The church is neither a cathedral nor a parish church, but it is owned directly by the royal family. The Gothic monastery church is a symbol of England's history, and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs since the 1300s. The church briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1546–1556, but is currently a Royal Peculiar. The coronation throne can be seen in the abbey.
The church has one of the most glorious medieval architecture in London, with the oldest parts dating from the year 1050. For ages, the focus of pilgrimages to Westminster Abbey since the Middle Ages has been The Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor in whose honor Henry III rebuilt the Abbey. Most English kings and queens were buried here. Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, George Frederick Handel, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens are just few of the Burials in the South Transept (Poets' Corner). The Poet's Corner full of memorials to some of the greatest giants of literature. The aristocrats were buried in the side chapels of Westminster Abbey. Tombs of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin or Ben Jonson can be seen in the Nave. The body of musician Henry Purcell also rests here.
Every year the church welcomes over one million visitors who want to see the living footstep of British history in this 700-year-old building.
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