Music and Organ

Our ‘Father’ Willis Organ

Our ‘Father’ Willis organ is one of the Cathedral’s great treasures it is still fulfilling its purpose daily over 140 years after it was installed.

Famous for its exceptional sound quality, it is an irreplaceable and important part of the country’s musical heritage. It was built between 1876 and 1877 by ‘Father’ Henry Willis. He was responsible for building some of the very finest pipe organs in the country and across the world.

A comprehensive, fourteen-month long restoration by renowned organ builders and restorers Harrison & Harrison of Durham was completed in 2020. The instrument was completely dismantled and every pipe and component cleaned, repaired and reassembled.

Apart from some very minor tonal changes, and some small changes of layout, the organ remains largely unaltered after all these years. As such, the organ sounds very much as it would have done in 1877, and it has not been enlarged or ‘improved’ by subsequent organists and organ builders.

It is regarded by many as one of the finest pipe organs in the country. Willis himself later confided in Alcock that he considered the organ at Salisbury his finest.