Edward the Confessor, last of the Anglo-Saxon Kings, established a palace on Thorney Island on the banks of the Thames after his Coronation in 1042. Nearby was a Benedictine monastery which Edward decided to enlarge, building a large stone church in honour of St Peter. This became known as the west minster to distinguish it from the east minster (St Pauls in the city) and was consecrated in 1065. Since William I was crowned in 1066 the Abbey has been the site of the Coronation of every English monarch, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII.
The Abbey survived until 1245, when Henry III decided to have it rebuilt in the then fashionable Gothic style by the master mason Henry de Reyns. The nave - at 102 feet the highest in England - was finished in 1517. However, the Abbey did not gain its distinctive profile until 1745 when the two West Front towers, designed by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, were completed. This is the façade shown on Victorian skeleton clocks.