Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous churches in all of England, as it is the burial and coronation site of most British monarchs, as well as the site of many royal weddings. It was built in Westminster, London, England in the Gothic Style. Traditionally, it is claimed that the site was founded in the time of Mellitus, the bishop of London, when a fisherman Aldrich saw a vision of St. Peter on the site. This is the explanation of why the Fishmonger’s society and Medieval fisherman gave gifts of salmon to the Abbey every year. It was positively founded by the 970’s, when St. Dunstan and King Edgar installed a group of Benedictine monks here. Edward the Confessor built the first church on the site in the Norman Romanesque style and consecrated it around 1065; he himself was buried there, and the chair he used for his coronation is still there, used for each successive coronation up to the present day. The first documented coronation in the Abbey was of William the Conqueror in 1066. The only image of the Abbey as it stood then is preserved in the Bayeux Tapestry. Construction of the present Abbey was begun in 1245 by Henry III. He rebuilt it in honor of Edward the Confessor; it was completed under Richard II. Henry VII added the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1940, it suffered minor damage during the Blitz but survived. Many royal weddings happened here, including Henry I and Matilda, Richard II and Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, Andrew Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, and most recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The number of famous people buried here is staggering. Here is a partial list: Edward the Confessor and wife, Edith; Henry III; Edward I and Eleanor; Edward III and Philippa of Hainault; Richard II and Anne; Henry V and Catherine; Edward V; Richard III’s wife Anne Neville; Henry VII and Elizabeth; Edward VI; Anne of Cleves; Mary I; Elizabeth I; James VI and Anne; Charles II; Mary II; William III; George II and Caroline; Mary, Queen of Scots; Neville Chamberlain; Charles Darwin; Sir Isaac Newton; William Gladstone; William Wilberforce; Robert Browning; Geoffrey Chaucer; Charles Dickens; Thomas Hardy; Rudyard Kipling; Laurence Olivier; Alfred Tennyson; and Henry Purcell.