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Westminster Abbey is a treasure house of paintings, stained glass, textiles and artefacts – and is also where some significant people are buried or remembered.
The present Abbey building dates mainly from the reign of Henry III. In 1245 he pulled down the eastern part of the 11th century Abbey.
History of Westminster Abbey
An architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries, Westminster Abbey houses tombs and memorials to kings and queens and the famous and the great.
The Cosmati Pavement was laid down in 1268 by order of Henry III who had started re-building the Abbey in the new Gothic style.
The Jerusalem Chamber is a medieval room with an original roof and historic tapestries woven in France. King Henry IV died here in 1413.
These are two rooms over the entrance to the cloisters, originally part of Nicholas Litlyngton's rebuilidng of the Abbot's house complex in the 14th century.
This is the oldest continuously used dining room in London. It was finished in 1376. Today it is the main dining hall for Westminster School.
At the eastern end of the Lady Chapel is the Royal Air Force chapel dedicated to the men who died in the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Abbey in Wartime
On the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 many of the Abbey's treasures were evacuated for safety to country houses, such as Mentmore.
The 16th-century historian John Leland called the Henry VII Lady Chapel ‘the wonder of the world’ and it continues to inspire wonder amongst visitors today.
Come to one of the daily choral services at Westminster Abbey and you will hear our Choir singing from their stalls in the quire.
The Cloisters date mainly from the 13th to the 15th centuries and were where the Abbey’s monks spent much of their time.
The "incomparable" 13th century Chapter House in the East Cloister was a daily meeting place for the monks and contains many mural paintings.
College Garden, within the walls of the Abbey, has been in cultivation for over 900 years. It was used to grow food and medicinal herbs.
The Pyx Chamber is one of the oldest surviving parts of Westminster Abbey. This room in the east cloister is part of the Undercroft which was built about 1070.
Britain's Oldest Door
Britain's oldest door can be found in Westminster Abbey, in the passage leading to the Chapter House.
The Nave is at the western end of the Abbey and contains the graves and memorials of many famous people.