The hallowed ground of Westminster Abbey holds a unique place in British history. It’s where coronations occur and the fallen and the famous rest and are remembered: namely, the Grave of the Unknown Warrior honoring all those who died in military conflict, with memorials to William Shakespeare, Sir Winston Churchill, William Blake, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, and Rudyard Kipling.
Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, and George Frideric Handel are all buried there, too, to name a few. It’s the site of every English sovereign’s coronation since William the Conqueror in 1066.
The abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery in 960 and then rebuilt in 1065 by Edward the Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon king and saint. Most of the abbey’s architecture is in the Gothic style, built by King Henry III in 1245. As such, it is one of the most important Gothic buildings in England.
Daily services are held at the abbey, but interestingly, the abbey is outside the jurisdiction of the Church of England. It’s neither a cathedral nor a parish church; as it reports directly to the monarch, it is called a “Royal Peculiar” and was deemed so by Queen Elizabeth I in 1560.