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History

Pyx Chamber

The Pyx Chamber is one of the oldest surviving parts of Westminster Abbey.

This low vaulted room off the East Cloister is part of the Undercroft, underneath the monk’s dormitory, which was built about 1070. The Chamber was walled off in the 12th century and made into a treasury in the 13th century, and possibly used as a sacristy when Henry III was rebuilding the main Abbey. The chamber still possesses its medieval tiled floor and some tiles from the 11th century.

The Pyx Chamber

The Pyx Chamber

It takes its name 'Pyx' from wooden boxes in which silver and gold pieces were kept secure to await the "Trial of the Pyx" - melting down the measured silver content as a way of showing that the coinage was pure. The stone table (not an altar) against the east wall was used to test the silver. The Trial continues to this day in Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London.

The altar and crucifix in the Pyx Chamber

The crucifix in the Pyx Chamber

Further reading

Chapter House and Pyx Chamber Guide

"Pyx chamber unmasked" by W. Rodwell & "Medieval picture proved the key" [Pyx trial] by R. Turner in Westminster Abbey Review no.3 Winter 2017-18

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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