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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey will re-open for sightseeing visitors from Friday 21st May.

In the meantime, we remain open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily services. We are also open for individual prayer from 10:30am - 12:30pm, Monday to Saturday.

Ralph Arundel (alias Papillon)

Ralph Arundel (alias Papillon) was Abbot of Westminster from 1200 to 1214. He was buried in the nave of the old Norman Abbey at Westminster which was later demolished to build the current structure. So his grave is not marked.

It appears he was a secular clerk in the Benedictine monastery at Westminster before becoming a monk. He was then Almoner and also Prior of Hurley from about 1173-1200. This was a cell of Westminster Abbey in Berkshire.

During his time as abbot King John restored the manor of Islip in Oxfordshire, birthplace of Edward the Confessor, to the Abbey. He did write several sermons but copies of these no longer exist. Ralph was deposed by the authority of the Papal Legate due to complaints about his management of funds. However provisions were made for his retirement out of the manors of Teddington and Sunbury. He died on 12th August 1223.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


12th August 1223


Abbot; priest/minister



Ralph Arundel (alias Papillon)
The Nave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

You are surrounded by history at the Abbey, not like a museum where it’s just displayed, but here you are standing where history has happened.

Gerlinde - Abbey Marshal

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