The Milton Organ, Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, English West Midlands

Philip Mitchell

WINCHESTER, United Kingdom

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 19

Artist's Description

Tewkesbury Abbey is one of English Heritage’s Grade 1 listed buildings, and the second largest parish church in England. The following about the so-called Milton Organ appears on the Abbey’s website – "The history of this instrument is a long and fascinating one. In 1631, Robert Dallam built a new organ for Magdalen College, Oxford, where it was erected in an ‘organ house’ opening on to the south side of the chapel. In 1654 it was moved to Hampton Court Palace, where the poet John Milton is reputed to have played it. The instrument was returned to Magdalen in 1660 and re-erected the following year. The organ was substantially remodelled by Renatus Harris in 1690.

In 1736 the organ was sold to Tewkesbury Abbey and later placed on a special stone screen constructed on the site of the medieval pulpitum. A Swell Organ was added by John Holland in 1796. Major rebuilds followed – by ‘Father’ Willis in 1848 and J.W. Walker in 1948 (when the Echo and Solo departments were added and a detached five-manual console was installed).

In 1997 the Milton Organ was rebuilt and reconstructed by Kenneth Jones and Associates of Bray as a four-manual instrument with 68 speaking stops and 4611 pipes. The lower three keyboards have mechanical action, whilst the Solo and Apse divisions have electro-pneumatic action.

The inaugural recital was given in May 1997 by Nicolas Kynaston, who also acted as organ consultant."

This magnificent instrument continues to enhance the daily worship offered up in this historic place.

Artwork Comments

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