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King's College chapel organ | by Lawrence OP
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King's College chapel organ

In 1605-6 Thomas Dallam built an organ in the Chapel. The accounts for his work have survived, showing in detail the materials and hospitality provided by the College while the work was done.


Successive rebuildings were undertaken by Lancelot Pease (1661), Thomas Thamar (1673-7), Renatus Harris (1686-8), John Avery (1803-5), and the firm of William Hill (1834,1859,1889 and 1911).

In 1934 the organ was enlarged and rebuilt in its present form by Harrison and Harrison, with some of the Hill pipework retained and revoiced. The specification, drawn up in consultation with Bernhard Ord (Organist 1929-57), included separate mutations on the Choir Organ, unusual in England at that time. Minor changes were made in 1950, when the Pedal Fifteenth and Mixture were added.

In 1968 the organ was overhauled and several new stops were provided (11, 12, 22, 48 and 50), four old ranks being displaced. Further restoration work was carried out in 1992, when the console was renovated and the electrical system modernised.


There is some uncertainty about the history of the case, which is one of the oldest in England. The main case is probably a survival from the organ of 1605-6, while the Choir case may date from 1661. The front pipes were originally coloured and patterned; the plain gilding dates from the eighteenth century. In 1859 the main case was doubled in depth to accommodate the enlarged organ, the console being moved to its present position on the north side.


Today, the Great and Swell Organs and the Tuba occupy the main case, facing east; the Choir Organ is at the lower level behind the Choir case; the Solo Organ and most of the Pedal stops are placed within the screen on the south side.

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Taken on March 29, 2008