John Brimley 1541-76
At Masses held in the Cathedral at the time of
the Rising of the North (1569) John Brimley played the
organ 'in the loft over the quier door' and was
subsequently called to account, but afterwards he was
reconciled and no action was taken against him.
William Browne 1576-88
His gravestone in the Galilee Chapel says:
John Brimleis body here doth li
Who praysed God with hand and voice
By musickes heavenlie harmonie
Dull myndes he maid in God rejoice
His soul into the heavens is lyft
To prayse him stil that gave the Gyft
Obiit Ao.Dni.1576 Octo.13.
William Smith 1589-98
Wm Smythe repaired 'one paire of orgaynes wh.
standeth above the Quere doore...' in Sept.1589.
William Browne (again) 1598-1607+
Not to be confused with another of the same name
(1603-45), also a minor canon but not organist, who
was the composer of the celebrated Preces &
Responses by Smith of Durham.
Edward Smith 1608-12
Richard Hutcheson 1613-Interregnum (died 1646)
The Chapter Minutes report that in April
John Foster 1660-77
'In regard of Richard Hutchinson frequent haunting of
Aile houses and Divers other his evill demeaners, and
especially for breaking of the head of Toby Broking one
of the Singing men of this church with a Candlesticke in
an Ailehouse wounding him verie dangerously ...' He was
warned that time, but a month later was suspended [until
November] to mend his ways!
The new organ by George Dallam was first
played on by Mr.John Forster on St.Stephen's Day 1662.
Alexander Shaw 1677-81 (died 1706)
William Greggs 1681-1710
The completion of Father Smith's new organ, with two
James Heseltine 1711-63
notes per octave ("quarter tones"), required 'a person
well acquainted with this peculiar keyboard to avail
himself of its
use'. Greggs was given leave for three months in 1686
to London to improve himself in the Skill of
In January 1711 James Hesletine of London was
appointed organist, aged 19, at £70 per annum from
Lady Day, increased to £100 in 1750.
Thomas Ebdon 1763-1811
Appointed on a salary of £80 pa,
increased to £100 in 1783, "[plus] 5/- per day
when he attends the Cathedral service morning and
Charles Clarke 1811-13
NB. George Ashton and Wm. Evance were paid for
deputising for Ebdon in
1805/6, and again Evance during Ebdon's final illness.
Appointed aged 15, on "the same salary as Mr.
William Henshaw 1814-62
Appointed aged 22 on "the same salary (without
the daily allowance) as Mr.Clarke"- who had moved
to Worcester Cathedral. In a report of the
Parliamentary Commissioners at the time of the
Cathedrals Act 1840, the Durham Organist's salary of
£209 was noted as "the highest".
Philip Armes 1863-1907 [link
to longer article written for centenary of his death]
[The Dean's income became £3000 as a result of the
Act]. Henshaw lived at 13 Bow Lane, resigned on a
pension for life of £260 pa, and died in 1878.
|Appointed on a salary of £260 pa,
increased to £300 pa in 1870. As a result
of national pressure through a Statement from
the Royal College of Organists concerning the
position of Cathedral Organists Armes salary
increased from £191 per quarter to
£210 per quarter in 1898. Armes lived at
20 North Bailey from 1864 to 1872, then 17 North
Bailey. He retired on a pension of £250 pa
pre-arranged in 1905.
Arnold Culley 1907-32
John Dykes Bower 1933-36
Conrad Eden 1936-74
Richard Lloyd 1974-85
James Lancelot 1985-2017
F.E.Leatham (in 1901 during Bennett's
William Ellis 1903 (to Newcastle Cathedral)
Autumn 1918 - May 1919. Appointed at
£150pa [Act Book] - to journalism.
Cyril Maude 1919
|A pupil of Sir Walter Parratt, he
served under three Organists. In 1939, when
Conrad Eden went to war Maude assumed full
duties for the duration,, maintaining his other
work as Organist of St.Margaret's Church,
teacher at Neville's Cross and St.Hild's
Colleges, and the Durham Girls' Grammar School,
with private tuition and war-time duties with
the choir men in the Royal Observer Corps.
Choristers of that time remember him with great
affection, his Yorkshire wit, often sarcastic
but delivered with a twinckle in the eye, and
his insistence on high standards at all times.
service sheet at the dedication of a music
desk in his memory: 18th October 2008]
Bruce Cash 1968
Alan Thurlow 1973 (to Chichester Cathedral)
David Hill 1980 (to Westminster
Ian Shaw 1982 (to a post in
Keith Wright 1985 (to
St.Peter's School, York)
Massey: from 2011