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Church in London. It was originally a Benedictine monastery. Edward the Confessor built a Norman-style church (consecrated 1065) on the site of an older church there; this was pulled down in 1245 by Henry III (except for the nave) and replaced with the present Gothic-style abbey church. The rebuilding of the nave was begun by 1376 and continued intermittently until Tudor times. The chapel of Henry VII (begun c. 1503) is noted for its exquisite fan vaulting. Elizabeth I refounded the church as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in Westminster (1560). The western towers (1745), by Nicholas Hawksmoor and John James, were the last addition. Every British sovereign since William the Conqueror has been crowned in the abbey except Edward V and Edward VIII. Many are also buried there, and it is crowded with the tombs and memorials to other famous Britons. Part of the southern transept is known as the Poets' Corner, while the northern transept has memorials to statesmen.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Westminster Abbey, visit Britannica.com.
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