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TESTO DI ESEMPIO: westminster abbey
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.      Durata: 15:32 • 14 MB

The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster (Westminster Abbey), a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral, is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs.

It is located in Westminster, London, just to the west of Westminster Palace.


According to tradition, a shrine was first founded here in 616 on a site then known as Thorney Island.

It was said to have been miraculously consecrated after a fisherman on the River Thames saw a vision of Saint Peter.

While the existence of this shrine is uncertain, the historic Abbey was built by Edward the Confessor between 1045-1050 and was consecrated on December 28, 1065. Its construction originated in Edward's failure to keep a vow to go on a pilgrimage; the Pope suggested that he redeem himself by building an Abbey.

The original Abbey, in the Romanesque style that is called "Norman" in England, was built to house Benedictine monks. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style between 1245-1517. The first phase of the rebuilding was organised by Henry III, in Gothic style, as a shrine to honor Edward the Confessor and as a suitably regal setting for Henry's own tomb, under the highest Gothic nave in England. The work was largely finished by the architect Henry Yevele in the reign of King Richard II. Henry VII added a perpendicular style chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in 1503 (known as the Henry VII Lady Chapel).

Although the Abbey was seized by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1534, and closed in 1540, becoming a cathedral until 1550, its royal connections saved it from the destruction wrought on most other English abbeys. The expression "robbing Peter to pay Paul" may arise from this period when money meant for the Abbey, which was dedicated to St. Peter, was diverted to the treasury of St. Paul's Cathedral. It suffered damage during the turbulent 1640s, when it was attacked by Puritan iconoclasts, but was again protected by its close ties to the state during the Commonwealth period. Oliver Cromwell was given an elaborate funeral there in 1658, only to be disinterred in January 1661 and posthumously hanged from a nearby gibbet.

The Abbey was restored to the Benedictines under Queen Mary, but they were again ejected under Queen Elizabeth I in 1559. In 1579, Elizabeth re-established Westminster as a "royal peculiar" – a church responsible directly to the sovereign, rather than to a diocesan bishop – and made it the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, (i.e. a church with an attached chapter of canons, headed by a dean).

The abbey's two western towers were built between 1722 and 1745 by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, constructed from Portland stone to an early example of a Gothic Revival design. Further rebuilding and restoration occurred in the 19th century under Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Until the 19th century, Westminster was the third seat of learning in England, after Oxford and Cambridge. It was here that the first third of the King James Bible Old Testament and the last half of the New Testament were translated. The New English Bible was also put together here in the 20th century.

Since the Christmas Day coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all English monarchs (except Lady Jane Grey, Edward V and Edward VIII, who did not have coronations) have been crowned in the Abbey. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the traditional cleric in the coronation ceremony. St. Edward's Chair, the throne on which British sovereigns are seated at the moment of coronation, is housed within the Abbey.

Burials and Memorials
Henry III rebuilt the Abbey in honour of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor whose memorial and relics were placed in the Sanctuary. Henry III was buried nearby as were the Plantagenet kings of England, their wives and relatives. Subsequently, most Kings and Queens of England were buried here. Although Henry VIII and Charles I are buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, as are all monarchs and royals since George II.

Aristocrats were buried in side chapels and monks and people associated with the Abbey were buried in the Cloisters and other areas. One of these was Geoffrey Chaucer, who was buried here as he had apartments in the Abbey as he was employed as master of the Kings Works. Other poets were buried around Chaucer in what became known as Poets' Corner. Abbey musicians such as Henry Purcell were also buried in their place of work. Subsequently it became an honour to be buried or memorialised here. The practice spread from aristocrats and poets to generals, admirals, politicians, scientists, doctors, etc. These include:


Clement Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee
Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts
Charles Darwin
Paul Dirac
James Clerk Maxwell
J.J. Thompson
Ben Jonson
David Livingstone
Sir Isaac Newton
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
The Unknown Warrior

North Transept
William Ewart Gladstone
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt the Younger

South Transept
In Poets' Corner
Robert Adam
Robert Browning
William Camden
Thomas Campbell
Geoffrey Chaucer
William Congreve
Abraham Cowley
William Davenant
Charles Dickens
John Dryden
David Garrick
John Gay
George Frederick Handel
Thomas Hardy
Dr Samuel Johnson
Rudyard Kipling
Thomas Macaulay
John Masefield
Laurence Olivier, the Baron Olivier
Thomas Parr
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Edmund Spenser
Alfred Tennyson, the 1st Baron Tennyson


