Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 01 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Liguori
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Long lost sacristy discovered beneath Westminster Abbey


Public Domain

John Burger - published on 08/24/20

The ground under the celebrated church also thought to contain hundreds, if not thousands, of burials.

A room used by priests preparing to celebrate Mass has been discovered in an archaeological dig beneath Westminster Abbey in London. The 13th-century sacristy has been unknown until now.

The dig also revealed hundreds of bodies buried beneath the former Benedictine monastic church and Catholic cathedral. The site had been used as a burial ground for monks. The Guardian, which reported on the find, said there might even be thousands of bodies.

Archaeologists have been working at the site since January in order to get a better picture of the site ahead of a major renovation. The reconstruction is planned to allow visitors to enter the building through the grand Great West Door, the entrance used by monarchs and royal brides.

Westminister’s roots date to the late 10th century, when Saint Dunstan and King Edgar installed a community of Benedictine monks on the site. Between 1042 and 1052, King Edward the Confessor began rebuilding St. Peter’s Abbey to provide himself with a royal burial church.

Among the items discovered in the dig are a stoup, or basin, which was probably used by monks to wash their hands as they entered. It was found reused in 13th-century foundations. Other finds include a lead pipe, which would have supplied water to the monastery; fragments of medieval painted wall plaster, and 18th-century domestic objects, including china plates, chamber pots, glass drinking vessels and an assortment of combs and brushes.

Church History
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.