…..I had no idea that they were two different churches
The main difference is that the cathedral is Roman Catholic and the Abbey is part of the Church of England. Also the cathedral is much newer. It was built in 1903 and is the largest Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. One of the things that struck us as odd about the interior of the cathedral is how dark the ceiling in the main part of the church is. According to the guide at the entrance, the ceiling is almost black because the main lighting source when it was first built consisted of candles and the soot from the them has darkened the interior. I thought that was odd, considering how wealthy the Catholic Church is but according to history churches built in the early 1900s had to be debt free before they could be consecrated. The interior of the cathedral was never completed but it was consecrated none the less in 1910.
The cathedral is built in the Byzantine style.
The Abbey on the other hand is much older. It was first constructed in 1245 and was originally Catholic. Henry VIII changed that when the Catholic Church wouldn’t grant him a divorce and he formed the Church of England. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I re-established Westminster as a “Royal Peculiar” – a church of the Church of England responsible directly to the Sovereign, rather than to a diocesan bishop.
We didn’t get in line to see the inside of the Abbey but my cousin in Germany has convinced me that when we go back we need to take the tour. It sounds fascinating and worth the money. It is certainly rich in history.
In the next post I will continue with day 6 and describe our walk along the Thames River.