Registered Charity No: 1116371 (England & Wales).
It is difficult to overstate the importance of Westminster Abbey in the nation’s spiritual, historical and cultural make-up. For 1000 years it has shared our country’s tragedies and celebrations. This Gothic masterpiece is the burial place or memorial site of over 3,300 souls including statesmen, poets, scientists, warriors and 17 monarchs. Since 1066, it has been the coronation church and it is the national church of the Commonwealth. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Abbey welcomed over 1.2m visitors and worshippers each year.
Two little known facts about Westminster Abbey…
1) In 1560, Queen Elizabeth I established Westminster Abbey as a ‘royal peculiar’ placing it outside the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Church of England and making it directly accountable to the sovereign. This means that Westminster Abbey receives no funding from the Church, Crown or Government.
2) The Abbey is entirely reliant on tourism for its day-to-day needs and basic maintenance. This has always been a precarious income source, being easily affected by unpredictable things such as exchange rates, terrorism and even the 2012 Olympics, all of which have created sporadic decreases to its income. Since Covid-19 hit in March 2020, the Abbey has faced one of the biggest financial threats to preserving its rich cultural heritage in its 1000-year history, with little change in sight.
A legacy to any aspect of the Abbey’s work from its music, choir school and education programmes, to mission/worship, or conservation of its fabric & collections would help to protect this national monument for future generations – now more so than ever.