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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 BRA/665
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1568-1675
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.15 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Various.


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Benedictine monastery of Saint Peter in Westminster is better known as Westminster Abbey. The exact date of foundation is unclear. The monastery was situated on Thorney Island in the Thames, a suitable place because of the fresh water and food resources of the river. When Edward the Confessor became king in 1042 he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome, but as this would have been impractical the Pope released him from this vow on condition that he build or restore a monastery to the saint. He therefore moved his palace to Westminster and began work on a new monastery and church. The new building was completed in December 1065 and consecrated just 8 days before Edward died. William I (the Conqueror) was the first monarch to be crowned in the Abbey, and to date all but two of his successors have been crowned there.

After Edward the Confessor was canonised in 1139 the importance of the Abbey increased and various kings gave gifts, endowments and privileges to the monastery. Henry III began a rebuilding project in 1245, determined to make a sumptuous building, influenced by recent French architectural styles. Saint Edward was given a special shrine in a chapel. The rebuilding was not completed until 1532. The monastery was dissolved in 1540 but because of its royal associations it was saved from destruction. It became the cathedral of the new diocese of Westminster and a Dean and Chapter were appointed.

The Abbey is full of monuments and tombs including those of several kings and queens; churchmen; statesmen and politicians; members of the armed forces, poets and writers; scientists; explorers; architects; educators and actors. The dead of the First World War are commemorated by the monument to the Unknown Warrior.

Information from The London Encyclopaedia, eds. Weinreb and Hibbert (LMA Library Reference 67.2 WEI).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to property owned by the monastery and church of Saint Peter, Westminster [Westminster Abbey], including leases, assignments, demise, bargain and sale, and power of attorney.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

BRA/665/001 to BRA/665/013.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Gifted to the Archive in 1947.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The main records of Westminster Abbey are held at Westminster Abbey Muniment Room and Library. Further papers can be found at the British Library, The National Archives and the College of Arms. See the National Register of Archives on The National Archives website for a full list.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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