Westminster Abbey (correct title: The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster)


dates and text immediately below quoted from the official website:

l245-l272: Henry III began pulling down the old Norman church to rebuild it in the new Gothic style. The eastern part and the transepts appear to have been finished by l259. The choir was completed by l269 when the building was consecrated. A small section of the nave had been finished by the time of Henry's death in l272, but the old Norman nave still remained attached to the larger Gothic building. The master masons were Henry of Reyns, John of Gloucester and Robert of Beverley.

l376-l5l7: The Norman Nave was gradually demolished and rebuilt, as finance became available, retaining the original Gothic style of the eastern part of the Abbey so that the church appears to be all of the same date. The top parts of the west towers remained unfinished. Henry Yevele was the master mason in the early period.

l503: The foundation stone of Henry VII's chapel was laid after the earlier Lady Chapel had been demolished. This is built in the Perpendicular style of architecture, with a magnificent fan-vaulted roof.





Left: the west front; right: the north side looking toward the west

Although the gothic lower part was completed in the fifteenth century, the top parts of the western towers were completed in 1745 in a more classical style. Nicholas Hawksmore altered the original designs of Sir Christopher Wren.
The sculptures on the west front were all added in recent years, most recently (1998) the ten statues above the door, honoring twentieth century Christian martyrs--the fifth from the left is Martin Luther King.
 

The nave exterior

Built primarily of limestone from Caen France, the church is 530 feet long (including the nave, choir, the Confessor's Chapel, and Lady Chapel or Henry VII's chapel at the far east end); the nave is only about 166 feet of the total.
 

The north transept

 

Lady Chapel or Henry VII's chapel from the east; views of the roof

 

Lady Chapel or Henry VII's chapel from the east

 




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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

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