Westminster Abbey

The formal name of England's contribution to Christendom's seven most famous churches is The Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, but because it is (and always has been) an abbey church (whence the word "collegiate" in its formal name), it is more familiarly known as simply Westminster Abbey. The earliest documented ecclesiastical structure on its present site was a church dedicated to St. Peter as part of a Benedictine monastery (i.e, a "minster") in the first half of the 8th century. Probably because that monastery or 'minster' lay to the west of London city at that time, it was informally called 'West Minster' from its beginning.
    King Edward ("the Confessor") caused the entire abbey to be rebuilt with a new church in Norman architectural style in the 11th century, but in the 13th century King Henry III commanded a complete redesign and rebuilding of the church on a larger scale. Down to the present day it has retained that same design through all its intervening renovations and improvements, and it has been the place of royal burials since its consecration in 1269. Only the twin towers over the west façade, added in the first half of the 18th century, have materially changed the overall appearance of the edifice since its foundation in the 13th century.

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