Open main menu

Thomas Dallam (1575; after 1620) was an English organ-builder.[1] Dallam served an apprenticeship and became a member of London's Blacksmiths' Company. He travelled frequently to build organs on site, going as far as Turkey.

Organ of King's College. This instrument has been rebuilt since Dallam's time, but it is believed that some of the case is original.


Dallam was baptised in Flixton, Lancashire. His family came from Dallam, near Warrington. A number of his descendants were also organ-builders.


During 1599 and 1600 Dallam went on a voyage from London to Constantinople in order to deliver an organ to the sultan Mehmet III.[2][3] The instrument was commissioned as a present from Queen Elizabeth I and could be played normally or by clockwork. On arrival, the organ took many weeks to assemble. Dallam kept a diary of his journey, which was published in the nineteenth century by the Hakluyt Society.[4][5]

Dallam afterwards built many important organs, including that of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Unfortunately, much of his work was destroyed by people hostile to church organs following the outbreak of the English Civil War. In the case of King's College Chapel, the existing instrument is the product of successive rebuilds, and it is not known for certain whether it contains any of Dallam's work, but it is believed that some of the case is his.


  1. ^ Christopher Kent, ‘Dallam, Thomas (bap. 1575, d. in or after 1630)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 26 Oct 2014 (subsdription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Malcolm, Noel (2 May 2004). "How fear turned to fascination". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  3. ^ Jean Giullou: Die Orgel. Erinnerung und Vision.Christoph Glatter-Götz 1984 p. 35 with image
  4. ^ Early voyages and travels in the Levant: I. The diary of Master Thomas Dallam, 1599-1600...
  5. ^ Carrington, Dorothy (1949) The Traveller's Eye. London: Pilot Press; p. 81

External linksEdit