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The abbey was commissioned to be built under the rule of Henry III. It was commissioned to a French architect and so it looks like a French Church. It is in Gothic style – the windows being arched to a point.
The ceiling of the abbey is extremely high. The cloisters are also extremely spacious with the side facing the sun being the library area and the rest being where the monks would talk and spend their spare time.
In the cloisters the windows are very high, the first of their kind. To prevent the walls falling in the flying buttresses were invented. (Buttresses being extra supports next to the pillars.) The flying buttresses, however would actually lean against the wall, giving them more leverage.
The master mason of the abbey, Henry of Reyns, designed the nave windows in a completely French style – ˝ of the wall space would be the nave arcade. Then 1/6 would be the triforium. Finally, 1/3 would be the clear story.
Henry III spent one 30th of his total income each year on the abbey – a lot. When he died Richard II took over. Richard cut the costs by putting a stop to the patterned diapering on the walls. He finished the abbey as planned and the first king to be crowned in the abbey was William the Conqueror, on Christmas day.
Edward the Confessor’s body placed in the very centre of the nave, raised up above the rest of the abbey. The stone of scone was also placed under the coronation chair and returned in 1997. It was under the chair to symbolize the king of England also being the king of Scotland – because the Stone of Scone was the Scot’s symbol and pride.
Edward the Confessor’s shrine is placed behind the High Altar as with many other churches. Beside Edward’s tomb are the bodies of 5 Kings and 4 Queens, making the shrine the most sacred part of the abbey. Many people pay visits to the shrine to worship or merely as tourists.