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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
This is where Coronations have been held for hundreds of years.
Location: Dean's Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3PA
Description: Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history - from the Benedictine monks who first came here in the middle of the 10th century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day.
The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.
The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.
A treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artefacts, Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation's history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.
The Library and Muniment Room houses the important (and growing) collections of archives, printed books and manuscripts belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, providing a centre for their study and for research into all aspects of the Abbey's long and varied history.
A recent addition to the display is the late 13th-century Westminster Retable, England's oldest altarpiece. It was most probably designed for the High Altar of the Abbey, although it has been damaged in past centuries. The panel has been expertly cleaned and conserved.
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