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Historical Influences of Architectural Design of Westminster Abbey Essay Example

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Historical Influences of Architectural Design of Westminster Abbey

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11th century and the reign of Edward the Confessor sparked the construction of the simple abbey that would evolve to be one of the architectural marvels of the modern world. It then tackles the entrance of the 12th century and the important contributions of King Henry III to the creation of a magnificent gothic church at England’s capital. The second portion deals with the church’s architecture. An analysis of the exterior and interior aspects of Westminster Abbey is conducted by streamlining the various designs and styles, which produced the outcome. Such analysis is then related to the historical context of the church’s formative years in order to produce a conclusive account of architectural history.The 11th century was included in the 3-century span of the Central Middle Ages, from 1000-1300, where the disintegration of the strong Roman Empire was realized in the Early Middle Ages. During that century, a direct by-product of the previous years caused the apparent struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy in Rome, not to mention the autonomy instituted by the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Bennett and Hollister, xv & 266). On a political standpoint, it was clear that religious strife that would establish dominance over Europe was as important as the clash of kingdoms and empires. As religious monarchy flourished in the name of the propagation of a certain religious denomination, independent nation states began to emerge as well. England was well underway in line with a monarchical leadership. The sacred monarchy carried by religious kingdoms in the Early Middle Ages evolved into a bureaucratic monarchy in the Central Middle Ages. Royal administration with a systematic distribution of powers was the one that England had adopted in the 11th century (Bennett and Hollister, 266).Though a secular state, the influence of the church was undeniable. Before the monumental rise of William I or most popularly known as William the Conqueror in 1066 (Bennett and Hollister, 267), his predecessor King Edward the Confessor sparked the establishment of what would come to be one of London’s most influential religious structures. King Edward, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings of England, had an abbey constructed which the monarch consecrated in 1065. A few days after and at the dawn of 1066, King Edward died and was succeeded by a line of Anglo-Norman kings; the first of who was King William I. King Edward’s tomb was

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Works Cited

Bennett, Judith M. and C. Warren Hollister. Medieval Europe: A Short History. New York:

McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006. Print.

Binski, Paul. “The Cosmati at Westminster and the English Court Style”. The Art Bulletin

March, 1990: pp. 6-34. Print.

Lewis, Suzanne. “Henry III and the Gothic Rebuilding of Westminster Abbey: The Problematics

of Context”. Traditio, 1995: pp. 129-172. Print.

Mortimer, Richard (ed.). Edward the Confessor: The Man and the Legend. New York: The

Boydell Press, 2009. Print.

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