Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is one of the world’s greatest churches.

According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site, then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island), in the 7th century, at the time of Mellitus (d. 624), a Bishop of London. The island was a marshy retreat from the City of London, flanked by two channels of the Tyburn River, which flowed where Downing Street and Great College Street now run. Construction of the present church was begun in 1245, on the orders of Henry III.

It is a designated World Heritage Site and ‘Royal Peculiar’, which means the Dean is directly answerable to the monarch. The coronation of Kings and Queens has taken place here since 1066, and many of the nation’s ...

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