The Peterhouse organ is the largest surviving example of the work of Johann Snetzler. It was given to the College in 1765 by Horatio Mann (who had joined Peterhouse as a Fellow Commoner in 1760) and the College is most grateful for the generosity of current Petreans that has made this restoration possible.
The chapel was consecrated in 1632 during the Mastership of Matthew Wren, and an organ was installed as early as 1635. As a centre of Laudian practice, music played a central role in chapel life from the outset.
The original Snetzler pipes are largely unaltered, although Hill & Son undertook a major reconstruction in 1893-4 and Noel Mander carried out a significant rebuild in 1963. To accommodate these successive additions the console was enlarged and the original case was made deeper, blocking the light from the west window. The newly restored organ will be smaller and it has been possible to restore part of the lightwell into the ante-chapel as a result.
The challenge that faced the College was to preserve the Snetzler heritage while creating a versatile instrument to serve the musical and liturgical needs of the Chapel in the 21st century. Two of Europe’s most respected organ builders, Flentrop Orgelbouw and Orgelbau Klais, have collaborated on the project and we are confident that the resulting instrument will be of great aesthetic value and integrity as well as historical interest.