Visit London England
Visit London England
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Written by Hedy Sadoc
Throughout the world people feel that "The Abbey", as Westminster Abbey is affectionately called, is theirs. It is indeed many different things to many different people: the setting for every coronation since 1066 and for many other royal events, world famous burial place of royals and other celebrities, a sculpture gallery of world renown, a quirky place...But it was founded as a Christian monastery and remains to this day first a place of worship.

Westminster Abbey - A Very Brief History of Coronations

With only two exceptions, every single English monarch has been crowned here, beginning with William the Conqueror on December 25, 1066, right down to Queen Elizabeth
II, on June 2, 1953. The Archbishop of Canterbury has this special right, a special chair is made at each coronation and the formula of the coronation oil is secret.

Westminster Abbey - Bells, Chimes and Burials

Westminster Abbey has had bells since 1220 and the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers provides ringing at the Abbey for major church festivals, Royal and civic events. The half-muffled Abbey bells were included in the worldwide broadcast of the funeral service for Princess Diana. In August 2000, the bell ringers of Westminster Abbey took their skills on
Westminster Abbey
tour for the first time, on a visit to the U.S. Westminster Abbey has no clock chimes. The "Westminster Chimes" are the chimes of the bells in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, where Big Ben is the bell that chimes the hour. As for burials, approximately 3,300 persons are buried in the Abbey, famous poets and writers like Charles Dickens and Robert Browning, musicians like George Frederic Handel, actors like Laurence Olivier and many famous people from all walks of life. The oldest man buried here is Thomas Parr who lived for 152 years and 9 months
through the reigns of ten monarchs, and the only one who is buried standing up is the Elizabethan poet Ben Jonson who, dying in great poverty, begged 18 inches of ground in the Abbey from King Charles I, or so the story goes.

Westminster Abbey - Frequently Asked Questions

How big is the Abbey? - Floor area: 2972 square meters; height of West Towers: 68 meters; seating capacity at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953: about 8,200 Are Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral the same building? - No. Westminster Abbey is an Anglican Church,
Westminster Abbey
part of the Church of England. Westminster Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church, near Victoria Station. Is there really an inscription of 1100 AD beginning "When I was young I thought I could change the world?" - We are sorry to say there is no such inscription even though it is quoted as such in a popular American anthology called "Chicken Soup for the Soul!"

Location and Hours of Operation

Westminster Abbey (Chapter Office), 20 Deans Yard, London SW1, near Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge Open Monday - Friday 9:00 - 16:45, Saturdays 9:00 - 14:45 (last admission 13:45); Sundays Worship only - no tourist visiting Admission Charges: Adults 6 Pounds, concessions 3 Pounds, Family (2 adults + 2 children) 12 Pounds, Under 11 years FREE

For further information, please call telephone No. 020 7222 5151 in London, England

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015