Built by Richard II at the end of the fourteenth century, the magnificent Westminster Hall, once the hub of the Palace of Westminster, still stands at the heart of English government today, having survived the 1512 fire that destroyed much of the rest of the palace. Its extraordinary hammer-beam roof and wide span, at one point the widest of any building in Europe, are awe-inspiring.
Westminster Hall was the setting for many important state occasions during the Tudor period: the coronation banquets for all five monarchs and for consorts Elizabeth of York and Anne Boleyn were held there, as was one of the wedding feasts of Prince Arthur and Katharine of Aragon. The Hall was also the location for a number of state trials: Sir Thomas More and John Fisher in 1535; Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton, accused of adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn, in 1536; Lord Protector Somerset in 1551 and the Duke of Northumberland in 1553.
Westminster Hall can be visited today as part of a visit to the Houses of Parliament.
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