The first White Lion Society visit of 2018, will be to xWestminster and will take place on Tuesday, 24th April 2018. The visit will be in two parts. The morning session will be to the Library and Muniments Room of Westminster Abbey and after lunch there will be a visit to Westminster School.
We have been allowed a rare visit to the centre of record keeping at Westminster Abbey and our tour of the Muniments Room will include a privileged view of the famous White Hart wall-painting and a rare opportunity to see important Abbey documents. The archive is one of the largest and oldest in England and its important collection of manuscripts comprises the records of Westminster Abbey from the 10th century to the present day.
The Library is accessed via a staircase from the Cloisters, which has twenty five quite steep steps. Then moving on to the Muniment Room is a further two sets of steps up a spiral staircase. As there is no other way of gaining access, the visit is not suitable for those with mobility issues.
Westminster School is now one of the UK’s leading public boys’ schools accommodating more than 700 students from the age of seven years with a co-educational sixth form. It has a rich history and royal patronage. As is the case for all abbeys Westminster was dissolved in 1540 but shortly afterwards Henry VIII preserved the existence of the School by royal charter. In 1560 Elizabeth I refounded the School. One of if its first headmasters of note and a rare layman to hold the position, was William Camden (1551-1623) antiquarian, topographer, and later Richmond Herald and Clarenceux King of Arms. The School today has many buildings of considerable note, which include College Hall, the 14th-century Abbot’s State Dining Room the former medieval refectory, the 1729 College building, the School building which from the 1090s served as the monk’s dormitory and now acts as the Main Hall (which includes coats of arms of many former students) and the School Gateway.
Westminster School uses the arms illustrated here: Azure, a Cross Patonce between five Martlets, one in each quarter and one in base, all Or, and on a chief Or, a pale quarterly of France Modern and England between two Roses Gules barbed and seeded Proper. These arms were of the ancient See of Westminster and are now used by Westminster Abbey.
If you would like to attend this visit you should book early, as we anticipate that the visit will be popular and only 20 places are available. The cost is £20 per person for the visit. We have also been able to arrange lunch at the Civil Service Club, 13/15 Great Scotland Yard at an additional optional cost of £12.50 per head. You can book a place on-line in the Shop area of the website or use the application form that accompanies this newsletter.
(c) The White Lion Society 2018