Henry VII’s Chapel

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Henry VII’s Chapel

One of the most opulent sites in early modern London, Henry VII’s Chapel (CORA 700002991) still stands in the eastern wing of Westminster Abbey. Often referred to as the Lady Chapel, Henry VII Lady Chapel, Chapel of Henry VII, and Chapel of the Order of the Bath, the structure was initially intended to monumentalize Henry VI, who was ultimately not canonized (Condon 60). The Henry VII Lady Chapel is the resting place of Henry VII himself and his wife, Elizabeth of York. Additionally, it houses the tombs of Anne of Cleves; Edward VI; Mary I; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; Anne of Denmark; James VI and I; and other key figures of the English Royalty (Weinreb 1007). The political significance of this burial place was mobilized by James I when the body of Elizabeth I was disinterred in 1606 to make room for the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots. 1 With relevance to the history of the location, Barbara Harvey notes that the history of the Henry VII Lady Chapel branches back at least to the thirteenth century: King Henry III, who was then a boy of thirteen, laid the foundation stone of the old Lady chapel on 16 May 1220.... The chapel was a necessity of the worship of St Mary the Virgin.... [T]he existing altar in the abbey church no longer seemed adequate for this purpose (Harvey 5). Toward the end of Henry VII’s reign, on 24 January, 1503, the first stone was laid for the new Lady chapel, which, as Tim Tatton-Brown and Richard Mortimer write, was literally fitted over an existing building, and over an existing institution nearly three hundred years old (Tatton-Brown and Mortimer 2). In the following centuries, Henry VII’s Chapel would remain the primary location for royal burials (Weinreb 1007).
Tatton-Brown and Mortimer’s 2003 essay collection, Westminster Abbey: the Lady Chapel of Henry VII gives an exhaustive religious, archaeological, architectural, and cultural history of the site.


  1. Julia M. Walker details her discovery of the location of Elizabeth’s original tomb in 1603-1620: The Shadow of the Rainbow, Chapter 1 of The Elizabeth Icon: 1603-2003.


Cite this page

MLA citation

Henry VII’s Chapel. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 20 Jun. 2018, mapoflondon.uvic.ca/HENR11.htm.

Chicago citation

Henry VII’s Chapel. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 20, 2018. http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/HENR11.htm.

APA citation

2018. Henry VII’s Chapel. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/HENR11.htm.

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Henry VII’s Chapel
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2018
DA  - 2018/06/20
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/HENR11.htm
UR  - http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/xml/standalone/HENR11.xml
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Henry VII’s Chapel
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2018
FD 2018/06/20
RD 2018/06/20
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English
LK http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/HENR11.htm

TEI citation

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