Westminster Abbey Museum

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The Westminster Abbey Museum is located in the 11th-century vaulted undercroft beneath the former monks' dormitory in Westminster Abbey, London, England. This is one of the oldest areas of the Abbey, dating back almost to the foundation of the Norman church by Edward the Confessor in 1065. This space has been used as a museum since 1908.[1]


The exhibits include a unique collection of royal and other funeral effigies (funeral saddle, helm and shield of Henry V), together with other treasures, including some panels of medieval glass, 12th-century sculpture fragments, Mary II's coronation chair and replicas of the coronation regalia. There also are effigies of Edward III, Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth I, Charles II, William III, Mary II and Queen Anne.

Later wax effigies include a likeness of Horatio, Viscount Nelson, wearing some of his own clothes and another of Prime Minister William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, modelled by the American-born sculptor Patience Wright.[citation needed] During recent conservation of Elizabeth I's effigy a unique corset dating from 1603 was found on the figure and is now displayed separately.[citation needed]

A recent addition to the display is the late 13th-century Westminster Retable, England's oldest altarpiece, which was most probably designed for the High Altar of the Abbey. Although damaged in past centuries, the panel has been expertly cleaned and conserved.


  1. ^ Trowles, T. (2008) Treasures of Westminster Abbey, London: Scala, p. 156. ISBN 978-1-85759-454-6

Further reading[edit]

  • Nixon, Enid (1989). "Problems and Rewards of the Small Museum Complex at Westminster Abbey". International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship 8 (3): 279–290. doi:10.1080/09647778909515171. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′56″N 0°07′39″W / 51.49876°N 0.12753°W / 51.49876; -0.12753