Aphra Behn

North Choir Aisle
Henry Purcell
Ralph Vaughan Williams

William Shakespeare, buried in Stratford-upon-Avon
Sir Winston Churchill, buried in Bladon, in Oxfordshire
Benjamin Disraeli, the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, buried in Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire
Adam Lindsay Gordon, buried in Australia

Ten 20-century Christian martyrs from across the world are depicted in statues above the Great West Door. Unveiled in 1998, these are, from left to right:

Maximilian Kolbe
Manche Masemola
Janani Luwum
Elizabeth of Russia
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Σscar Romero
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Esther John
Lucian Tapiedi
Wang Zhiming

The following were buried in the abbey but later removed on the orders of Charles II:

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector
Admiral Robert Blake

Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School are also on the grounds of the Abbey. Westminster School was originally founded by the Benedictine monks in 1179.

Nearest London Underground stations:
St. James's Park (on the District, Circle lines)
Westminster (on the Jubilee, District and Circle lines)

List of Abbots, Deans, and the Bishop of Westminster
Edwin 1049 – c. 1071
Geoffrey of Jumiθges c. 1071 – c. 1075
Vitalis of Bernay c. 1076 – 1085
Gilbert Crispin 1085 – 1117
Herbert 1121 – c. 1136
Gervase de Blois 1138 – c. 1157
Laurence of Durham c. 1158 – 1173
Walter of Winchester 1175 – 1190
William Postard 1191 – 1200
Ralph de Arundel (alias Papillon) 1200 – 1214
William de Humez 1214 – 1222
Richard de Berkying 1222 – 1246
Richard de Crokesley 1246 – 1258
Phillip de Lewisham 1258
Richard de Ware 1258 – 1283
Walter de Wenlok 1283 – 1307
Richard de Kedyngton (alias Sudbury) 1308 – 1315
William de Curtlyngton 1315 – 1333
Thomas de Henley 1333 – 1344
Simon de Bircheston 1344 – 1349
Simon de Langham 1349 – 1362
Nicholas de Litlyngton 1362 – 1386
William de Colchester 1386 – 1420
Edmund Kyrton 1440 – 1462
George Norwich 1463 – 1469
Thomas Millyng 1469 – 1474
John Esteney 1474 – 1498
George Fascet 1498 – 1500
John Islip 1500 – 1532
William Boston 1533 – 1540

Thomas Thirlby 1540 – 1550

Deans intra-Reformation
William Benson (Abbot Boston) 1540 – 1549
Richard Cox 1549 – 1553
Hugh Weston 1553 – 1556
restored by Mary I of England
John Feckenham 1556 – 1559

Deans post-Reformation
William Bill 1560 – 1561
Gabriel Goodman 1561 – 1601
Lancelot Andrewes 1601 – 1605
Richard Neile 1605 – 1610
George Montaigne 1610 – 1617
Robert Tounson 1617 – 1620
John Williams 1620 – 1644
Richard Steward (never installed) 1644 – 1651 (Commonwealth period)
John Earle 1660 – 1662
John Dolben 1662 – 1683
Thomas Sprat 1683 – 1713
Francis Atterbury 1713 – 1723
Samuel Bradford 1723 – 1731
Joseph Wilcocks 1731 – 1756
Zachary Pearce 1756 – 1768
John Thomas 1768 – 1793
Samuel Horsley 1793 – 1802
William Vincent 1802 – 1815
John Ireland 1816 – 1842
Thomas Turton 1842 – 1845
Samuel Wilberforce 1845
William Buckland 1845 – 1856
Richard Chenevix Trench 1856 – 1864
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley 1864 – 1881
George Granville Bradley 1881 – 1902
Joseph Armitage Robinson 1902 – 1911
Herbert Edward Ryle 1911 – 1925
William Foxley Norris 1925 – 1937
Paul de Labilliere 1938 – 1946
Alan Don 1946 – 1959
Eric Abbott 1959 – 1974
Edward Carpenter 1974 – 1985
Michael Mayne 1986 – 1996
Arthur Wesley Carr 1997 – present