Ely Cathedral - Home
A View of Ely Cathedral
A View of Ely Cathedral

The Organ


The Organ At Ely Cathedral

An organ was first built at Ely Cathedral in 1685, reputedly by Renatus Harris. In 1831 Elliot and Hill built a new organ within the old cases, which stood on the choir screen. This organ was rebuilt in the North choir triforium by Hill and Son in 1850, when the old cases and choir screen were removed, and the present case, deigned by Sir Gilbert Scott, was installed.

The Console
The Organ Console at Ely Cathedral

In 1908, Harrison and Harrison built a virtually new organ, incorporating some of the old pipe work. Most of the organ was placed in the North choir triforium, with the console below, on the stone gallery behind the top of the choir stalls.

The restoration of 1974-75 included some tonal changes, a new Positive division in the lower part of the Scott case, development of the Pedal Organ and modernization of the action and console. The new scheme was drawn up by the Cathedral Organist, Dr Arthur Wills, in consultation with Mr Cecil Clutton and the organ builders.

The Restoration of the Organ 1999-2001

The Organ
The Organ at Ely Cathedral

Restoration work on the fabric of the building of the last three bays of the North Choir Aisle meant that the massive Cathedral organ needed to be removed. The Dean and Chapter took this opportunity to ask Harrison and Harrison to carry out an extensive programme of restoration. The proposals for this rebuild increased the versatility of the instrument, and enhanced its musical integrity. The restoration work to the organ cost in the region of £400,000 and was funded by the Order of St Etheldreda.

A Copeman Hart electronic organ was installed in the Cathedral for use while the pipe organ was being restored.

´The Ely Organ - A Centenary Celebration´ CD

The Ely Organ - A Centenary Celebration
´The Ely Organ´

A double CD entitled ´The Ely Organ - A Centenary Celebration´ (Lantern Productions LPCD25) was released in April 2008. CD1, a recording made in 1999 (Pre-Restoration) features Paul Trepte and Sean Farrell. CD2 recorded in 2002 (Post-Restoration) features Scott Farrell.

"A cathedral organ is probably the most expensive piece of hardware in any cathedral. Simply to maintain it in good condition is challenge enough for any Dean and Chapter in this day and age".

"To have the opportunity to restore it any shape or form is a tremendous responsibility, and inevitably any rebuild will reflect the tastes of the time. The "old" organ in Ely cathedral, masterminded by my predecessor, Arthur Wills, did its job magnificently for a good many years, but the changes (which mainly affected the reeds especially on the great and solo departments) proved necessary not just for aesthetic reasons, but also because any attempt to retain them was deemed in any case to be impractical. It was therefore felt important to record the instrument one last time before the rebuild, and those recordings comprise disc 1. There will be those who favour those sounds in preference to the new ones (and, of course, vice versa)! Those of us who play the "new" organ regularly (as represented by disc 2) find it a thrilling experience, and I seize the opportunity to thank Patrick Russill and Nicholas Thistlethwaite, our advisors, for their time and expertise." Paul Trepte - Director of Music

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The Cathedral Organ Specification

New stops are marked with *

Pedal Organ
1. Double Open Wood (from 3) 32
2. Sub Bourdon (from 34) 32
3. Open Wood 16
4. Open Diapason (from 37) 16
5. Bourdon 16
6. Violone (from 69) 16
7. Principal 8
8. Flute (from 5) 8
9. Violoncello (from 69) 8
10. Fifteenth 4
11. Octave Flute (from 8) 4
12. Mixture IV
13. Bombardon (from 14) 32
14. Bombarde 16
15. Trumpet (from 14) 8
I Positive to Pedal II Great to Pedal III Swell to Pedal IV Solo to Pedal

Positive Organ
16. Chimney Flute 8
17. Principal 4
18. Spitzflute 4
19. Nazard 22/3
20. Blockflute 2
21. Tierce 13/5
22. Larigot 11/3
23. Sharp Mixture IV
V Swell to Positive VI Solo to Positive

Choir Organ (on Positive Keys)
24. Open Diapason 8
25. Gedackt 8
26. Fiffaro 8
27. UndaMaris 8
28. Principal 4
29. Flauto Traverso 4
30. Fifteenth 2
31. Flautino 1
32. Mixture III
33. Cremona 8 *
VII Tremulant VIII Choir on Swell

Great Organ
34. Sub Bourdon 32
35. Double Diapason 16
36. Bourdon (from 34) 16
37. Large Open Diapason 8
38. Small Open Diapason 8
39. Hohl Flute 8
40. Salicional 8
41. Quint 51/3
42. Octave 4
43. Principal 4
44. Wald Flute 4
45. Double Tierce 31/5
46. Twelfth 22/3
47. Fifteenth 2
48. Sesquialtera III *
49. Fourniture V
50. Cymbale V
51. Trombone 16 *
52. Trumpet 8 *
53. Clarion 4 *
IX Positive to Great X Swell to Great XI Solo to Great XII Great Reeds on Pedal XIII Great Reeds on Solo

Swell Organ
54. Bourdon 16
55. Open Diapason 8
56. Gedackt 8
57. Echo Gamba 8
58. Vox Angelica (tenor c) 8
59. Principal 4
60. Nason Flute 4
61. Fifteenth 2
62. Echo Cornet II *
63. Mixture V
64. Oboe 8
65. Vox Humana 8 *
XIV Tremulant
66. Double Trumpet 16
67. Trumpet 8
68. Clarion 4
XV Octave XVI Solo on Swell

Solo Organ (69 - 78 enclosed)
69. Contra Viola 16
70. Viole d'Orchestre 8
71. Viole Celeste 8
72. Viole Octaviante 4
73. Cornet de Violes III
74. Harmonic Flute 8
75. Concert Flute 4
76. Clarinet 16
77. Orchestral Hautboy 8
78. Cor Anglais 8
XVII Tremulant
79. Tuba 8
80. Orchestral Trumpet 8 *
XVIII Octave XIX Sub Octave XX Unison
Off XXI Swell to Solo

Eight general pistons (duplicated by foot pistons and general cancel
Eight foot pistons to the Pedal Organ
Ten pistons to the Positive and Choir Organs
Cancel Piston to the Positive Organ
Eight Pistons to the Great Organ
Eight Pistons to the Swell Organ
Six Pistons to the Solo Organ
Reversible pistons: I-V,IX,X,13,14
Reversible foot pistons: II,X,13,14

The pistons are adjustable, with eight divisional and 128 general memories.

Manuals I and II Exchange

Combination Couplers:
Great and Pedal Combinations coupled
Pedal to Swell Pistons
Swell on General Foot Pistons

Balanced expression pedals to the Swell and Solo Organs

The action is electro-pneumatic

The manual compass is 61 notes; the pedal 32 notes.