Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs.


Charles Dickens and Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey appears in some of Dickens’ best known novels, including Bleak House, David Copperfield and Great Expectations.

In the evening we went out for a walk in the streets, and went half-price to the Theatre; and next day we went to church at Westminster Abbey, and in the afternoon we walked in the Parks.

Great Expectations (Chapter 22).


Burial of Charles Dickens.

Dickens died at his house at Gad’s Hill Place, near Rochester in Kent on 9th June 1870.  It was assumed that he would be buried at Rochester Cathedral but public opinion, led by The Times newspaper, demanded that Westminster Abbey was the only place for the burial of someone of his distinction. This was agreed when his family and Dickens’ long-time friend John Forster, approached the Abbey.  A funeral, held strictly in private following Dickens’ own instructions, was carried out on 14th June of that year.  It was agreed that the grave should be left open and thousands of people came to pay their respects at the grave and throw in flowers. The grave was closed on June 16th.





Further Reading.

Click here to view the Wikipedia entry for Westminster Abbey.