The Cathedral has a rich musical tradition. Piers Roberts recorded that in 1635 ‘ye greate and newe organ in ye Cathedral Churche was sett up’. From 1675-86 it was cared for by the famous organ builder ‘Farther Smith’. This instrument was sold in 1740 and replaced by an organ costing £447 and built by Abraham Jordan and placed in the east crossing. In 1834, for the same price, William Hill of London replaced Jordan’s organ with a one-manual organ. This instrument was placed by Thomas Jones, the Cathedral architect, on the new stone screen at the west crossing, which separated the choir from the nave.

In 1867 the firm Wm Hill removed the organ from this position and rebuilt it in the north transept. A hundred years ago the organ was rebuilt was rebuilt by the firm who proudly stated ‘We take peculiar interest in this instrument because among many Cathedrals with which we are connected and which contain an organ this is we believe our longest connection …’ The 1897 instrument was a four-manual organ and has been judged ‘… as a superb example of British organ building at its best’.

In 1932 Oldrid Scott redesigned the casework and placed it under the north transept arch. Another rebuild took place in 1966 and the organ case was painted in gaudy colours. In 1993 the Dean and Chapter took the decision for a major rebuild in the style of Hill. the firm, Wood of Huddersfield, were chosen to undertake the work to be completed in 1997. David Graebe has designed the casework based on the work of the late Dr Arthur Hill.

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©Text by The Venerable T.W. Pritchard, Archdeacon of Montgomery
Photography by RJL Smith, Much Wenlock Shropshire
©St Asaph Cathedral – ©Eglwys Gadeiriol Llanelwy
Reproduced with the permission of The Archbishop of Wales