Over the centuries, organs in Bath Abbey have stood in various different places in the building. The first mention of an organ in the Abbey dates back to 1634, but nothing is known of it. The first properly recorded example was built by in 1708 by Abraham Jordan.
The Klais Organ stands on a gallery and organ facade that was originally built by Thomas Jackson in 1917 for the Norman and Beard organ. Located in the Abbey's north transept, this is still thought as the best position for both liturgy and acoustics.
However, the Jackson case, which had already been supplemented by a Positive case designed by Alan Rome (1972), has been raised some 18 inches. Carved fretwork replaces the solid panels either side of the console to allow egress of sound from the Solo division placed immediately behind
The case has also been given a back, sides and roof. Behind the facade the entire structure, action and windchest are new. The organ has mechanical action with electric coupling. Approximately half the pipes are built by Klais and the rest are from builders of earlier instruments (Wm Hill & Son; Norman and Beard; Hill, Norman and Beard). The organ has 4 manuals and pedals and 62 stops. Click here for more information on the organ stops.
The specification of the organ was drawn up by a consortium of the Abbey Organist, Peter King, the Consultant, Nicolas Kynaston, and Klais Orgelbau of Bonn.
The Friends of Bath Abbey donated a Glockenspiel in 2008.
We host a number of organ recitals throughout the year which offer the chance to enjoy some stunning music played on the Abbey’s magnificent Klais Organ while watching the organist perform live via a video screen.
We also occasionally arrange choral recitals or 'stand-up-and-sings' when visiting choirs perform in the Abbey usually at lunchtimes. Please check our What's On calendar or on the door when you visit.
2023 Organ Restoration
We are delighted that the organ is back up and running again. Between January and early April Philipp Klais’ team from Bonn were at the Abbey and masterminded a comprehensive rebuild, cleaning and restoring the pipework. The electronics and the action have been overhauled and replaced and there have been a few small tonal alterations. This exciting project cost just over £250,000. Klais’ team will be back in the autumn to put the finishes touches to the tuning and tonal amendments when the pipes have all re-settled.
You can find out more about the work here.
If you’d like to donate to support this work, you can either send a cheque made payable to Bath Abbey, to Bath Abbey Offices, 9 Kingston Buildings, Bath BA1 1LT or pay by BACS using the details below:
Bath Abbey PCC
Sort Code: 56-00-34
Account Number: 00232971
Ref: Organ Rebuild
To find out further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Meanwhile, the tuba blower (the loudest ‘trumpet’ stop on the organ) failed just before Holy Week, this unfortunately means that the tuba will not be played for several months. We are very grateful to the Friends of Bath Abbey for supporting a new blower, so the tuba will be available for use later in the autumn.