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Westminster Abbey, or to call it by its correct name, The Collegiate Church of St Peter, is unusual amongst churches in England in being a 'Royal Peculiar'. This means it is under the jurisdiction of the crown and not within any diocese. This was an extremely important privilege in the Middle Ages as it gave the Abbey full control over its finances and day to day running and it soon grew into one of the wealthiest religious houses in the country.

The earliest foundations that are known are those of St Dunstan, c. 909-88. He was Abbot of Glastonbury and archbishop of Canterbury and a leading player in the church. He set up a Benedictine abbey around AD 960, although very little is known about the building except it was sited not far from where the west door now stands.

Less than one hundred years later this abbey was succeeded by an even greater monastery created by Edward the Confessor, King of England 1042 -66. The focal point of the new abbey was the Church which was dedicated to St Peter and similar in area to the present building. It was built in the Norman-French style and would have been similar to Durham Cathedral, which is one surviving example.

The Abbey as it stands today is from 1245, when Henry III rebuilt the Abbey of Edward the Confessor.

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The Westminster Palace was built in the eleventh century initially. Later, it was rebuilt, in 1840 by architect Charles Barry.

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Q: Who built the palace of Westminster?
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