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Martin Renshaw is a singer, trained as a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral 1955-59, then tenor lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral 1970-77. He has a degree in the English, Latin and Anglo-Saxon languages and English literature, as well as having spent all his life restoring and making historically-based organs, and writing about and playing them.

You can download Martin's CV here (pdf).

This website documents the research of Martin and others who share his interest in the sound-world of the later medieval period.

Martin Renshaw

The following extract is from Martin Renshaw's lecture 'Investigating the archaeology of the late medieval organ' that he gave at the British Institute of Organ Studies Research Conference, Barber Institute in Birmingham on 25th February 2012 (the lecture can be downloaded from our Library):-

"I wonder how many of you have been in a church when an organ builder has come along to see about installing an organ?

I imagine that my medieval predecessors would have done just what I do when I visit a church. I look around carefully, taking in the ambience. I look for a suitable site from which the sound of the organ can get around the church easily. The site needs to be large enough to take the size of instrument that seems suitable for the size of the church and its likely congregations or audience. I then walk around, clapping my hands and singing to try out the acoustic.

This singing bit sometimes surprises my potential clients, but why not? Medieval churches were built primarily for singing in, and not for speaking. Spoiling the acoustic with loads of carpets or pews or other obstructions was a 19th-century habit, not usually a 15th or 16th-century one. Those were glory days, when sermons were uncommon."

South parclose screen loft at Dennington Church
from Stoke-by-Clare Case Study (in our

Walsham le Willows church, Suffolk - view
of the chancel through the rood screen

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