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Westminster Abbey as Necropolis

Westminster Abbey as Necropolis (81)

Westminster Abbey is famous for the large number of tombs and cenotaphs that it possesses. Specifically, we are speaking of some 600 monuments and funerary statues, while the number of people buried here is around 3,000.

What makes this authentic necropolis really interesting is that, apart from housing the relics of Saint Edward the Confessor and the pantheons of a large section of the monarchy, the abbey has a place for both an eternal resting place and sincere homage to figures from such diverse fields as the arts, literature, science and politics. This could be explained in part due to economic reasons. Since the abbey does not receive money from the Anglican Church or the State, burial was a good source of income for a time.

While the aristocrats are mainly buried in the different chapels, the main bulk of the tombstones and mausoleums of other distinguished figures are accumulated around the nave, the galleries and the transepts. In fact, during the tour you will discover that resting here, among many others, are Charles Darwin, father of the Theory of Evolution, and the illustrious composers Purcell and Handel. 

Westminster Abbey also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which pays homage to all the British who perished while serving in the two world wars.

At the southern end of the transept is probably one of the most well known corners of the abbey: what is called Poet’s Corner. Lovers of literature will especially appreciate this corner, since when the poet Edmund Spenser was buried close to the sepulchre of Geoffrey Chaucer the custom began to reserve this part of the transept to funerary monuments of distinguished men of letters. Look carefully and you will find buried men of letters of the category of Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling.

Poet’s Corner also pays homage to authors through busts and commemorative tombstones, as in the case of Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley and Sir Walter Scott.

Fans of another type of literature, the bestsellers of Dan Brown, have a challenge here: to find the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton. If The Da Vinci Code tempted you to start searching for enigmas, the mausoleum of the scientist will not disappoint you. 

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