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Michel Cocheril

The Dallam Family

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Hello! As an organist living in Brittany, where the Dallam family lived and worked in the middle of the 17th century, and the happy player of several beautiful Dallam organs, I was puzzled to read a post on this forum (the previous forum) dated Feb 18, 2003 by one Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub, from the USA, claiming to be a descendant of Thomas Dallam. Can this person kindly send me particulars of her family tree so as to complete my information ? I have contributed to this subject in my BIOS Journal articles and been able to correct a few mistakes made by previous historians. Last year the guestbook at Guimiliau was signed by one Dallam who said he (she?) was a descendant of the Dallams. As Thomas Dallam sieur de la Tour (who built the Guimiliau organ) died there in July 1705, it appears that 2005 will mark the tercentenary of his death. It seems all the more necessary to have all the information possible for a publication to mark this occasion. All contributions are welcome.

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I would not say that the Dallam organs are intact, far from it, as each of them has a long story of neglect, dereliction, plundering, restoration good or bad. You will find a detailed assessment in my article "Restoring the Dallam organs of Brittany" in BIOS Journal 20. In (very) short, let us say that the organs of Lanvellec, Ploujean, Guimiliau and Ergué-Gabéric still contain an large part of the original pipework, soundboards and action. The builders involved in the latest restorations, under guidance from the French Ministry of Culture's consultants, are Formentelli, Guilmin and Hurvy, and the musical results are very different. Robert Woolley has recorded Ploujean and Guimiliau (Chandos).

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