not convey much information. The following labelled picture of a bell would have helped.

If a gudgeon breaks the bell will fall, smashing into its wheel or frame. Where it lands is unpredictable and how much damage it does on the way equally so. Look again at the bells in the post-war photograph above!

Convinced that the work was necessary the PCC agreed to pay half of the bill and the rest was funded by a grant from the Ancient Society of College Youths (ASCY) (

Work commenced in November 2017 when the three bells were lowered to the belfry floor, their wheels were removed and the headstocks with gudgeons and bearings attached were winched to the church floor for transit to Whites of Appleton ( Six weeks later the process was reversed. Bright blue headstocks with brand new gudgeons and bearings were winched back up the tower and the three bells rehung.

The work was done by a team of volunteers, all ringers, including members of the Middlesex Association Spanner Club ( and St. Giles’ own steeple keeper, Terry Streeter. They were led by James Haseldine one of the Whites’ Bell Hangers.

Headstock (blue) being lowered into place above the 8th. bell after being winched on chains from the church floor.

With thanks to all involved especially the PCC and ASCY for funding and the volunteer bell hangers for several days’ hard labour.

Gwen Rogers

Tower Secretary Terry and the freshly rehung 9th. bell

St. Giles’ Cripplegate