A friend, who is spending a semester in England, posted a picture of Britain’s oldest door, on social media. I was curious, did a bit of research, and learned this:
“A 900-year-old door, once thought to be covered in human skin, has been identified as the oldest in Britain. Archaeologists discovered the oak door in Westminster Abbey was put in place in the 1050’s. Tests also showed that fragments of hide stuck to the door, which legend said was the skin of a punished man, was actually cow hide.
It is thought that this is the only surviving Anglo Saxon door in Britain, and that it survived because it is indoors and has been in constant use.
The door is made from one tree, with its rings suggesting it grew between AD 924 and 1030. It has five panels and is 6.5 feet high by 4 feet wide. It opens into the octagonal Chapter House, where monks met every day for prayers in the 13th century. Archaeologist Warwick Rodwell said, “The ring pattern displayed by the timber indicates that the tree grew in eastern England.”
Westminster Abbey, in London, is Britain’s largest church. It was founded in the early 600s and was built when the area was an island known as Thorney Island. Work on the current building started in 1245 by King Henry III. It is the location of Britain’s oldest door and, underneath, is buried St Edward the Confessor, who died in 1066.
The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was held there last spring.
Westminster Abbey is the traditional crowning and burial place of monarchs. Also buried there are notable people from the world of science, music, the arts and theatre, etc. These include: William Blake, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, John Dryden, George Eliot, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Gray, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Herschel, Samuel Johnson, John Keats, the Brontë sisters, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, John Milton, Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier, Alexander Pope, Nicholas Rowe, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jane Austen, Thomas Shadwell, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas and William Wordsworth.”