Westminster Abbey
By: Winston McGregor III
• Served as a place of worship for over a
thousand years.
• Westminster Abbey’s official name is The
Collegiate Church of St Peter.
• Westminster is known among churches as a
“Royal Peculiar.” This means it is under the
jurisdiction of the crown and not within any
History (cont.)
• Important privilege to be under the jurisdiction
under the crown.
• This gave the Abbey full control over its finances
and day to day operations.
• Soon grew to be one of “the wealthiest religious
houses in the country.”
• Abbey was gaining more and more importance
over the years in the affairs of the crown. In fact,
the royal treasury was held until at least the 15th
century (in the Chapel of the Pyx), guarded
securely by six locks and a huge door, which still
stand today.
• It has been the setting for every Coronation
since 1066 (with the exception of Edward V
and Edward VIII).
• Among the most famous ceremonies that
occurred in the Norman Abbey were the
coronation of William the Conqueror on
Christmas day, 1066 and the canonization of
Edward the Confessor in 1161.
History (cont.)
• Also a burial place of kings, statesmen,
warriors, scientists, musicians and poets
• Over three thousand people are either buried or
memorialized in Westminster Abbey.
• Notable among these is the Unknown Warrior,
whose grave has recently become a place of
Christian Martyrs Statues
Maximilian Kolbe
Manche Masemola
Janani Luwum
Elizabeth of Russia
Martin Luther King
Oscar Romero
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Esther John
Lucian Tapiedi
Wang Zhiming
How Big is the Abbey?
• Floor area: 32,000 square feet
• Height of West Towers: 225 feet 4 inches
• Length of Henry VII chapel: l03 feet 9
• Height of Henry VII chapel: 60 feet 7 inches
• Width of whole chapel: 70 feet l inch
• Seating capacity at normal Services: about
Religious Relics Still in the Abbey
• The bones of St Edward the Confessor still lie
in his Shrine behind the High Altar but the
relics of other saints and religious artifacts
disappeared at the dissolution of the monastery
in l540.
Who Can Be Buried There Now?
• Dr. Wesley Carr (Dean of Westminster) must
give his permission for all burials and
monuments in the Church.
• People who have served the Abbey in an
official capacity can also be buried here.
Interesting Fact
• From 1245, when his work on the abbey
started, until his death in 1272, Henry III spent
over £40.000 on the rebuilding of the Abbey
(equivalent to that of the state's annual income
for two full years during his reign!!).
Resources and Additional Links
• http://www.westminster-abbey.org/
• http://www.castlesabbeys.co.uk/Westminster-Abbey.html