Map

The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:

Summary

From the Wikipedia entry on the Palace of Westminster:

Westminster Hall, the oldest existing part of the Palace of Westminster, was erected in 1097, at which point it was the largest hall in Europe. The roof was probably originally supported by pillars, giving three aisles, but during the reign of King Richard II, this was replaced by a hammerbeam roof by the royal carpenter Hugh Herland, “the greatest creation of medieval timber architecture”, which allowed the original three aisles to be replaced with a single huge open space, with a dais at the end. The new roof was commissioned in 1393. Richard’s architect Henry Yevele left the original dimensions, refacing the walls, with fifteen life-size statues of kings placed in niches. The rebuilding had been begun by King Henry III in 1245, but had by Richard’s time been dormant for over a century.

Westminster Hall has the largest clearspan medieval roof in England, measuring 20.7 by 73.2 metres (68 by 240 ft). Oak timbers for the roof came from royal woods in Hampshire and from parks in Hertfordshire and Surrey, among other sources; they were assembled near Farnham, Surrey, 56 kilometres (35 mi) away. Accounts record the large number of wagons and barges which delivered the jointed timbers to Westminster for assembly.

Westminster Hall has served numerous functions. It was primarily used for judicial purposes, housing three of the most important courts in the land: the Court of King’s Bench, the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Chancery. In 1875, these courts were amalgamated into the High Court of Justice, which continued to meet in Westminster Hall until it moved to the Royal Courts of Justice in 1882. In addition to regular courts, Westminster Hall also housed important trials, including impeachment trials and the state trials of King Charles I at the end of the English Civil War, Sir William Wallace, Sir Thomas More, Cardinal John Fisher, Guy Fawkes, the Earl of Strafford, the rebel Scottish Lords of the 1715 and 1745 uprisings and Warren Hastings.

8 Annotations

Andy Thomas   Link to this

Abridged history of Westminster Hall is at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20030219031351/http:...

[Original link replaced with archive.org version, 26 Jan 2014. P.G.]

Sara Lorimer   Link to this

A few photos of Westminster Hall
http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Westmin...

Phil   Link to this

A footnote to 20 Jan 1660 says "These stationers and booksellers, whose shops disfigured Westminster Hall down to a late period, were a privileged class. In the statutes for appointing licensers and regulating the press, there is a clause exempting them from the pains and penalties of these obnoxious laws."

Arbor   Link to this

If in London. Westminster Hall is very much worth a visit. It is the oldest building for miles... with a typically wonderful medieval and unsupported roof. Worth the visit just to look at it. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was recently 'laid in state' there... remember the pictures?

Glyn   Link to this

Westminster Hall is now open every year to visitors in summer as part of the guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. All the details can be found on this official website:

http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/summer_openin...

Terry F   Link to this

J[ohn].T[homas]. "Antiquity" Smith's 'Foundation Plan of the Ancient Palace of Westminster', Antiquities of Westminster (1807). Parliamentary Archives
http://www.show.me.uk/gunpowderplot/adults_parl...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech/British 1607-1677)

Westminster Hall; view of square to the N of Westminster Hall, with groups of people and coaches on the left and fountain on the right; Abbey seen over the roofs in the background.
Etching, 1647
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_th...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants, the Palace lies on the Middlesex bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London. Its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex that was destroyed by fire in 1834, and its replacement New Palace that stands today.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Westmin...

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References