"Westminster Abbey" Westminster Abbey Tip by Blatherwick

Westminster Abbey, London: 268 reviews and 472 photos

  Westminster Abbey
by Blatherwick

This is where Kings and Queens are crowned, royal weddings take place, famous people are buried. This is Westminster Abbey.

King Harold II Godwinson was the first monarch crowned in the Abbey in 1066. On Christmas Day of the same year William the Conqueror was crowned here and almost all subsequent English monarchs have been crowned there. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the traditional cleric in the coronation ceremony. The throne, kept in the Abbey, on which British sovereigns are seated at the moment of coronation is known as St. Edward's Chair

Most Kings and Queens of England were buried here. Aristocrats were buried in side chapels and monks and people associated with the Abbey were buried in the Cloisters and other areas. The practice spread from aristocrats to poets, generals, admirals, politicians, scientists, doctors, etc.

According to tradition, a shrine was first founded here in 616. It was said to have been miraculously consecrated after a fisherman on the River Thames saw a vision of Saint Peter. The historic Abbey was built by Edward the Confessor and was consecrated in 1065.

Although the Abbey was seized by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1534, and closed in 1540, becoming a cathedral until 1550, its royal connections saved it from the destruction wrought on most other English abbeys. The expression "robbing Peter to pay Paul" may arise from this period when money meant for the Abbey, which was dedicated to St. Peter, was diverted to the treasury of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Until the 19th century, Westminster was the third seat of learning in England, after Oxford and Cambridge. It was here that the first third of the King James Bible Old Testament and the last half of the New Testament were translated. The New English Bible was also put together here in the 20th century.

Address: Deans Yard, SW1
Directions: St James's Park tube
Phone: 0 20 7654 4900
Website: http://www.westminster-abbey.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 31, 2004
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