St Margaret's, Westminster

St Margaret's, Westminster

St Margaret's, Westminster Abbey
St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey. The Central Tower of the Palace of Westminster is in the background.
Location City of Westminster, London, UK
Founded 12th Century
Rebuilt 1486 to 1523
Official name: Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Church
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Designated 1987 (11th session)
Reference no. 426
Country United Kingdom
Region Europe and North America
St Margaret's, Westminster is located in Central London
Location of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey in central London

The church of St Margaret, Westminster Abbey, is situated in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, and is the Anglican parish church[1] of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in London. It is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch.[2]


  • History and description 1
    • Commemorative windows and notable burials 1.1
  • Weddings 2
  • Other notable events 3
  • Choirs 4
  • Organ 5
  • Rectors 6
  • Organists 7
  • Gallery 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

History and description

Originally founded in the twelfth century by Benedictine monks, so that local people who lived in the area around the Abbey[3] could worship separately at their own simpler parish church, and historically part of the hundred of Ossulstone in the county of Middlesex,[4] St Margaret's was rebuilt from 1486 to 1523. It became the parish church of the Palace of Westminster in 1614, when the Puritans of the seventeenth century, unhappy with the highly liturgical Abbey, chose to hold Parliamentary services in the more "suitable" St Margaret's:[5] a practice that has continued since that time.

The Rector of St Margaret's is a canon of Westminster Abbey.

The north-west tower was rebuilt by

  • Guide to St. Margaret's
  • Memorials of St. Margaret's church, Westminster, comprising the parish registers, 1539–1660, and other churchwardens' accounts, 1460–1603
  • Deanery of Westminster (St Margaret)

External links

  1. ^ Westminster Abbey. "St. Margaret's, Westminster Parish details". Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  2. ^  
  3. ^ McManus, Mark. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  4. ^ Hawgood, David. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Genuki (Genealogy UK & Ireland). Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  5. ^ Wright, A.; Smith, P. (1868). Parliament Past and Present. London: Hutchinson & Co. 
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Dean and Chapter, Westminster Abbey. "St Margaret's Church – The east window". St Margaret's Church. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  8. ^ Smith, Christopher. "Sir Walter Raleigh – Execution". Britannia Biographies. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  9. ^ Angelicoussis, E. (2004). "Jennings, Henry Constantine (1731–1819)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  
  10. ^
  11. ^ Oliver Cromwell Westminster Abbey
  12. ^ Pepys, Samuel (1987). Samuel Pepys, ed. The Illustrated Pepys: extracts from the Diary. Harmondsworth: Penguin.  
  13. ^ Gilbert, Martin (1991). Churchill: a life. London: Heinemann.  
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Taylor, D. J. (2007). Bright Young Things: the lost generation of London's Jazz Age. London: Chatto & Windus.   (American ed.: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2009)
  16. ^ Alan Wilkinson, The Church of England and the First World War, London, SCM Press, 1996, p.221.
  17. ^ Westminster Under School. Accessed 12 January 2013
  18. ^ National Pipe Organ Register website.
  19. ^ "William and Mary Carnegie".  
  20. ^ "Speaker's Chaplain". The Church in Parliament. Church of England. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  21. ^ Dwight's Journal of Music, p. 331
  22. ^ William Charles Pearce,A Biographical Sketch of Edmund Hart Turpin, 1911


See also


Organists who have played at St Margaret's include:


From 1972 to 2010, the Rector was also the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.[20]


[18] An organ was installed in 1806 by


The treble choristers for St Margaret's are supplied by Westminster Under School.[17] The church also hosted the first performance by the UK Parliament Choir under Simon Over in 2000.


During the First World War, Edward Lyttelton, headmaster of Eton, gave a sermon at the church on the theme of "Loving your enemies". He spoke of his opinion that any post-war treaty with Germany should be a just one and not a vindictive one. He had to leave the church after the service by a back door, while a number of demonstrators sang "Rule Britannia" in protest at his attitude.[16]

Other notable events

The ensemble of St Margaret's, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey is a World Heritage Site. Members of Parliament and staff members of the House of Lords and House of Commons are permitted to marry in the church.

Others notable weddings include members of the Bright Young People.[15]

Other weddings include that of extended members of the British Royal Family:

The church has been a common venue for society weddings which include:


Following the Restoration of the Monarchy, in 1661 the Parliamentarians who had been buried in Westminster Abbey (Admiral Robert Blake, Denis Bond, Nicholas Boscawen,[10] Mary Bradshaw, Sir William Constable, Admiral Richard Deane, Isaac Dorislaus, Anne Fleetwood, Thomas Hesilrige, Humphrey Mackworth, Stephen Marshall, Thomas May, John Meldrum, Admiral Edward Popham, John Pym, Humphrey Salwey, William Strong, William Stroud and William Twiss) were disinterred from the Abbey and reburied in an unmarked pit in St Margaret's churchyard on the orders of King Charles II. A memorial to them can now be found set into the external wall to the left of the main west entrance.[11]

Other notable burials include those of John Sutton, 3rd Baron Dudley, "Lord Quondam", 18 September 1553; his wife Lady Cicely Grey, 28 April 1554; William Murray, 2nd Earl of Tullibardine, 30 July 1627; Edward Grimeston, 14 December 1640; and Wenceslas Hollar, died 25 March 1677. Also Bishop Nicholas Clagett.

Notable features include the east window of 1509 of Flemish stained glass, created to commemorate the betrothal of Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII.[7] Other windows commemorate William Caxton, Britain's first printer, who was buried at the church in 1491, Sir Walter Raleigh, executed in Old Palace Yard[8] and then also buried in the church in 1618, the poet John Milton, a parishioner of the church, and Admiral Robert Blake. The collector Henry Constantine Jennings is also buried there.[9]

Commemorative windows and notable burials

features were retained. Tudor although many of the [6]