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© Better Than Bacon/Flickr
© Better Than Bacon/Flickr

The History Of Westminster Abbey In 1 Minute

Picture of Paula Koller-Alonso
Updated: 24 November 2016
Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous churches in London, being the site for numerous royal occasions, as well as being an architectural masterpiece in the Gothic style. Established in 1245, the Abbey, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a history spanning over several centuries and is the centre of some of the most important British events and occasions.

Westminster was established as a holy place of worship three centuries before the actual construction of the modern-day building began. In 960, Benedictine monks started to settle on the site and established a tradition of daily worship – a tradition that has been kept until this very day. It was, therefore, decided in 1066 that the Church should become the site of monarchical coronations. As Westminster became a more significant place in the British monarchy, Henry III decided to build a more eccentric Church in 1245. The architecture became a masterpiece of Gothic imaginings, and it still remains as one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe. With colourful glass windows, a grand main entrance and an astounding altar, Westminster Abbey’s architecture is a unique gem of architecture.

Westminster Abbey has become synonymous with royal occasions. Every monarch since William the Conqueror in the 11th century has been crowned in Westminster Abbey. The only exceptions are Edward V and Edward VIII who were actually never crowned. It is also the site of 16 royal weddings, including the 1947 wedding of our current Queen and the grand 2011 wedding of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is also the final resting place for 17 monarchs. Other famous people whose tombs can be found in Westminster Abbey include scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, literature genius Charles Dickens and actor Sir Laurence Olivier.

In 2018, a new project is planned to launch for Westminster Abbey: a new museum and gallery. The project will portray the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. The gallery will provide visitors an astonishing view of the Palace of Westminster, and into the church, as well as displaying treasures and collections from Westminster’s thousand-year history.


📅 Open Monday to Saturday, various times