Significant Monarchs in the History of Westminster Abbey

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Significant Monarchs in the History of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, an architectural accomplishment from the thirteenth century on, gives an illustrative display of British history. While daily worship still exists, it isn't a cathedral or a parish church (Internet Westminster). The elaborate Lady Chapel, the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, as well as tombs and memorials for kings, queens, the famous and great, allow the Abbey to be considered a "Royal Peculiar", which means that it falls under direct control of the British monarch (Internet Westminster). While every king or queen is significant, a small number have made an impact on the Abbey. Nobility of which include St. Edward the Confessor William the Conqueror Henry III, Richard II, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, George VI and Elizabeth II.

With minimal amounts of historical documentation, it is difficult to determine whether a church survived prior to Westminster Abbey (Internet Chronology). While the Venerable Bede provides no records of a pre-existing church, folklore attributes the establishment to King Serbert of the East Saxons (Internet St. Edward). He is also recognized for founding St. Paul's Cathedral in London (St. Edward). King Serbert built the Benedictine church in 616 AD, after a fisherman is said to have been on the Thames river when he witnessed a vision of St. Peter (Internet Saint Peter). St. Peter is given credit for allegedly consecrating the church himself (Internet St. Edward). One of the Twelve Apostles, the Gospel mentions that he was the first to profess his faith believing Jesus was the Son of God (Internet Chronology). Charters found in the Abbey support the existing folklore (Chronology). Records prove that King Offa made a grant for the monastery in 785 ‘to St. Peter and the needy people of God in Thorney in the terrible, awful place which is called "act Westmunster"' (Chronology). The charter was also significant in first naming Westminster, setting it apart from its brother to the east, St. Paul's Cathedral (Internet St. Edward). From Glastonbury to Westminster, St. Dunstan, Bishop of London, brought twelve monks to the Abbey around 960 AD (St. Edward). A charter granting land to the church in 961, by King Edgar, refers to a church existing in the area (Internet Chronology). However a place of worship originated there, it is Edward the Confessor who is credited with the establishment of Westminster Abbey.

Last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, Edward was born in 1004 to King Ethelred and Queen Emma (Internet St. Edward). He had a brother, Alfred, and was also the half-brother of both King Edmund Ironside and King Hardicanute (St. Edward). Edmund was Ethelred's son from his first wife, while Hardicanute was from Emma's second marriage with King Canute (St. Edward). In 1013 Danish invasions of England forced Emma to move her sons and herself to Normandy to live with their uncle, the Duke of Normandy (St. Edward). It was during his time living in the court of his uncle that Edward familiarized himself with the country and it's leaders (Internet Edward). This kind of exposure later led to influence his reign (Edward).

When King Canute passed away in 1035, his illegitimate son, Harold Harefoot, seized the throne (Internet Edward). Returning to England in 1036, Alfred and Edward made an attempt to gain the crown (Internet St. Edward). However, when Alfred was captured and put to death, Edward returned to Normandy (St. Edward). It wasn't until 1041, that Edward was called back to England to spend his time co-ruling the nation with Hardicanute (Internet Edward). In 1042, at the death of his half-brother, Edward was crowned king. The ceremony took place at Winchester Cathedral (Edward).

Due to his life spent in Normandy, Edward sympathized greatly for the country, thus angering the nobles of Danish and Saxon dissent (Internet Edward). This then led to anti-Norman opinions among the people and...
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