John Speller's Web Pages Bristol Cathedral

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Bristol Cathedral UK Organs Horizontal Menu Untitled Untitled

A hand-colored engraving by H. Winkles of a drawing by J. Salmon based on a sketch by R. Garland, showing the organ of Bristol Cathedral. The engraving was published in Winkles's Cathedrals (1836).

The organ in Bristol Cathedral was built in 1685-1686 by Renatus Harris. The case carvings are said to have been done by the Grinling Gibbons, who carved the organ case and choir stalls at St. Paul's Cathedral. The case and organ appear to have been a copy another Renatus Harris instrument of c. 1680, perhaps built for Bath Abbey, that was relocated to St. John the Baptist, Frome, in 1701. The engraving shows the west fašade of the organ, so that the chaire case is not visible. The organ case survives in a very mangled state, as do the fašade pipes and some of the wooden flutes. The rest of Renatus Harris's pipework was melted down when the organ was rebuilt in the North Quire Aisle by W. G. Vowles in 1861.

At the time of Winkles's engraving, a new Choir Organ had been installed by Richard Seede of Bristol in 1786, and an octave of Pedal pipes had been added in 1821 by John Smith (?Sr.) of Bristol. In this form, with its tin pipework and fabulous case, the instrument was one of the finest in the Kingdom. The stop list at this period is given by Sperling as follows:

Great Organ: GG long to D in alt

Open Diapason (east)
Open Diapason (west)
Stopped Diapason
Principal (east)
Principal (west)
Sesquialtra IV
Mounted Cornet (mid C) V

Swell: Fiddle G to D in alt

Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Cornet III

Choir: GG long to D in alt

Stop Diapason

One octave of Pedal pipes with a Gr. to Ped. coupler. There was also a Sw. to Gr. coupler.

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