Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic buildings in London, and a symbol of England’s rich history and cultural heritage. It has been the site of coronations, royal weddings, and many other important events in British history. However, the process of building this magnificent structure was not easy or straightforward. In this article, we will explore the history of Westminster Abbey and the timeline for its construction.
How Long Did Westminster Abbey Take to Build?
Westminster Abbey took several centuries to build, adding or rebuilding different sections over time. Construction of the current Gothic-style abbey began in 1245, and it took around 30 years to complete the eastern part of the building. Various additions and renovations were made over the following centuries.
The Early History of Westminster Abbey
The site where Westminster Abbey stands today has a long and rich history. It was originally an island in the middle of the Thames River, known as Thorney Island. The first church on the site was built by the Saxons in the 7th century, and it was dedicated to St. Peter. However, the church was destroyed by the Vikings in the 9th century.
It was not until the 11th century that the site was redeveloped by Edward the Confessor, who commissioned a new church to be built on the site. Edward was a devout Christian, and he wanted to build a grand church that would rival the great cathedrals of Europe. The church he built was known as the “West Minster” or “Western Monastery”, and it became the center of English religious life.
Building Westminster Abbey
The construction of Westminster Abbey as we know it today began in 1245, during the reign of Henry III. Henry wanted to build a new church that would reflect his own power and wealth, and he spared no expense in the process. He brought in skilled craftsmen from all over Europe, and the building process continued for over 250 years.
During this time, there were many significant changes and additions to the structure. The cloisters were added in the 14th century, the Lady Chapel was completed in the 16th century, and the two western towers were added in the 18th century. Each new addition added to the grandeur and complexity of the structure, but it also added to the length of the building process.
Timeframe for Building Westminster Abbey
The estimated timeline for the construction of Westminster Abbey was around 100 years. However, in reality, the building process took much longer. The construction of the building continued for over 250 years, from 1245 to 1509. Even after the main structure was completed, there were still many smaller details that needed to be finished, such as the stained-glass windows and the intricate carvings in the choir stalls.
The actual timeline for the construction of Westminster Abbey shows just how difficult and time-consuming the building process was. However, despite the challenges faced during construction, the finished product was worth the effort. Today, Westminster Abbey stands as a testament to the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who built it, and a reminder of the rich history of England.
In conclusion, the construction of Westminster Abbey was a long and difficult process that spanned over 250 years. However, the finished product is a testament to the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who built it, and a symbol of England’s rich cultural heritage. It continues to be an iconic structure, visited by millions of people each year, and will undoubtedly stand for many more centuries to come.