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A Royal Peculiar (or Royal Peculier) is a place of worship that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the British monarch, rather than under a bishop. The concept dates from Anglo-Saxon times, when a church could ally itself with the monarch and therefore not be subject to the bishop of the area. Later it reflected the relationship between the Norman and Plantagenet kings and the English church. Unlike many of the ecclesiastical foundations of the medieval period the Royal Peculiars were not abolished in the English Reformation effected under the Tudors.
Royal Peculiars of the present day
- The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster commonly known as Westminster Abbey, and containing Henry VII's chapel which is the chapel of the Order of the Bath.
- The chapels associated with the Chapel Royal, which refers not to a building but to an establishment in the Royal Household; a body of priests and singers to explicitly serve the spiritual needs of the Sovereign.
- The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, exempt from any bishop's jurisdiction and a private chapel of the sovereign in right of the Duchy of Lancaster. It is the chapel of The Royal Victorian Order. The number of members of the order in recent years has outgrown the available space in the Savoy Chapel so the service for those who have received awards is now held in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle every four years.
- The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft - the crypt of the former St Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster is also a Royal Peculiar. The building is administered through the Lord Great Chamberlain and Black Rod and it has no dedicated clergy: by convention services were conducted by the Rector of St Margaret's, Westminster, a member of the Chapter of Westminster Abbey. In 2010 the Speaker of the House of Commons used his right of appointment to nominate an outsider, Revd. Rose Hudson-Wilkin.
- The Royal Foundation of St Katharine founded in 1147 by Queen Matilda as a religious community and medieval hospital for poor infirm people next to the Tower of London.
- St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, the chapel of the Order of the Garter.
- Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor (in the grounds of the Royal Lodge)
The following chapels of the Inns of Court are extra-diocesan, and therefore peculiars, but not Royal:
Former Royal Peculiars
- Canons of Dover Priory until 1130
- Holy Trinity, Minories, London until 1730
- St. Mary and St. Alkeld, Middleham until 1845
- Wimborne Minster 1318 – 1846
- St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton 1479 – 1846
- The Deanery of St. Buryan comprising St Buryan's Church in St. Buryan, St. Sennen's Church, Sennen, and St. Levan's Church, St. Levan until 1850
- The Deanery of Bridgnorth until 1856
- Dorchester Abbey 1536-1837
- "Church of England | Dioceses". Anglicans Online. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft - UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Diocese of London – Cathedral and Royal Peculiars
- Deanery of Westminster - extra-parochial places
- Report of Review Group on the Royal Peculiars 2001
- The British Monarchy – Royal Victorian Order
- Listing and description from Anglicans Online