The Battle of the Organs

In February 1683, the treasurers of the two Societies of the Temple commissioned an organ from each of the two leading organ builders of the time, Bernhard Smith (1630-1708) and Renatus Harris (1652-1708). The organs were to be installed in the halls of the Middle and Inner Temple, to enable them to be played and judged. Smith was annoyed to discover that Harris was also invited to compete for the contract; he was under the impression that the job had already been offered to him. Smith petitioned the treasurers and won permission to erect his instrument in the church instead of in one of the halls. It was set on a screen which divided the round from the quire. This advantage was short-lived as Harris sought and obtained approval to place his organ at the opposite end of the church, to the south side of the communion table. It is thought that both organs were completed by May 1684.

Harris and Smith engaged the finest organists to show off their respective instruments and were put to great expense as the competition intensified and each instrument became more elaborate.

the-battle-of-the-organs.jpg

What’s On In Summary

SatFeb04
SunFeb05
Holy Communion Service 8:30 am9:00 am

Choral Mattins Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
MonFeb06
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
TueFeb07
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
WedFeb08
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm


Choral Evensong Service 6:00 pm7:00 pm
ThuFeb09
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

Holy Communion Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
FriFeb10
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
SatFeb11
SunFeb12
Holy Communion Service 8:30 am9:00 am

Choral Communion Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
MonFeb13
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
TueFeb14
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
WedFeb15
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

Choral Evensong for Valentine's Day Service 6:00 pm7:00 pm
ThuFeb16
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

Holy Communion Service 1:15 pm1:45 pm
FriFeb17
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
SatFeb18
SunFeb19
Holy Communion Service 8:30 am9:00 am

Choral Mattins Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
MonFeb20
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
TueFeb21
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
WedFeb22
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

Choral Evensong for Ash Wednesday Service 6:00 pm7:00 pm
ThuFeb23
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

Holy Communion Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
FriFeb24
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
SatFeb25
SunFeb26
Holy Communion Service 8:30 am9:00 am

Choral Communion Service 11:15 am12:15 pm
MonFeb27
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
TueFeb28
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm

WedMar01
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
ThuMar02
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
FriMar03
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm
SatMar04
SunMar05
Holy Communion Service 8:30 am9:00 am
MonMar06
Church Open for sightseeing 10:00 am4:00 pm