An architectural masterpiece of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, Westminster Abbey also presents a unique pageant of British history – the Confessor’s Shrine, the tombs of Kings and Queens, and countless memorials to the famous and the great. It has been the setting for every Coronationes since 1066 and for numerous other Royal occasions. Today it is still a church dedicated to regular worship and to the celebration of great events in the life of the nation. Neither a catedhral nor a parish church, Westminster Abbey is a “royal peculiar” under the jurisdiction of a Dean and Chapter, subject only to the Sovereign.
Henry VII. Chapel: The great glory of this chapel – completed in 1519 vaulted roof. Since 1725 the Chapel has been used as the Chapel of the Order of the Bath. Behind the Altar is buried Henry VII. and his consort Elizabeth of York. Their monument is by the Italian sculptor Torrigiani. At the east end is the Royal Air Force Chapel. The brightly coloured memorial window incorporates the crests of the 68 Fighter Squadrons which, in 1940, took parte in the Battle of Britain.
Coronation Chair: This oak Chair was made for King Edward I by Master Walter of Durham. It was designed to hold the ancient stone of Scone seized from the Scots in 1296. For Coronations the chair is moved to a position in the Sanctuary. Since 1308 it has been used at the Coronation of every sovereign. Only two ( Edward V and Edward VII) were never crowned. Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor: The Abbey was consecrated 28 December 1065. Its founder , the saintly King Edward, was too ill to be present and died a few days afterwards. Two hundred years later Henry III began rebuilding the Abbey to house a shrine worthy of the Saint. Buried near the shrine are five Kings and four Queens. Poets’ Corner: The tomb to which Poets’ Corner owes its origin is that of Geoffrey Chaucer, the first great English poet. He was buried in the Abbey with a simple memorial in 1400. The placing here of memorials to poets began in earnest in the 18th century with the full – length statue of Shakespeare, carved over a century after his death. Location: At the south end of Whitehall and facing onto Parliament square, Westminster Abbey and the nearby Palace of Westminster. .
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