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Author tells tale of Thomas Dallam in new book The Sultan’s Organ
1:00pm Friday 28th September 2012 in News
TRAVELLING the seas to meet rulers of the world is a long way from the waters of Sankey Brook.
But Thomas Dallam, a humble blacksmith from Dallam, took the long journey to deliver an organ he constructed to the Sultan of Turkey.
His travels have been largely uncharted until John Mole came across his original diary dating back to 1599 revealing his amazing trip and an unusual job offer from one of the most powerful men in the world.
The 67-year-old writer said: “I read old travel books from the past 2,000 years and I came across this one from the Hakluyt Society which had four travel diaries.
“Someone had transcribed the original manuscript from Thomas Dallam which is in the British Library in Elizabethan English. I fell in love with the story.”
Thomas was chosen to travel with the present from Queen Elizabeth I to the Sultan of Turkey after he impressed her with the ornate self-playing organ during a demonstration.
He had moved to London from Warrington after taking up his role as a blacksmith and had shown great craftsmanship.
John added that the description which he has translated into modern English had captivated him with his no nonsense northern commentary on what were distant lands at the time.
He said: “I never thought in the Elizabethan era you could make something as advanced as a self-playing organ which can run by itself for six hours with this amazing clock attached to it.”
When he arrived in Turkey a 25-year-old Thomas was summoned to show the Sultan how his new present would work.
“He got dragged in, the English court hadn’t expected to dress him in fancy clothes to meet him so he was just in this woollen suit while they were all wearing jewelled and golden clothes.
“The Sultan wanted to keep him there because they were so impressed, he offered him two virgins to marry but he said he was already married – although he actually wasn’t.”
After the triumph Thomas returned to London and began his own organ building company and his designs were installed in places like Kings College, Cambridge and Worcester Cathedral.
But his work was wiped out with the exception of one remaining organ at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.
“About six years later there was a new Sultan who was very religious and did not approve and he had the organ destroyed,” added John.
“The same thing happened to his organs here when the Puritans came into power.”
- John’s book The Sultan’s Organ is available for sale on Amazon and fortunebooks.org and anyone who contacts him through the website can receive a free e-book edition up to this Sunday.