Westminster Abbey A Church in History David Cannadine

Publication date:
08 Oct 2019
Paul Mellon Centre
456 pages: 241 x 184mm
100 color + 100 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A comprehensive and authoritative history that explores the significance of one of the most famous buildings and institutions in England

Westminster Abbey was one of the most powerful churches in Catholic Christendom before transforming into a Protestant icon of British national and imperial identity. Celebrating the 750th anniversary of the consecration of the current Abbey church building, this book features engaging essays by a group of distinguished scholars that focus on different, yet often overlapping, aspects of the Abbey’s history: its architecture and monuments; its Catholic monks and Protestant clergy; its place in religious and political revolutions; its relationship to the monarchy and royal court; its estates and educational endeavors; its congregations; and its tourists. Clearly written and wide-ranging in scope, this generously illustrated volume is a fascinating exploration of Westminster Abbey’s thousand-year history and its meaning, significance, and impact within society both in Britain and beyond.

David Cannadine is president of the British Academy and Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University.

“Sumptuously illustrated, as much a social and economic history as an architectural account of one of the greatest cathedrals of the world”—Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal

“Yale University Press has produced this definitive history—and magnificent it is.”—Christopher Colven, Art Newspaper

“As we would expect from Yale, the book is beautifully produced. The editor has largely succeeded in his aim of situating the Abbey both in the life of the Church and the history of the nation.”—Richard Chartres, Church Times

“[T]he Abbey is as much a monumental socio-cultural archive as it is a Gothic masterpiece or national shrine. It remains, as this expansive and engaging book shows, an enduringly potent artefact within our national historical landscape.”—Mark Jones, Albion Magazine

“Sir David Cannadine’s collection of essays embraces the whole history of the abbey, a work covering more than a millennium and examining all aspects of the abbey’s story.”—Allan Brodie, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society