Who built Westminster Abbey and how old is it?

WESTMINSTER Abbey has a rich history dating back hundreds of years, and is one of the oldest landmarks in London. The church is notable for being at the centre of many royal events, from the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Here’s everything you need to know about Westminster Abbey. Who built Westminster Abbey? Westminster Abbey began as a small monastery founded in 960AD. Later, in the 1040s King Edward the Confessor established his palace nearby. He wanted to enhance his building by adding a large stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle. The church became known as the “west minster” to avoid confusion with St Paul’s Cathedral, which was the east minster in the city of London. The Queen’s funeral, held in Westminster Abbey Minster means a large or important church, many of these have cathedral status. King Edward died just days after the church was finally consecrated in 1065 – his remains are entombed in the front of the high altar in the Abbey. Read More on The Queen's death ROYAL RESPECT Latest news as King Charles, Harry & William attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral SIDE BY SIDE Harry and Meghan 'break ranks with impulsive gesture' at Queen's service In the middle of the 13th century, King Henry III rebuilt the Abbey in a Gothic style which was popular at the time. Further updates and renovations were made over the next couple of centuries, including a chapel and staircases leading to an altar above. The last phase of the Abbey’s construction was completed in 1745 involving the West Towers.  read MORE ON ROYAL family SON'S SUPPORT Meghan and Harry sit behind King Charles and Camilla as they mourn the Queen paying respects Find out what a catafalque is ROYAL RESPECT Latest news as King Charles, Harry & William attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral UNITED IN GRIEF Kate and Meghan walk together in sorrow as they follow Queen’s coffin SANDY STREETS Royal fans baffled as streets are lined with sand for Queen's funeral A KING'S TEARS Emotional Charles wipes away a tear as he lays his mum to rest Who has been buried at Westminster Abbey? Westminster Abbey is the final resting place for around 3,300 people in history including monarchs such as Henry III, Edward III, Richard II and Henry V. It’s not just royals, Poets’ Corner is a section where over 100 poets and writers are buried or have special memorials dedicated to them such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking are all also buried in the Scientists’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. There is also a grave to the Unknown Warrior located close to the west door. The tomb contains the body of an unidentified soldier who died on the battlefield during World War I and was laid to rest in 1920.  Today, the monument acts as a symbol to honour those who have died in service, or are missing in action. Since 1923, all royal brides who have been married in the Abbey have sent their bouquets back to be placed on the grave. What is Westminster Abbey used for? Funerals of notable people including Charles Darwin, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother were held at Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey, after lying in state for five days prior. Many celebrations also take place at the Abbey such as coronations and royal weddings. The last royal wedding to take place at Westminster Abbey was in April 2011, when Prince William married Kate Middleton – the ceremony was watched by over 162 million people around the world. Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh at the Abbey in 1947. What is the Westminster Abbey choir? Westminster Abbey choir is made up of up to 30 boys, who attend the special Abbey choir school, as well as twelve professional adult singers. The choir plays a central role in all royal and state events, including the service to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, events forming part of the official First World War Centenary commemorations and memorial services

Who built Westminster Abbey and how old is it?

WESTMINSTER Abbey has a rich history dating back hundreds of years, and is one of the oldest landmarks in London.

The church is notable for being at the centre of many royal events, from the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Here’s everything you need to know about Westminster Abbey.


Who built Westminster Abbey?

Westminster Abbey began as a small monastery founded in 960AD.

Later, in the 1040s King Edward the Confessor established his palace nearby.

He wanted to enhance his building by adding a large stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle.

The church became known as the “west minster” to avoid confusion with St Paul’s Cathedral, which was the east minster in the city of London.

The Queen’s funeral, held in Westminster Abbey

Minster means a large or important church, many of these have cathedral status.

King Edward died just days after the church was finally consecrated in 1065 – his remains are entombed in the front of the high altar in the Abbey.

Read More on The Queen's death

ROYAL RESPECT

Latest news as King Charles, Harry & William attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral

SIDE BY SIDE

Harry and Meghan 'break ranks with impulsive gesture' at Queen's service

In the middle of the 13th century, King Henry III rebuilt the Abbey in a Gothic style which was popular at the time.

Further updates and renovations were made over the next couple of centuries, including a chapel and staircases leading to an altar above.

The last phase of the Abbey’s construction was completed in 1745 involving the West Towers. 


Who has been buried at Westminster Abbey?

Westminster Abbey is the final resting place for around 3,300 people in history including monarchs such as Henry III, Edward III, Richard II and Henry V.

It’s not just royals, Poets’ Corner is a section where over 100 poets and writers are buried or have special memorials dedicated to them such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking are all also buried in the Scientists’ Corner at Westminster Abbey.

There is also a grave to the Unknown Warrior located close to the west door.

The tomb contains the body of an unidentified soldier who died on the battlefield during World War I and was laid to rest in 1920. 

Today, the monument acts as a symbol to honour those who have died in service, or are missing in action.

Since 1923, all royal brides who have been married in the Abbey have sent their bouquets back to be placed on the grave.


What is Westminster Abbey used for?

Funerals of notable people including Charles Darwin, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother were held at Westminster Abbey.

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey, after lying in state for five days prior.

Many celebrations also take place at the Abbey such as coronations and royal weddings.

The last royal wedding to take place at Westminster Abbey was in April 2011, when Prince William married Kate Middleton – the ceremony was watched by over 162 million people around the world.

Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh at the Abbey in 1947.


What is the Westminster Abbey choir?

Westminster Abbey choir is made up of up to 30 boys, who attend the special Abbey choir school, as well as twelve professional adult singers.

The choir plays a central role in all royal and state events, including the service to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, events forming part of the official First World War Centenary commemorations and memorial services for many national and international figures such as Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela and Terry Wogan.

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Can you get into Westminster Abbey for free?

There is never a charge to enter Westminster Abbey for worship so people can enter for free during church services.

However, tourists visiting must pay for a ticket which also gives access to a free audio guide.


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