I recently came across information about the instrumental band that operated in the Abbey until displaced by an organ in 1820.
In the Musical Times of 1 October 1909 p.636, there is an article about the abbey`s music, which records a payment of £4 4s to John Higdon in 1814 for "a half year`s salary for playing the clarionet at the church on Sundays". The Churchwardens` Accounts give many similar payments, and the article speculates as to whether John remunerated his colleagues - "of the fiddle, bass-viol, and the loud bassoon".
Another interesting payment was in 1828: "given to the singers to pay attention to the organist".
My interest in St Albans was triggered by Tony Singleton`s recent postings on Rustic Psalmody, which report writings about problems in Ingleton church, Yorkshire. I believe these writings were brought about by an intention to install an organ in this church, so I checked on when other nearby churches installed organs. I found an interesting situation at Long Preston, a few miles south: that church seems to have two joined organs and locals believe that they received an organ from St Albans Abbey in 1861.
The 1909 MT article contains useful information (negative!) related to this, including a line drawing of the 1821 organ, which was indeed replaced in 1861.
I think I've seen a reference to the "loud bassoon" possibly in Canon Galpin's book. I'd be interested in any repertoire with known clarinet parts to see from the range of tonalities whether a B flat ... more