'In memory of happy days and as a tribute to this glorious home, we leave
thy voice to speak within these walls in years to come when ours are still'.
This inscription was
written by the 8th Duke of Marlborough, and was found shortly after his death
scribbled on a scrap of paper torn from The Times. It now graces the front of the
magnificent four-manual Willis organ in the Long Library at Blenheim Palace, and is read
by the thousands of visitors that file past each year. The organ dominates the north end
of the library, and this short booklet describes the history, construction and life of the
organ. Sometimes called the king of instruments, a pipe organ can generate an almost
infinite variety of sounds, and the Willis organ at Blenheim contains some 56 stops
distributed across four manuals.
On full volume, the organ
can be heard at the far end of the quadrangle outside the palace, whilst the quietest
stops are only just audible from the far end of the Long Library.
Since 1976 the organ has been maintained
in excellent condition by Peter Wood & Son of Harrogate, and is in regular use for
both private and public functions.
RIGHT : The
Willis Organ, Long Library, Blenheim Palace