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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.
The Westminster Abbey opened in 1090 and still remains an active church today. It is always under improvements including an elevator being installed for the opening of 2018 to allow visitors to go and view above. There are many memorials and graves of those with high status over the years including poets, scientists, musicians, kings and queens, prime ministers, and politicians. It is also home to almost every royal wedding.
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 Abby.
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 also for his scientific accomplishments.
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".
Mary I (Bloody Mary)
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.
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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