Burials, Memorials and Tombs | Westminster Abbey
It is not just the question of who is buried at Westminster Abbey, but also about how many are. Not only is Westminster Abbey the most prominent religious monument in the UK but also the final resting place for thousands of influential figures ranging from poets, scientists, politicians, and monarchs. Some of the famous tombs at the church include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Edward V and more. As you visit these these tombs and memorials, you can get a true sense of history at Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey is the final resting place of 30 kings and queens. The first king to be buried at Westminster Abbey was Edward the Confessor in the year 1066. Until George II of England in 1760, most Kings and Queens of Englans were buried at this iconic church. Henry III, who built the church as we know today, is also buried here near Edward the Confessor.Buy Tickets to Westminster Abbey
Who is Buried at Westminster Abbey?
There are over 3000 people buried at Westminster Abbey, which includes 30 kings and queens of England and hundreds of influential figures from various disciplines.
King Henry III
Henry III was the King of England for 56 years from 1216 to 1272. He built Westminster Abbey in the second half of his reign and was buried in front of the high altar of the church, which was the resting place of Edward the Confessor. In 1290, his son Edward moved his body to its current location in the church with a gilt brass tomb effigy made by William Torell.
King Henry V
Famous for his outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years’ War against France, Henry V was the King of England for just 9 years. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1422 and his infant son Henry VI took the throne.
King Henry VII
Henry VII was the first monarch of the House of Tudor, and ruled for 24 years. He restored power and stability to the English monarchy following the civil war. He is buried next to his wife, Elizabeth, in Henry VII Chapel that he commissioned in Westminster Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth I
The daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VII, her reign was known as the Elizabethian era, famous for being the golden age of drama, poetry, and music. She reigned for 44 years and shares her grave with her half-sister, Mary I.
Sir Isaac Newton
A leading figure in science, mathematics, and astronomy, Newton is one of the most well-known individuals across the world. Newton passed away in 1727 at Kensington and is buried at Westminster Abbey. The Newton’s monument at Westminster is made of white and grey marble, depicting objects from his optic and mathematical work.
An eminent astrophysicist, mathematician, and author, Professor Stephen Hawking was buried at Westminster Abbey in 2018, next to the tombs of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. Hawking’s gravestone depicts a series of rings that swirl around a dark eclipse, reflecting his pioneering work on black holes.
Renowned for his science on evolution and his work on scientific literature, ‘On the Origin of Species’ where he introduced the concept of natural selection, Charles Darwin was a geologist and biologist and is also buried at Westminster Abbey.
The Unknown Warrior
Representing the thousands of soldiers who died during World War I, The Unknown Warrior is the burial of an unidentified British soldier who was killed in the war. As a sign of respect, this is the only tomb that guests are not allowed to walk into.
Other Memorials at Westminster Abbey
Some other famous figures are also buried at Westminster Abbey. Here are a few of them.
- Laurence Olivier, one of the greatest directors in history, whose work dominated the British stage in the 20th century.
- George Freric Handel, one of Britain’s greatest Baroque composers.
- David Livingstone, a writer, explorer, physician, and missionary, who is famous for his exploration of Africa and for discovering the source of the Nile.
- Rudyard Kipling, known for ‘The Jungle Book’ and his short story collections of ‘Kim’ and ‘Just So Stories for Little Children’.
- Charles Dickens, a renowned British author with books such as ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘David Copperfield’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ to his name.
All Your Questions About Westminster Abbey Burials and Tombs Answered
A. Apart from being the final resting place for 30 kings and queens of Britain, Westminster Abbey is also the burial place for other famous figures like Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Darwin and many other prominent people of the past.
A. Some famous individuals buried at Westminster Abbey include Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Charles Dickens, Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry VII.
A. There are over 3000 tombs at Westminster Abbey.
A. Yes, Queen Elizabeth I is buried at Westminster Abbey.
A. Yes, guests can visit the tombs and burials at Westminster Abbey.