Westmintser Cathedral

Westminster Abbey
Robert Hwang (X)
November 2012
Westminster Abbey - introduction
• Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster,
located in the City of Westminster, by the Thames
in South West London.
• Initially established by King Edward the
Confessor (later Saint Edward) in 1040.
• The building was subsequently enhanced, the
present church begun by King Henry III in 1245.
• English Gothic architecture masterpiece.
• Still a working church, but one that represents a
unique pageant of British history
Westminster Abbey – connections
with royals and famous people
• Royal connections
– medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint at its heart of
the building.
– Unbroken role as the coronation church since 1066
– final resting place of 17 monarchs
– Conducted many royal funerals
– Hosted 16 royal weddings
• Connections with famous people
– burial place for several prominent people in British
Slide 3
Westminster Abbey – Gothic
• Gothic architecture
– Introduced from France (style of the medieval period)
– English Gothic flourished between 1180-1520
• Westminster Abbey has many of the defining characteristics of
English Gothic, as follows:
pointed arches and large windows
large windows
vaulted roof and ceiling
narrow nave
• At Westminster Abbey, the physical characteristics combine in such
a way as to appeal to the emotions
Westminster Abbey – Benedictine
monastery / Jerusalem Chamber
• Benedictine monastery history
– Monks at Westminster Abbey
– Dissolution by King Henry VIII
– Reign of the protestant Elizabeth I
• Jerusalem Chambers
– The principal room in the medieval house of the
Abbots of Westminster (this house known as Cheyneygates)
– Rich tapestries
– Historic significance of Jerusalem Chambers
Westminster Abbey – World War II
• Blitz
– numerous bombing raids by the Luftwaffe
– night of 10 May 1941
• Protection of treasures
– evacuation
– protection
• Building usage during the War
• Victory celebrations
– Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8th May 1945
– Victory over Japan (VJ) Day on 15th August 1945
Westminster Abbey - conclusion
• Worship
– A living church today, part of the Church of
England, with daily services.
• Historic significance
– One of the world’s greatest churches, a designated
World Heritage site
– reflects key events in British history
• Architectural significance
– masterpiece of English Gothic architecture

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