the 'Chayre Organ,' were handsomely embossed, gilded, and coloured.
1633–4. York Cathedral. Robert Dallam.
On March 20, 1632, Robert Dallam, 'citizen and blacksmith of London,' entered into an agreement with 'the right worshippfull John Scott, deane of the cathedrall and metropoliticall church of St. Peter of Yorke, touchinge the makinge of a great organ for the said church.' Most of the particulars respecting this instrument have fortunately been preserved, from which we learn that 'the names and number of the stoppes or setts of pipes for the said great organ, to be new made; every stopp containeinge fiftie-one pipes; the said great organ containeing eight stoppes,' were as follows:—
Great Organ. 9 stops.
1 and 2. Imprimis two open diapasons of tynn, to stand in sight, many of them to be chased.
3. Item one diapason stopp of wood.
4 and 5. Item two principals of tynn.
6. Item one twelft to the diapason.
7. Item one small principall of tynn. (15.)
8. Item one recorder, unison to the said principall. (15.)
9. Item one two and twentieth.
'The names and number of stoppes of pipes for the chaire organ, every stopp containeinge fiftie-one pipes, the said chaire organ containeinge five stoppes,' were as follows:—
Chaire Organ. 5 stops.
10. Imprimis one diapason of wood.
11. Item one recorder of tynn, unison to the voice.
12. Item one principal of tynn, to stand in sight, many of them to he chased.
13. Item one flute of wood.
14. Item one small principall of tynn. (15.)
It will be noticed that this organ contained neither reeds nor mixtures, and but one mutation-stop, namely the 'twelfth.'
No mention is made as to what was the compass of the old York Minster organ. All that is stated is that each 'stoppe' had a series of 'fiftie-one pipes'—an unusual number, for which it would be interesting to account. The old case of the organ remained until the incendiary fire of 1829, and contained the two original diapasons; and as the largest pipes of these stops sounded the GG of the lowered pitch of the 18th century, it is quite possible that the compass was originally FFF, short octave (that note sounding on the AA key), up to C in alt, which range would have required exactly the number of notes specified in the agreement. Robert Dallam built organs similar to that at York for St. Paul's and Durham Cathedrals, the latter costing £1000. If they were of FFF compass, that circumstance would perhaps account for the schemes for Smith's new organs for both those churches having been prepared for that exceptional range.
In August and September 1634 three musical enthusiasts, 'a Captaine, a Lieutenant, and an Ancient (Ensign), of the Military Company in Norwich,' went on 'a Seaven Weekes' Journey' through a great part of England, in the course of which they occasionally took particular notice of the organs, in describing which they made use of many pleasant adjectives. At York they 'saw and heard a faire, large, high organ, newly built' the one just noticed; at Durham they 'were wrapt with the sweet sound and richness of a fayre organ'; at Lichfield 'the organs were deep and sweet'; at Hereford was 'heard a most sweet organ'; at Bristol they found a 'neat, rich, melodious organ'; while at Exeter the organ was 'rich, delicate, and lofty, with more additions than any other; and large pipes of an extraordinary length.' Some of these instruments were destined in a few years to fall a prey to axes and hammers. The organ at Carlisle however was described as being 'like a shrill bagpipe.' Its destruction as an ecclesiastical instrument was perhaps therefore a matter not to be so very much deplored.
1637. Magdalen College, Oxford.
Three years afterwards (in 1637) a maker of the name of Harris—the first of four generations of organ-builders of that name, but whose Christian name has not been traced—built a 'double organ' (Great Organ, with Choir Organ in front) for Magdalen College, Oxford. Its Manuals ranged from Do, Sol, Re (double C) without the CC♯ up to D in alt, 50 notes; and, the Great Organ had eight stops, while the Choir had five. The following was its specification:—
|Great Organ. 8 stops.|
|1 & 2, Two open Diapasons||8|
|3 & 4, Two Principals||4|
|5 & 6, Two Fifteenths||2|
|7 & 8, Two Two-and-twentieths||1|
|Choir Organ. 5 stops.|
|9. One Stopped Diapason||8|
|10 & 11. Two Principals||4|
|12. One Recorder||4|
|13. One Fifteenth||2|
This was the organ which Cromwell had taken down and conveyed to Hampton Court, where it was placed in the great gallery. It was restored to the college in 1660, and remained there until 1737, when it was removed to Tewkesbury Abbey. The Diapasons and Principal of the Great Organ, and the Principal in the Choir still remain, and are made of tin alloyed with about eight pounds of lead to the hundredweight.
This organ was tuned to a high pitch, as is shown by one of the items in Renatus Harris's agreement for improving it (1690), which specifies that he 'shall and will alter the pitch of the said organs half a note lower than they are now.'
This is the last organ of which we have any authentic particulars as being made previously to the outburst that checked the art of organbuilding in this country for several years.
On August 23, 1643, an ordinance was passed by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament for abolishing superstitious monuments. On May 9, 1644, a second ordinance was passed 'for the further demolishing of monuments of Idolatry and Superstition,' in which the destruction of organs was enjoined. This ordinance has not yet been included in any history of the organ. Its wording ran as follows:
The Lords and Commons in Parlt the better to accomplish the blessed Reformation so happily begun and to remove all offences and things illegal in the