Westminster Abbey burials and tombs

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

Westminster Abbey, located in the heart of London, is not only a magnificent architectural masterpiece but also a renowned resting place.

In this article, we will delve into the numerous Westminster Abbey burials and tombs- exploring the final resting places of monarchs, statesmen, poets, etc.

From kings and queens to literary icons, the abbey’s hallowed grounds hold the stories of those who have shaped British history and culture.

Join us as we uncover the rich tapestry of Westminster Abbey’s tombs, shedding light on the lives and legacies of the remarkable individuals interred within its walls. 

Royal Burials

Westminster Abbey is known for being the final resting place of numerous British monarchs and members of the royal family. 

The abbey’s Royal Burials section is dedicated to the interment of these esteemed individuals.

Here are a few notable royal burials and tombs within Westminster Abbey:

Edward the Confessor

The abbey’s founder and one of England’s patron saints, Edward the Confessor’s tomb, is in a shrine behind the High Altar. 

His tomb has been a site of pilgrimage for centuries.

Henry III

The medieval monarch, responsible for the abbey’s expansion and rebuilding, is buried alongside Edward the Confessor. 

His tomb is adorned with beautiful sculptures and ornate decorations.

Elizabeth I

The famous Tudor queen, known for her influential reign, is interred in a magnificent tomb in the Lady Chapel. 

Her tomb features a marble effigy and an inscription praising her achievements.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Despite being executed in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, was buried in the abbey in 1612. 

Her tomb, located in the south aisle of the Henry VII Chapel, is a striking monument.

James I

The first monarch of England and Scotland, James I, is buried alongside his wife, Anne of Denmark, in a grand tomb in the Henry VII Chapel.

Charles II

The Restoration monarch, Charles II, is buried in the vault beneath the Henry VII Chapel. 

His tomb is marked with a black marble slab.

William III and Mary II

The joint rulers of England, Scotland, and Ireland, William III and Mary II share a tomb in the Henry VII Chapel. 

The tomb is adorned with sculptures and inscriptions.

George III

The longest-reigning king in British history at the time, George III, is buried in a vault beneath the choir. 

A monument dedicated to him stands in the nave.

Poets’ Corner

Poet’s Corner
Image: Twitter.com

Nestled within the historic walls of Westminster Abbey, Poets’ Corner is a sanctuary that pays homage to some of the greatest literary minds in the English language.

This corner of the abbey has become a pilgrimage site for literature enthusiasts and a resting place for some of the world’s most beloved poets and writers.

Among the notable figures interred or commemorated in Poets’ Corner are Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, to name just a few. 

It is a space where visitors can pay homage to the power of language and the beauty of artistic expression.

Step into this sacred space and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of literary history that Poets’ Corner has to offer.

Scientists and Inventors

Westminster Abbey, known for its rich historical and cultural significance, holds the remains of brilliant scientists and inventors.

Within the hallowed walls of the abbey, one can find the final resting places of renowned scientists and inventors whose work has revolutionized various fields. 

From the towering figure of Sir Isaac Newton to the evolutionary Charles Darwin, you will find all the great minds laid to rest here.

The burials and tombs of these brilliant scientists and inventors resonate with their intellectual prowess, unwavering curiosity, and enduring impact on our world. 

Statesmen and Politicians

Westminster Abbey serves as the final resting place for numerous statesmen and politicians who have played pivotal roles in the political landscape of Britain.

One notable tomb is that of Sir Winston Churchill, the revered British Prime Minister who led the nation during World War II. 

His burial in the abbey symbolizes his indomitable spirit and unwavering leadership during a time of great adversity.

Another prominent figure interred in Westminster Abbey is David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister who guided Britain through World War I.

His tomb serves as a reminder of his progressive vision and political achievements.

Musicians and Composers

Musicians and Composers
Image: Thesun.co.uk

Within its hallowed walls, the abbey pays homage to the legacies of musical maestros whose melodies have resonated through the ages.

One of the most notable tombs in Westminster Abbey is that of renowned English composer Henry Purcell. 

Known for his contributions to Baroque music, Purcell’s tomb stands as a tribute to his lasting impact on the musical landscape. 

His compositions, including the iconic Funeral Music for Queen Mary, enchant audiences today.

Another celebrated musician laid to rest in the abbey is George Frideric Handel. 

The German-born composer, famous for his masterpiece “Messiah,” found his eternal abode within the grandeur of Westminster Abbey. 

Handel’s tomb serves as a reminder of his profound influence on classical music and his enduring legacy.

Military Heroes

The Abbey is home to numerous memorials and tombs that pay tribute to military heroes from different eras. 

Among them is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a poignant memorial representing all unidentified soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. 

This solemn and revered site serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by countless individuals in the name of freedom.

Westminster Abbey houses memorials dedicated to military leaders, such as Admiral Lord Nelson and Field Marshal Lord Kitchener. 

Their tombs testify to their exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to their country.

FAQs

1. How many are buried in Westminster Abbey?

While it is challenging to provide an exact count, it is estimated that there are over 3,000 burials and memorials within Westminster Abbey. 

These include monarchs, statesmen, poets, scientists, artists, and other influential individuals who have left their mark on British history and culture.

2. Can you see the tombs in Westminster Abbey?

Yes, visitors to Westminster Abbey can see the tombs and memorials within the abbey.

3. Who is the most famous person buried in Westminster Abbey?

there are several notable figures whose burials in Westminster Abbey have garnered significant attention over the years.

A few such figures are Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Jane Austen, and more.

4. Who is actually buried at Westminster Abbey?

Westminster Abbey is the final resting place for numerous notable individuals who contributed significantly to British history. 

These include British Monarchs, poets, writers, scientists, inventors, etc. 


Are you looking for the best tickets to explore Westminster Abbey?

Here are some of the best tickets for visiting Westminster Abbey and London. 

Entry ticket: Get the opportunity to tour around the cathedral, bell tower, tombs and more with the Westminster Abbey entry ticket.

Guided tour: Tour the famous Westminster Abbey with an expert guide and gain insights about the famous attraction

St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey: Enjoy St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey with one ticket.

Westminster Abbey and Afternoon Tea: Tour the Cathedral and visit the Cellarium Cafe for an English afternoon tea. 

Westminster Abbey and House of Parliament guided tour: Get a tour of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. 

London Pass: Enjoy access to over 85 attractions, including Westminster Abbey, with just one pass. 

Go City London explorer pass: Visit Westminster Abbey along with 1 to 6 other attractions with this pass. 

Featured Image: Westminster-abbey.org

Harshita
About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore