Westminster Abbey is traditionally reported to have been founded in the first quarter of the 600’s of our Common Era (CE or AD), during the time when Mellitus was the Bishop of London. Over 300 years later, Saint Dunstan and King Edgar created a monk community and based them at this abbey. King Edward the Confessor constructed a stone abbey as part of his palace, which was also built at this site. Then, it had to be rebuilt in 1245 by King Harold II as this was his chosen location for burial. For the next few centuries, building work continued, creating a rather beautiful holistic creation, despite its eclectic origins.
In 1539, King Henry VIII took direct control of Westminster Abbey and officially made it a cathedral. This status meant that it was spared when Henry VIII was destroying England’s other abbeys. Still, it lost its cathedral status in 1550.
Significantly, Westminster Abbey is the location at which the Old Testament and second half of the New Testament of the King James Bible were translated. During the 1900’s, the New English Bible was compiled here too.
Today, Westminster Abbey is still used for the coronation and burial of all the monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms, which include New Zealand, Jamaica, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, amongst others. It is also a very popular attraction for tourists, welcoming over a million guests every year.