Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey is an Anglican Church. The official name is “The Collegiate Church of St Peter”. It is one of European finest Gothic buildings, probably the most famous church in England. It is the scene (tegevuspaik, lava) of coronations, marriages and burials (matus) of British monarchs. The first abbey church was established as early as the 10th century, when St Dunstan brought a group of Bendictine monks to this area. Westminster Abbey was founded by Edward the Confessor (reigned 1042-66) in the 11th century. It was built, when the King wanted to enlarge the Benedictine monastery on Thorney Island. The work was consecrated on December 28, 1065, but Edward himself lived only another eight days. Harold Godwinson followed him as king, and he may have begun the tradition of royal coronations in the Abbey. Certainly Harold's successor, William the Conqueror, was crowned here, on December 25, 1066. Since William the Conqueror, with the exceptions of Kings Edward V (1483) and Edward VIII (1936), all coronations have taken place there. In 1245 Henry III (1216-1272) instructed French trained architects to begin to reconstruct Westminster Abbey in the Gothic style. The original church was taken down and during time it was rebuild into what now is known as Westminster Abbey. It contains one of the most impressive collections of tombs (matmispaik) and monuments in the world. Most British monarchs from Henry III to George II are buried here. Among the monuments in the nave are those of Winston Churchill and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, from WW1. Burial at Westminster Abbey is one of the rarest and greatest honours in Britain. The last sovereign to be buried in the abbey was George II (died 1760); since then they have been buried at Windsor. Most recently the funeral of Princess Diana was held at the Abbey in September 1997, although she was buried at Althrop, her family home in Northamptonshire. The The tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots The Abbey also houses monuments to many of Britain's most illustrious public figures. 'Poet's Corner', in the South Transept, contains memorials to famous literary figures. Famous is Poets' Corner. Some of the most famous buried here are Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. The last monarch to occupy the Coronation Chair was Queen Elizabeth II, who was crowned here in 1953. Westminster Abbey is a living church, not a museum. Worship is offered in the Abbey every day of the year. Each hour visitors are invited to pause for one minute to pray or meditate.