Westminster Abbey, located near the Houses of Parliament, is more a historical site than a religious site.
Since 1066 every royal coronation, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII has taken place in Westminster Abbey.
The history of the abbey starts in 1050, when King Edward The Confessor decided to build a monastery. Only a small part of this Norman monastery, consecrated in 1065, survived.
The only representation of this original building is shown on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Most of the present building dates from 1245 to 1272 when Henry III decided to rebuild the abbey in the Gothic style.
The building was later significantly expanded: the Chapel of Henry VII was added between 1503 and 1512, while the two West Front Towers date from 1745.
The youngest part of the abbey is the North entrance, completed in the 19th century.
The abbey’s nave is England’s highest.
In the nave you find the Grave of the Unknown WarriorRipley’s Believe it or Not!, a World War I soldier who died on the battlefields in France and was buried here in…FRENCH(!) soil.
Nearby is a marble memorial stone for Winston Churchill. His body is not like many fellow prime ministers, which were buried in the abbey. Winston Churchill was buried in Bladon instead.
The Cloister was originally built in the 13th century.
It was completely rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire in 1298. The cloister was used by the Benedictine monks for meditation and exercise.
The beautiful octagonal Chapter house 3 is one of the largest of its kind in England. It has an original tile floor dating from 1250 and 14th century murals.
Henry VII Chapel
The Henry VII Chapel is also known as the Lady Chapel. Built 1503-1512, is one of the most outstanding chapels of its time, with a magnificent vault.
The chapel has a large stained glass window, the Battle of Britain memorial window.
The window, which dates from 1947 and replaces an original window that was damaged during World War II, commemorates fighter pilots and crew who died during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
The abbey also serves as the burial ground for numerous politicians, sovereigns and artists.
The abbey is stuffed with tombs, statues and monuments. Many coffins even stand upright due to the lack of space. In total approximately 3300 people are buried in the church and cloisters.
Some of the most famous are Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and David Livingstone.
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