Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall

General view of Westminster Hall interior

General view of interior

January 20th  On this day 750 years ago in 1265, Simon de Montfort convened England’s first Parliament at Westminster Hall (see also “The Mother of Parliaments” blog posting).  Before 1265, Parliament, or its precursor, had met in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey (see also “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” blog).  After 1548, it met in the then-secularised Royal Chapel of St Stephen in the Palace of Westminster.

Double Hammerbeam ceiling

Double Hammerbeam Ceiling

Westminster Hall was originally built as a royal residence cum banqueting house by William II, Rufus,  in 1097-99; and rebuilt, with a spectacular hammerbeam roof, by Henry Yevele, for Richard II, in 1394-1401.  It once formed part of the Old Palace of Westminster, work on which is believed to have begun, under Cnut, as long ago as 1016.  Together  with the adjacent Jewel Tower, it is essentially the only part of the old palace to have survived the terrible fires of 1512 and 1834 (the present, new palace was built, in the Victorian Gothic style, between 1837-58).

White Hart carving - symbol of Richard II

Close-up of carvings on the interior wall, including a White Hart (symbol of Richard II)

Carving on the ceiling

Close up of a carving on the ceiling

Entrance to undercroft

Entrance to undercroft

Another White Hart

Another White Hart (above the entrance to the Undercroft)

Westminster Hall is visited, although not entered, on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey” standard walk, and on our “Medieval London” and “Legal London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

No entry to undercroft

No entrance to undercroft – by Order of Black Rod

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall

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