The true visionary

Westminster Abbey 1749
Westminster Abbey 1749

The Westminster Abbey we know today was the vision of King Henry III. A fickle man of unsteady purpose, Henry was still a boy when his father King John died in 1216 in the midst of trying to wrest control of the kingdom back from the barons who had forced Magna Carta on him. The barons would later rise up against Henry as well, not least because of the enormous sums of money he was spending, some of it to build the abbey. For Henry, its construction was both a matter of faith and calling, for he made a better interior decorator, even wedding planner, than king. Then there was the business acumen of his younger brother Richard of Cornwall, a man so rich he bought himself the title King of the Romans. When England needed new coinage, they both brought their true gifts to bear, with Henry designing the silver coins and Richard organizing the minting. But it was Henry who proved the true visionary of the two. Nothing Richard took in hand contributes a farthing today to English royal coffers, while Westminster Abbey draws in over a million visitors a year paying upwards of £17 a head.

3 thoughts on “The true visionary

  1. Yes, our Henry was a true visionary…almost 8 centuries later, his creation still exists and is more popular than ever:)

    1. What I find incredible is that historians today still cite how expensive it was to build then, £40,000, as if it would have been better never to have begun the works.

      1. Yes! Just think what we would be missing if visionaries like our Henry III had never taken a chance and spent that money…someday I would really love to see Westminster Abbey❤

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