Westminster Abbey, also known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a Gothic church, adjacent to the Palace of Westminster in London. Together with the nearby St Margaret's Church, the Palace and the Abbey are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The construction of the current church began in 1245 by Henry III on the site of a Romanesque building erected by Benedictine monks in the 11th century. Henry Yevele, a medieval master builder, rebuilt the church in a Gothic style. Later, during the reign of Henry VII, between 1503 and 1519 the Lady Chapel was added to the building, today known as Henry VII Chapel. The northern entrance of the church has a Gothic façade with a large rosette. The façade in the west, with its two symmetrical Gothic towers, was built in 1722 by Nicholas Hawksmoor and Christopher Wren, who used Portland stone, however retaining the Gothic style of the rest of the church.
The abbey was founded in the 10th century in the Catholic tradition of the Church of Rome. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church with the Act of Supremacy in 1534, and the Anglican Church was established with the king taking the position of Supreme Head of the Church of England. This division took place because the king desired to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, so that he can marry his lover Anne Boleyn, but the Pope refused the annulment. Despite the secession, most of the Catholic Church traditions were retained, along with the sacraments and the Bible.
In the abbey lots of England's famous personages were buried, including many kings. Moreover, the abbey has been used for hosting large events such as coronations and royal wedding ceremonies. Recently, it hosted the wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
It is possible that the English expression 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' comes from the period when the money given to the abbey and dedicated to St. Peter was used to enlarge the treasury of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Inside of Westminster Abbey you can also find: St Margaret's ,