Excerpt from A Mediaeval Burglary For this purpose I must ask you to carry your minds back to the Westminster of the early years of the fourteenth century. Westminster was then what Kensington was in the eighteenth or early nineteenth century, a court suburb, aloof from the traffic and business of the great city of London. Now the twin centres of Westminster were the king's palace and the adjacent Benedictine Abbey. The rough plan, which I am permitted to print on the opposite page, will show the close relation of the two great groups of buildings. It was much closer in many ways than the relations between the Houses of Parliament, the modern representative of the old palace, and the present abbey buildings. If these latter largely remain, despite many destructive alterations in details, in their ancient site, we must remember that there was thing like the broad modern road that separates the east end of the abbey from Westminster Hall and the House of Lords. A wall enclosed the royal precincts, and went westwards to within a few feet of the monks' infirmary and the end of St. Margaret's Church. The still existing access to the abbey on the east side of the south transept through the door by which you can still go into poet's corner, having the chapter house on your left and Henry VII's chapel on your right, was the portal by which immediate access to the palace could be gained through a gate in this wall. The space between the abbey and the palace wall was occupied by the churchyard of St. Margaret's. The parish church - or rather its successor - still crouches beneath the shade of the neighbouring minster. This churchyard covered the ground w taken up by Henry VII's chapel, which of course was t as yet in existence. In the midst of this grassy plot stood the chapter house of the monks of Westminster, with its flying buttresses and its single pillar supporting its huge vault, then newly erected by the pious zeal of Henry III. Westminster Abbey was founded by Edward the Confessor, and substantially refounded by Henry III, who had shown immense care and lavished large sums on a grandiose scheme for the rebuilding of the great house of religion which contained the shrine of his favourite saint, in whose hour he had given his son the name of Edward. The rebuilding went on into the reign of Edward I, who was t much inferior to his father in his zeal for the church, and was doubly bound to hour his father's wishes and the memory of his own patron saint. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.