Westminster Abbey London England about 1892

Westminster Abbey London England about 1892

WESTMINSTER ABBEY LONDON — If only one object in London could be selected for inspection by American tourists, it would doubtless be Westminster Abbey. The original church was erected here about the year 610, but this and two successors were pulled down and rebuilt, till finally this present Abbey was constructed in the reign of Henry III. It is in the form of a Latin cross four hundred feet in length. Although impressive and in places beautiful, its Gothic exterior will not account for the fascination which this building exerts upon the visitor. That is unquestionably due to the fact that for so many centuries it has been the English Pantheon, the burial place of kings and queens, statesmen, generals, explorers, orators, philosophers and literary geniuses. Thirteen English Kings and fourteen Queens are here entombed. Here also is preserved, as every visitor may see, the ancient chair in which all English sovereigns have been crowned (and most of them in this Cathedral) since Edward I. Here are the tombs of Queen Elizabeth and her fair rival and victim, Mary Queen of Scots, now lying ’neath the same Cathedral roof. The one apparently completely triumphed and saw the body of her hated cousin entombed within an unpretending sepulchre! But posterity has been more just. The murdered Mary’s son ascended England’s throne, and Mary’s tomb was placed beside Elizabeth’s in England’s noblest shrine; and not a day goes by, or has gone by for centuries, but pilgrims to Westminster stand beside their graves and sigh in pity for the one, and blame the conduct of the other! (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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