From Londonhua WIKI
Officially known as: The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster
|Artist||Attributed to Andrew Kacherski|
|Location||Westminster Abbey, London|
The following page contains information of several aspects of Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey is the site of many graves of famous king, queens, politicians, and other public figures. Some important and interesting aspects of the church are the grave of the unknown soldier, the memorial to Winston Churchill, and The Coronation Chair.
- 1 Westminster Abbey
- 2 Overview
- 3 Background
- 3.1 Royal Traditions
- 3.2 Memorials
- 3.3 Royal Air Force Chapel
- 3.4 Political Features
- 3.5 Order of the Bath
- 4 References
- 5 External Links
- 6 Image Gallery
Westminster Abbey was originally constructed as a small Benedictine monastery. The monastery was founded under the patronage of King Edgar and St Dunstan in around 960 A.D. After many years the monastery was enlarged and converted into a large stone church by King Edward, later known as St. Edward the Confessor, on December 28th 1065. The church known as "St Peter's Abbey" or "west minster church" which helped distinguish it from St Paul's Cathedral, located in east minster, in the City of London. This church was intended to serve as a personal church for King Edward and his royal family. St Peter's Abbey survived for two centuries until it was once again enlarged and rebuilt by King Henry III into a Gothic style cathedral. The cathedral status stayed until 1560's after which it was no longer has the status of a cathedral or an abbey. It was just considered to be the Church of England, "Royal Peculiar", or what we now know as "Westminster Abbey". The "church" was always active, holding daily service, after its initial creation and it still remains active even today. It is also always under improvement such as the new elevator being installed that will allow visitors to go up to a gallery in 2018. The church houses many many memorials and graves as well. Most of those are people who hold high status over the years including poets, scientists, musicians, kings and queens, prime ministers, and politicians.
"Westminster Abbey" was originally created to be a personal church for the royal family and as a result, there was deep bond that formed between the this church and the royal family. Because of this deep bond, most of the royal family, after the initial creation of the church, were buried there. The first burial occurred in 1066 which was the burial of King Edward. His wife too was buried here following her death a few years later.
The successes to the thorn are also corroborated and crowned here. The first successor was Harold II, son of King Edward. Royal Wedding are held in this church as well.
Many famous kings, queens, politicians, writers, scientists and other public figures have been buried or were given memorials in Westminster Abbey. From the middle ages to the present, aristocrats have been buried inside chapels, and monks were buried inside the cloisters. It is considered to be an honor to be buried or memorialized in Westminster Abbey. The following list is a few of the most famous people who are buried in Westminster Abbey:
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
This tomb is located just inside the door and is the only tomb that is forbidden to walk on. The unknown soldier fought in World War I and unfortunately died in battle. He was buried in 1920 and his tomb represents all the soldiers who's bodies were unable to be identified after World War I. You can tell the tomb of the unknown soldier by its frame of red poppies. For more information click here.
The church was rebuilt by Henry III in honor of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor. His shrine is located near the high altar. You can read more in The Tombs of Westminster Abbey.
Although Charles Darwin did not know if he believed in God, he was still buried in the church because of his outstanding scientific accomplishments.
Isaac Newton was buried in Westminster Abbey for his scientific accomplishments as well. His memorial statue depicts Newton laying among his works and contributions to the scientific community.
Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey because he was employed as master of the King's works and lived in the Abbey. He was the first to be buried in the "Poet's Corner". For more information
Mary I (Bloody Mary)
Mary I is the daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Mary I is buried in Westminster with her sister Elizabeth I. She is famous for her attempt to change the main religion of England to Catholicism, and putting many Protestants to death in that attempt earning her the name Bloody Mary.
Battle of Britain Memorial Window
In honor to those who defended Britain from the German Luftwaffe during World War 2 a stained glass panel was created in the RAF chapel. The window shows the badges of the fighter squadrons that defended Britain with the names of those who lost their lives also listed inside the chapel.
Martyrs of the Modern Era
Ten 20th century Christian martyrs were chosen to be represented with statues at Westminster Abbey in London. Finished in 1998, this latest addition to the Abbey is found at the rear entrance of the church.
Lord Baden Powell and Lady Olave
Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden Powell of Gilwell was the founder of the scouts movement as well known as the first "Scouts World Chief". Likewise, his wife Lady Olave St. Claire Baden Powell was the founder and first world leader of the Girl Guides Movement. Both of them are recognized at the Westminster Abbey with their names and faces carved on the ground beside a wall with the flags of both movements.
Royal Air Force Chapel
This section is dedicated to the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain Read More
Westminster Abbey is home to memorials for many political figures, as well as examples of political relationships between the United States and England. One prominent relationship is between Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of The United States, and Sir Winston Churchill, the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and 1951 to 1955. Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill are buried in the Abbey, but both have commemorative memorials. Winston Churchill has a stone near the west entrance that reads:
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WISHES OF
THE QUEEN AND PARLIAMENT
THE DEAN & CHAPTER PLACED THIS STONE
ON THE TWENTY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
Franklin Roosevelt has a tablet on the west wall that reads:
A FAITHFUL FRIEND
OF FREEDOM AND OF
PRESIDENT OF THE
ERECTED BY THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE
These two figures were fairly inexperienced leaders of their respective nations during the Second World War, bonding over their similar duties. They had a very friendly relationship, despite their preconceived notions about each other.
Another showing of U.S./England companionship is through the Congressional Medal of Honor for the Unknown Warrior. This medal is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. The medal was given to the Unknown Warrior by the United States Government in 1921 to honor the soldiers lost in the First World War. This action was reciprocated by the Government of the United Kingdom awarding the Victoria Cross to the Unknown Warrior in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The Victoria Cross is the highest award given by the United Kingdom Government for gallantry in the face of the enemy to members of the British Armed Forces.
Order of the Bath
On May 18, 1725, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath was established as a military order by Letters Patent of George I. The name the Order of the Bath comes from its revival of a medieval tradition where the ceremony of knighthood included a physical cleansing in the form of a bath and a symbolic of spiritual purification by way of praying throughout the night before receiving the honour. The Order consists of three Classes of members, Knight or Dame Grand Cross, Knight or Dame Commander and Companion, which is usually made up of senior military officers or senior civil servants. After being installed into the order the member receives a stall-plate, banner and crest that is displayed in the abbey. The banner, crest, and mantling of each GCB (Knight Grand Cross) hang above his stall until his death when they are returned to his family, but a copper stall-plate enameled with his coat of arms remains as a permanent record. A green laurel wreath is hung above the seat for a short while after the death.
- Sir Winston Churchill. (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2017, from Westminster Abbey website: http://westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/sir-winston-churchill2
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2017, from Westminster Abbey website: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/franklin-delano-roosevelt
- Order of the Bath. (n.d). Retrieved May 8, 2017, from Westminster Abbey website: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/order-of-the-bath
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