The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, most commonly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large church, taht is mostly Gothic. It was built in 1042 by Edward the Confessor and the current church’s construction was strted in 1245 by Henry III. The Abbey is located in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronations, Royal weddings and burial site for English, later British monarchs. The abbey is a Royal Peculiar and briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1540 to 1550.
While in London, in October last year, we just had to visit the Westminster Abbey.But before getting there we passed a beautiful park, where birds were flying around, ducks and geese swiming in the water and fat squirrels were chasing each other and food from happy tourists. It was a beautiful Autumn day with sunshine and blue sky. So far. We walked passed theBuckngham Palace and to the Westminster Abbey.
We decided to take an audioguide tour of the church, since the last tour with a real guide had left 10 minutes earlier. The Abbey was closing early that day, bad timing. We walked and walked and walked with the audioguides. We listned to a story about the Abbey, the old kings and queens, war and peace, blood and friendship. We listned about old heros and great scientists. The place is huge, but the history hidden here is even greater.
We walked among memorial places, graves with well recognized names from the history books and in the poets corner.
The place it huge. All the parts started to get mixed up. The Kings, Queens, heroes. The great history of the people here, the country and the church. I think it is fair to visit this place several times, in order to be able to remember just some of the information given here.
Burials and old graves
- Henry III rebuilt the Abbey in honour of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor whose relics were placed in a shrine in the sanctuary.
- Henry III himself was interred nearby, as were many of the Plantagenet kings of England, their wives and other relatives.
Until the death of George II in 1760, most Kings and Queens were buried in the Abbey, some notable exceptions being Edward IV, Henry VIII and Charles I .
- From the Middle Ages, aristocrats were buried inside chapels.
- Monks and other people associated with the Abbey were buried in the Cloisters and other areas. One of these was Geoffrey Chaucer.
- Other poets, writers and musicians were buried or memorialised around Chaucer in what became known as Poets’ Corner.
Abbey musicians such as Henry Purcell were also buried in their place of work.
- Other national figures burried in the Abbey started with Admiral Robert Blake in 1657.
- The practice spread to include generals, admirals, politicians, doctors and scientists such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
- Another was William Wilberforce, the man who abolished slavery in the United Kingdom and the Plantations.
Very special Place
Having passed so much history, so many famous names that have changed to course of the history and science, in many cases, is quite special. I liked the tour, I enjoyed the place and its dignity. And yet the seriousness, the dignity and the history weights quite heavy. You are not allowed to take pictures inside. Is it because of the dignity of the place? Is it because of the security? Or maybe it’s because of its age and the facts that many tourists would use flash? I have no idea, but I gon’t have any pictures from the inside.
There were very many tourists here. The place was litterarly crowded and it was low season. I wonder how it looks in June? We walked through the whole Abbey, peeking into the monastery and its gardens and listening to birds there.
On the day we visited Abbey there was supposed to be ceremony of some kind with military veterans. The place closed early, the tourists left and the soldiers arrived. The tourist site made place for seriousness, ceremony and quiet, just as it is supposed to be.
Links and Globes
The Westminster Abbey have benn a World Heritage site since 1987. Link: Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margret’s Church.
The site contains of Palace, Abbey and Saint Margret’s Church. We visited only the Abbey. I was thinking about grade two globes, because of so many tourists amd a five, because of the history hidden here. I finally decided for four globes: