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Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Church*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey
State Party Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 426
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1987  (11th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The Anglican church of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey is situated in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, and is the parish church[1] of the British Houses of Parliament in London. It is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch.[2]



Originally founded in the 12th century by Benedictine monks, so that local people who lived in the area around the Abbey[3] could worship separately at their own simpler parish church, and historically part of the hundred of Ossulstone in the county of Middlesex,[4] St. Margaret's was rebuilt from 1486 to 1523. It became the parish of the Palace of Westminster in 1614, when the Puritans of the 17th century, unhappy with the highly liturgical Abbey, chose to hold Parliamentary services in the more "suitable" St. Margaret's,[5] a practice that has since continued.

The North-West tower was rebuilt by John James from 1734 to 1738; at the same time, the whole structure was encased in Portland stone. Both the eastern and the western porch were added later by J. L. Pearson. The church's interior was greatly restored and altered to its current appearance by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1877,[6] although many of the Tudor features have remained.

Notable features include the Eastern window of 1509 of Flemish stained glass, created to remember the betrothal of Catherine of Aragon to Prince Arthur,[7] elder brother of Henry VIII. Other windows commemorate William Caxton, Britain's first printer, who was buried at the church in 1491, Sir Walter Raleigh, executed in Old Palace Yard[8] and then also buried in the church in 1618, and the poet John Milton, a parishioner of the church. The collector Henry Constantine Jennings is also buried there.[9]

The church has been a common venue for "society" weddings, including those of Samuel Pepys[10] and Sir Winston Churchill.[11] and members of the Bright Young People.[12] The ensemble of St. Margaret's, the Palace of Westminster, and Westminster Abbey is a World Heritage Site.


The organ is largely built by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.



St. Margaret's has a lengthy musical tradition;

Other burials



  1. ^ Westminster Abbey. "St. Margaret's, Westminster Parish details". Retrieved 2008-05-03.  
  2. ^ Pevsner, N.; Bradley, Simon (2003). The Buildings of England: London 6 - Westminster. Uxbridge: Penguin. ISBN 0300095953.  
  3. ^ McManus, Mark. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Retrieved 2008-05-03.  
  4. ^ Hawgood, David. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Genuki (Genealogy UK & Ireland). Retrieved 2008-05-03.  
  5. ^ Wright, A.; Smith, P. (1868). Parliament past and present. London: Hutchinson & Co.  
  6. ^ Scott, G. G. (1995) [1879]. Stamp, G.. ed. Personal and Professional Recollections. [Uxbridge: Sampson Low Marston Searle & Rivington] Donington: Paul Watkins Publishing. ISBN 1871615267.  
  7. ^ Starkey, D. (2004). Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0060005505.  
  8. ^ Smith, Christopher. "Sir Walter Raleigh - Execution". Britannia Biographies. Retrieved 2008-05-03.  
  9. ^ Angelicoussis, E. (2004). "Jennings, Henry Constantine (1731–1819)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019861411X.  
  10. ^ Pepys, S. (1987). Samuel Pepys. ed. The Illustrated Pepys: Extracts from the Diary. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0141390166.  
  11. ^ Gilbert, M. (1991). Churchill: A life. London: Heinnemann. ISBN 0434291838.  
  12. ^ Taylor, D.J. (2009). Bright Young People The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age. Fsg Adult. ISBN 0374116830.  
  13. ^ Dwight's Journal of Music, p.331

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′00″N 0°07′37″W / 51.5°N 0.12694°W / 51.5; -0.12694


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