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Ruffatti Organ

New Ruffatti Organs at Buckfast Abbey

Buckfast Abbey is delighted to announce that two new organs are to be built in the Abbey Church, and pleased to now confirm that Fratelli Ruffatti was selected to complete the project. The new instruments in the Abbey Church will be the first built by this internationally renowned firm in Great Britain, and it is expected that installation will be completed before 2018.

The design consists of a substantial Quire Organ comprising five divisions and a smaller instrument in the west gallery with three divisions. The Quire Organ will be encased behind the north and south Quire Stalls along with one enclosed division in the north triforia. In addition, the Grand-Orgue will be positioned along north and south walls of the west gallery in two traditionally ornamented cases designed to blend with the mix of Gothic and Romanesque windows and archways.

The instruments will be played from two consoles of four manuals and pedals. The console in the west gallery is fixed in position, but the console on the lantern floor will be mobile. This console, with a convenient height adjustment feature, will mostly be used for liturgical accompaniment, and therefore will usually be discreetly located along the south Quire Stalls. Since the console is mobile, it can be moved to a variety of positions when the instrument is used for recital purposes.

The scaling of the instruments will be substantial and will allow a rich variety of tone colour. The instruments are conceived primarily to promote creativity in the accompaniment of both the Monastic Community and the Abbey Choirs, and also to reflect the broad eclectic range of stylistic and tonal elements required to transmit the organ solo repertoire of the western classical tradition as faithfully as possible.

Notable features of spatially related instruments are the opportunities afforded for antiphonal effect as well as simultaneous playing. Excitingly therefore, the organs will feature two solo en chamade stops: A brightly voiced ‘Pontifical Trumpet,’ protruding from the West Gallery casework; and a fittingly named ‘Abbatial Trumpet,’ contrasting the Pontifical Trumpet in tone colour, and located in the north triforium near to the Abbot’s seat.

A further and fittingly ancestral feature of the Quire Organ will be the inclusion of a ‘Venetian’ Positive division. In keeping with Italian traditions, this scheme will include a number of fixed pitch individual stops including Nightingale and Bagpipe, which although uncommon in England, are notably existing features of some 17th Century Italian instruments (such as the 1606 Monumental organ of Vincenzo Colonna at Corsanico), and may be used in improvisation for special authentic effect.

Many new instruments today would of course be incomplete without paying homage to the genius of Cavaillé-Coll in some shape or form, and the new Gallery Organ in the west gallery proves no exception to this. Essentially, this instrument’s function is twofold, forming both a Bombarde division for the Quire Organ, and also a self-contained instrument inspired by the French Romantic tradition. The pipework will feature characteristic arched upper and lower lips, will be widely scaled and with its own pedal division; the organ promises to prove convincing in both capacities.

Furthermore, the Expressif of the Gallery Organ will be under expression so that the effect achievable when both instruments are in operation simultaneously is both supportive to full congregational singing, and when required is also capable of commanding the entire acoustic. The instrument will sing into the longitudinal axis of the building, and its tonal qualities will integrate with and also invigorate those of Quire Organ. The variety of choruses available will also be able promote tonal contrast during antiphonal exchange as well as an entirely convincing tutti. A complete tonal synthesis is therefore to be expected as well as individual clarity and intimacy.

In conclusion therefore, the fundamental aims are for the new instruments to form a homogeneous, cohesive and diverse sonority, which will compliment and enhance both the Monastic Office and the liturgical celebrations of the Abbey Church. The result builds upon the ideas behind the design of the original Walker/Downes instrument, and enhances them significantly. The old organ was removed initially to protect the pipes (currently held in storage) from restoration work.

For more information regarding Fratelli Ruffatti, visit their website:

Below are the organ specifications

Quire Organ

POSITIVO  Unenclosed  Manual I
Principale 8’  
Bordone 8’  
Voce Umana  8’  
Ottava 4’  
Flauto Veneziano 4’  
Decimaquinta 2’  
Decimanona 1 1/3’  
Sesquialtera II  2 2/3’-1 3/5’  
Ripieno III  (26-29-33) 2/3’  
Cromorno 8’  
Pontifical Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Abbatial Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Glockenspiel Tremulant   30 bells

Nightingale   5 pipes immersed
Cymbelstern   12 bells
Bagpipe C 4’  
Bagpipe F 3’  
Bagpipe G 2 2/3  

SWELL  Enclosed  Manual III
Flute à Cheminée
Quintaton 8’  
Viole de Gambe 8’  
Voix Céleste 8’  
Prestant 4’  
Flûte Céleste
Nazard 2 2/3’  
Octavin 2’  
Tierce 1 3/5’  
Plein Jeu IV  (15-19-22-26) 2’  
Basson  (1-8 ½ Length) 16’  
Trompette Harmonique 8’  
Hautbois  8’  
Clairon Harmonique Tremulant 4’  

Unison Off  
Super Octave  

PEDAL  Unenclosed 
Contrabass 16’  
Subbass 16’  
Bourdun 16’  
Lieblich Bourdon 16’  
Quintflöte 10 2/3’  
Octave 8’  
Flûte Ouverte 8’  
Nazard 5 1/3’  
Superoctave 4’  
Mixture IV  (12-15-19-22) 2 2/3’  
Fagott 32’  
Bombarde 16’  
Basson 16’  
Trompette 8’  
GREAT  Unenclosed  Manual II
Bourdun 16’  
Principal 8’  
Bourdun 8’  
Spitzflöte 8’  
Octave 4’  
Blockflöte 4’  
Quint 2 2/3’  
Superoctave 2’  
Mixture IV  (19-22-26-29) 1 1/3’  
Terz Zimbel III  (29-31-33) 1/2’  
Trumpet 8’  
Clairon 4’  
Pontifical Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Abbatial Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Sub Octave    
Unison Off  

SOLO  Enclosed  Manual IV
Lieblich Bourdon 16’  
Orchestral Flute 8’  
Doppelflöte 8’  
Salicional 8’  
Unda Maris 8’  
Flûte Douce 8’  
Flûte Celeste  8’  
Flauto d’Amore 4’  
Harmonic Nazard 2 2/3’  
Harmonic Piccolo 2’  
Harmonic Tierce 1 3/5’  
Bassett Horn 8’  
Vox Humana 8’  
Pontifical Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Abbatial Trumpet Tremulant 8’ Solo unenclosed

Sub Octave    
Unison Off  
Super Octave  


GRAND-ORGUE  Unenclosed
Bourdon 16’  
Montre 8’  
Flûte Harmonique 8’  
Bourdon 8’  
Prestant 4’  
Flûte Octaviante 4’  
Cornet III 2 2/3-2’-1 3/5’  
Doublette 2’  
Plein Jeu III-V 2’  
Clarinette       8’  
Pontifical Trumpet 8’ Solo unenclosed
Abbatial Trumpet Tremblant 8’ Solo unenclosed

Sub Octave    
Unison Off    

PÉDALE  Unenclosed
Soubasse 16’
Bourdon 16’
Basse 8’
Bourdon 8’
Flûte 4’
Bombarde 32’
Bombarde 16’
Trompette 8’ 
Violoncelle 8’
Violoncelle Céleste 8’
Cor de Chamois 8’
Cor de Chamois Céleste 8’
Prestant 4’
Trompette 8’
Clairon Tremblant 4’

Sub Octave 8’
Unison Off 8’
Super Octave 8’

STATISTICS  Choir organ and West Gallery combined

78 real stops

100 ranks of pipes

5,537 pipes and 42 bells

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